It’s a Republican-sponsored poll, but Democrats had better be paying attention.
With most national political attention focused on the congressional midterm elections in November, where control of the closely divided House and Senate are at stake, state-level battles tend to get lost in the noise.
But according to a poll released Thursday in battleground states, President Joe Biden’s disastrous first year in office is having an impact on races well outside the Washington Beltway.
The poll of 2,217 likely voters, conducted Jan. 19 and 20, was paid for by the Republican State Leadership Committee, which focuses on electing Republicans at the state level.
Respondents lived in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
It found that just over half of respondents — 51 percent — “said they would prefer a Republican candidate who would act as a check and balance on President Biden and his Democratic policies compared to the 40% who would prefer a Democratic candidate who would support President Biden and his Democratic Policies,” according to an RSLC news release.
Elected Democrats at the state level have a disapproval rating of 49 percent versus an approval rating of 44 percent, according to the release.
And on a generic ballot, Republican state legislative candidates have a 6-point advantage over Democrats overall, and a 15-point lead among independents, according to the release.
Even on issues where Democrats have a historic edge — such as education — the poll found Republicans are in a stronger position, according to the news release.
The poll found Republicans at the state level are preferred to Democrats 44 percent to 43 percent, according to the news release. That number widens to 47 percent to 37 percent when it involves “which party is more trusted to protect parental control in education.”
No one who followed Virginia’s election for governor in the fall would be surprised at that, considering Republican Glenn Youngkin rode fury over public education in the Old Dominion to victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor who’s made a lucrative career as a cog in the Democratic Party.
What got much less attention, but will be just as important in the long run, though, is that control over Virginia’s House of Delegates also changed hands in the same election in what had been considered a solidly blue state.
It would be easy to dismiss the RSLC poll’s results — sponsored by a Republican political organization and conducted by Cygnal, a polling firm with Republican ties.
But the reality is, it jibes too well with other surveys related to national politics. Biden’s favorability rating with the American public nationally has been underwater for months — and still sinking.
Even on an issue like the coronavirus, which his party shamelessly used to change voting rules throughout the country, Biden’s poll numbers are hurting. Just over 50 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, according to FiveThirtyEight, while only 43.4 percent approve.
Considering Biden ran on a promise of defeating the coronavirus (and millions were desperate enough, or foolish enough, to believe it), that’s bad news for the president and his party.
When it comes to the midterm elections, history shows the party in the White House rarely does as well as the opposition.
(Then-President Donald Trump lost his Republican majority in the House in the 2018 midterms. In 2010, then-President Barack Obama lost his Democratic majority in a “shellacking” that was the worst performance by a party since 1946. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush managed to keep a Republican House and even regain the Senate, but he lost the House in a “thumping” in the 2006 midterms.)
But Biden’s disastrous first year, with its painful inflation, infuriating illegal immigration and the humiliating, botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, has made things even worse for a party barely clinging to power as it is at the national level.
At the state level, Republicans already control 62 of 99 chambers, according to The Washington Times. (There aren’t 100 chambers because Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature that’s officially nonpartisan.)
Just as Biden’s ineptitude isn’t going to help his party in Congress, it’s likely to make the state-level numbers worse for Democrats.
And even if state-level elections don’t get the ink of national contests, they’re vital to the country’s system — only look at the redistricting processes going on this year that determine seats in Congress. The party that controls that can control the future.
As for the present, of course, headlines about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Republican legislature show how important state governments are to the national scene on a daily basis.
Of course, an election isn’t won until it’s won. (And considering the propensity for cheating in Democratic jurisdictions of late, maybe not even then.)
Every conservative and Republican in the country who cares about the state of the nation — and the families who live in it — needs to turn out in the midterms to make sure every available seat goes to the GOP.
Democrats spent the Trump years proving they had no respect for the presidency. They’ve spent the Biden presidency so far proving they have no respect for the country — or their conservative countrymen.
According to these poll numbers, it’s showing.
There is nothing likely to change the Democratic outlook at this stage of the game. The party is too dominated by its leftist elements, too beholden to its special interest groups and too disdainful of conservative concerns to change course now.
But if they pay attention to polls like this, Democrats might realize what their country really needs from its political parties — and Joe Biden’s presidency isn’t it.