by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Fascinating new polling for Fox News shows that Democrats and Republicans really do wake up every day in two different worlds. Look at the results of the national poll of registered voters:
Both Democrats and Republicans express high levels of concern (at least 60 percent extremely or very concerned) about the economy, gun laws, health care, and infrastructure. Beyond those issues, strong partisan differences emerge. The top three worries among Democrats are climate change, racism, and health care. For Republicans, it’s illegal immigration, the economy, and voter fraud. Voter fraud comes in last for Democrats, while climate change is the lowest concern for Republicans.
It’s no wonder we talk past one another. On the things we are troubled by the most, members of the two major parties are strangers.
Democrats: climate change, racism, and health care.
Republicans: illegal immigration, the economy, and voter fraud.
Now compare the national landscape with North Carolina.
Earlier this year, the Civitas Poll of likely North Carolina voters showed an alarming level of concern about election integrity, with just 49% believing next year’s North Carolina elections will be free and fair. Notice the party differential (emphasis is mine):
Unsurprisingly, Republicans communicated significantly more skepticism about 2022 election security than Democrats, with only 27% of registered Republicans stating their confidence in the election while 73% of Democrats expressed certainty. Unaffiliated voters were split on this question, with 45% saying they believe 2022 elections will be free and fair. Some 43% say they do not believe the elections will be free and fair.
Again, two different worlds.
It is shocking that the economy isn’t among the top three concerns for Democrats. A thriving economy benefits every one of us, regardless of politics or ideology. A thriving economy means there are more opportunities for those living on the margins to improve their lives. While some economists believe our economy is set to roar due to pent-up pandemic demand, business owners are still reeling from a year of shutdowns and restrictions.
Last week we heard from several of the North Carolina business owners who’ve lived on the edge for a year and who still wonder what their economic future holds. Listen to Jason Smith. He and his wife own Cantina 18 in Raleigh and Harvest 18 in Durham. He says that despite doing curbside service, he was losing over $2,000 per day. Smith joined lawmakers at the legislature to support House Bill 334, a tax relief bill for the businesses. He says it will take him at least another year to recover.
How can the economy NOT be a top 3 concern for every American? It’s mystifying. At Locke, a thriving economy will always be one of our chief concerns. Our mission is to help lawmakers understand the impact of the choices they make on businesses, families, and individuals. Every single one of us is impacted.