Democrats, who hold slim majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, reversed what was an average 3-point lead for Republicans earlier this year on the generic Congressional ballot into an average 1-point advantage for the party. in power.
But as we’ll discuss first in our look at the political week that has gone by, Americans aren’t as worried about the state of the economy as Republicans might like.
You look at almost every recent poll that asks Americans about their most important issue, and a plurality says it’s either the economy or inflation. For example, a Fox News poll last week showed more voters were concerned about inflation than any other issue.
A review of historical data, however, reveals that the percentage of Americans who currently say economic issues are the most important issue has been about average for elections since 1988.
Each month, Gallup releases data on what Americans consider to be the most important issue facing the country. This is an open-ended question (meaning respondents can say whatever they want), and they are allowed to give more than one answer.
In August, 37% of adults said an economic problem was the most important. No non-economic problem came close to this. The “Government/Bad Leadership” category was closest at 20%. Since March, somewhere between 35% and 40% of Americans have cited some type of economic problem (eg, inflation) as the top problem.
Of course, I was brought up with the idea that elections are about “dumb economics.” So I wanted to see how this year’s results compare to the opinions of Americans before the previous election. I asked Gallup to pull for me the data closest to Election Day for every possible election. They gave me midterm and presidential year data for their poll going back to 1988.
What surprised me was that on average, 39% said an economic issue was the most important. In other words, the economy is no more of a problem this year than it has been in other years since 1988, despite the current high level of inflation.
What the current polls show is not what we saw in 2008, 2010 or 2012, when 68% or more of Americans named an economic problem as the main one. And although Gallup didn’t provide me with the data, polls taken before the 1982 midterm elections showed that more than 70% of Americans chose an economic issue as their top issue. 1982 is an important year from a historical point of view, because it was the last time inflation rates were as high as they are now.
Indeed, this year’s Gallup data revealed that a collective 66% of Americans said the biggest problem was non-economic. While no individual issue comes close to economics, overall, non-economic issues have largely overshadowed economic concerns.
If this election was all about the economy, the GOP would crush it. A CNN/SSRS poll from the summer showed Republicans gained more than 30 points on the wildcard ballot among voters who said they wanted congressional candidates to talk the most about the economy or inflation. But Gallup polling data shows that this year’s election, in the minds of voters, is not just about the state of the economy.
Democrats, in the CNN poll, held a more than 30-point advantage among those who chose something other than the economy as what they wanted congressional candidates to talk about the most.
This is good news for Democrats.
It is possible that economic worries will increase in the final weeks before Election Day. With each passing day, however, an election that many of us thought was primarily about the economy seems to be much more important.
Americans want same-sex marriage legalized federally
One of the main reasons the 2022 election appears to be about something other than the economy is the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This marked a turning point in the national political environment (in favor of the Democrats).
The elimination of the federal abortion law also spurred a movement to codify the same marriage into federal law — largely because of the wording of a concurring opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who explicitly called for a review of the 2015 court decision that legalized the same marriage. -sexual marriage nationwide.
Make no mistake: reversing this 2015 decision would be hugely unpopular with the American public. On the other hand, recent congressional efforts to pass legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level are very popular.
A Quinnipiac University poll taken in late August found that 71% of Americans supported the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. This included nearly half (45%) of Republican voters, 77% of independents and 89% of Democrats.
From one perspective, more Americans supported the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage than they were in favor of Roe v. Wade before it was canceled. (This percentage was usually in the mid-60s.)
Opinions on same-sex marriage in the United States have changed dramatically over the past 26 years. In 1996, 27% of Americans thought same-sex marriages should be valid in the country. Gallup found that percentage was 71% earlier this year.
Of course, just because you want something legal doesn’t mean you want it codified in federal law. There are many Americans who are against abortion but do not support a federal ban.
Polls show, however, that a majority of Americans want Congress to codify same-sex marriage at the federal level. My polling average shows that about 55% of Americans do, with about 30% opposed.
This would explain why Congress seems willing to do just that. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage has already passed the House. The Senate has delayed a vote on same-sex marriage legislation until midterm, although passage also appears likely.
This would mark quite a reversal from the mid-1990s, when Congress passed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which for federal purposes defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and allowed States not to recognize same-sex marriages. granted by other states.
For Your Brief Encounters: Indiana Jones Returns
Google searches for Indiana Jones hit a nearly four-year high last week with the release of the first preview of the fifth installment in the “Indiana Jones” franchise.
As I noted on air, the franchise is unique in that it spans decades and is one of the most successful, both in terms of box office and critical acclaim.
However, perhaps my favorite Indiana Jones fact comes from a poll. A few years ago, a CBS News/Vanity Fair survey asked Americans what movie character they’d like to be if they could live in a movie for a day.
The first choice was Indiana Jones at 25%. He beat out Ferris Bueller at 14%, Carrie Bradshaw (of “Sex in the City”) at 12%, and Don Corleone (of “The Godfather”) at 11%.
My only question is what type of person would admit to wanting to be a gangster for a day?
The historic feat of the polls of Queen Elizabeth II: Gallup recalls that the late monarch appeared on its list of most admired women a record 52 times from 1948 to 2020. No one else appeared there more than 34 times (Margaret Thatcher).
Most Americans don’t bet on sports: As more states legalize sports betting, the Pew Research Center finds that only 19% of Americans have bet on sports in the past year. The most likely way to do this was in private with friends and family (15%).
Majority of Americans may not be Christians by 2070: Pew also estimates, based on current trends, that less than 50% of Americans will identify as Christians by 2070. In 2020, 64% of all Americans (adults and children) were estimated to be Christians.