A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll raises a red flag for Republicans on the midterm elections and offers mixed advice for President Joe Biden on whether he should fight or fold on his big domestic initiative.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters, taken by landline and cellphone Dec. 27-30, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Among the highlights:
A red flag for the GOP, in generalRepublicans have become increasingly confident they will regain control of the House and perhaps the Senate in November’s midterm elections. But the party has lost the 8-percentage-point advantage it had on the generic congressional ballot in November’s poll. Now, unnamed Democratic candidates narrowly lead unnamed Republicans by 39%-37%. That’s a big shift from November, when Republicans led 46%-38%. Democrats haven’t gained significant support, but Republicans lost some voters to the ranks of the undecided, up to 24% from 16%.
A red flag for Biden: job approvalThe dip for the GOP has not brought a boost for the president. His job approval rating in the poll is 40% approve vs. 54% who disapprove, a slight improvement from the 38% approval rating he had in the November poll but still lower than any other modern president at this point in his term except for Donald Trump.This may be one reason: By 62%-33%, those surveyed say Biden isn’t a strong leader.
Kamala Harris’ approvalBad news/good news for the vice president: The bad news for Kamala Harris is that her job approval rating is 32%. The good news is that’s higher than it was in November, at 28%. What about Build Back Better?Fight or fold: Biden failed to get his $2 trillion Build Back Better bill through Congress last month, opposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in a split Senate where Democrats couldn’t afford to lose a vote. In the poll, 38% say the president should move on to other initiatives, 34% say he should keep fighting for it and 21% say he should scale it back in an effort to get it passed.Two-thirds of Democrats say he should keep fighting; two-thirds of Republicans say he should move on.
Economic worriesWhat worries Americans about the economy? It’s not even close. By 3-1, 71%-24%, those surveyed are concerned more about inflation than jobs.That’s reflected in the assessments of where the economy stands: 36% see stagflation, 23% recession and 16% depression. In all, 23% say a recovery is underway.More: Americans saw 2021 as ‘chaos’ and a ‘train wreck’ but are hopeful about 2022, USA TODAY/Suffolk poll shows