Sunday, November 14, 2021


There isn't much good news for Democrats in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll:
The Post-ABC poll finds that, if elections were held today, 46 percent of adults overall would back the Republican candidate for Congress and 43 percent would support the Democratic candidate. Among registered voters, the GOP advantage goes to 51 percent vs. 41 percent for Democrats, a historically strong result for Republicans on this measure.
If this doesn't change, Republicans will sweep the 2022 elections, although please note that the all-adults gap is 3 points and the registered-voter gap is 10 -- it appears that Democrats could limit the size of the GOP win (or maybe even prevent it) by registering some of those unregistered adults who like their party better than they like the GOP.
[President Biden's] overall approval rating now stands at 41 percent, with 53 percent saying they disapprove....

Biden’s approval rating on the economy has also tumbled and now stands at 39 percent positive and 55 percent negative....

The economic rating of Biden’s performance correlates with a gloomy assessment of the economy itself. Last month produced 531,000 more jobs and brought reports of higher wages. At the same time, inflation hit a 30-year high, and rising prices for food, gasoline and other products appear to be shaping Americans’ perceptions.
We live in a post-Reagan economy in which the poor and most of the middle class are in a permanent state of economic anxiety -- and yes, I know that every time right-wingers do something racist or otherwise hateful, we joke, "Look at the economic anxiety," but it's nevertheless true that many Americans, bigots and non-bigots alike, are economically anxious. The erosion of Biden's public support is taking place among voters who were, by definition, Biden backers a few months ago, and who therefore are less likely to have been bigots. But they thought Biden could make life much better very quickly, and he hasn't managed to do that.

They also seem to have unreasonable expectations for what he could do about COVID:
Today, Americans are roughly divided on Biden’s handling of the pandemic (47 percent approve, while 49 percent disapprove). Two months ago, 52 percent approved of his handling of the pandemic compared with 41 percent who disapproved. In June and in April, he was in positive territory by a 2-to-1 margin. Biden’s current ratings mirror the country’s deep partisan divisions, with similar majorities of Democrats approving and Republicans disapproving, while independents lean negative, 52 percent to 44 percent.
I'm disappointed that Biden hasn't used what power he has to improve the availability of rapid tests, and I'll be happier when boosters are rolled out for all adults, but I can't blame him for the persistence of the virus in a country where anti-public-health movement is backed by one of our two major parties, by right-wing billionaires, and by the most influential news organization in America. But obviously others can.

But here's where a very popular narrative breaks down:
Education issues, including the role of parents in schools and the way the United States’ racial history is taught, were credited with helping Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) defeat Terry McAuliffe (D) in Virginia. Republicans have indicated that they will try to make education and parents’ rights a prominent part of their message and strategy next year.

The poll finds overwhelming support for parents having a say in what their children’s schools teach, including nearly half of adults saying parents should have “a lot” of say on matters of curriculum. The findings break largely along party lines, with those who say “a lot” supporting Republicans by big margins.
And thus ... Republicans are way ahead on education, right? Actually, no:
Overall, Americans are divided over which party they trust to handle education, with 44 percent choosing Democrats and 41 percent choosing Republicans.
So after months of Republican propaganda about critical race theory, school mask mandates, and acceptance of trans kids, Democrats are still favored on education?

And the CRT panic hasn't changed most Americans' minds about the teaching of history -- as is so often the case, Democrats and independents are on the side of good, and Republicans are the outliers.
Overall, 7 in 10 Americans say public schools should teach “a great deal” or “a good amount” about how the history of racism affects the United States today. Yet that remains a polarized view. More than 9 in 10 Democrats and more than 7 in 10 independents say schools should teach about the effects of racism. Just over 4 in 10 Republicans agree, with more than half instead favoring teaching the effects of racism “not much” or “not at all.”
But we'll continue to be told that America is leaning the Republicans' way on education, not because it's true, but because Republicans say it's true, and they're the loudest voices on the issue by far.

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