by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As polls and focus groups reveal that voters are increasingly citing inflation and crime among their top concerns, some of the most vulnerable House Democrats appear to be prioritizing other issues in the early days of their campaigns.
Focus group results conducted by HIT Strategies, an opinion research firm, and published Tuesday by Politico showed that even young, partisan Democratic voters expressed “a preoccupation with inflation and crime” and frustration at the perception that Democratic lawmakers had done little to fulfill their promises.
The results follow a spate of polls that suggest voters see higher prices and, to a lesser extent, public safety as the most pressing issues heading into what is expected to be a brutal campaign season for Democrats.
The Virginia gubernatorial results in November and a number of polls conducted since also suggest voters are increasingly concerned about education and their ability to weigh in on what their children learn in the classroom.
But a look through the lists of priorities or top issues on the campaign websites of the House’s most endangered Democrats suggests many may not have yet adjusted to the shifting priorities of their voters.
Many instead touted liberal social issues, climate change, infrastructure, and even COVID-19.
With seven months until the midterm elections and many primary campaigns still underway, most House Democrats have not yet begun delivering the stump speeches and cutting the ads that will define which issues they choose to focus on during the thick of the race.
However, their campaign websites offer a glimpse into which issues they’re currently prioritizing.
Democrats are already facing a widespread perception that, as a party, they have in recent months staked out positions on the wrong side of nearly every issue of consequence to voters.