Data Explains Republican Party’s Underwhelming Performance In Midterm Elections

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Mark Kelly | Blake Masters

WPA Intelligence, one of the nation’s leading GOP pollsters and analytics firms, recently conducted a survey of more than 1100 registered voters across the country to try to determine the causes of the Republican Party’s underwhelming performance in the November general election. What they found was that certain media assumptions about the voters were incorrect, that the Trump factor remains very much a deciding factor in the minds of many voters, and that candidate quality is still a key factor in any close contest.

Surprisingly, given the unpopularity of President Biden, Democrats and Independents were more likely to know, early on, who they intended to vote for than did Republican voters. 42% of Independent voters decided who they were going to vote for a month before the election, as did 41% of Democrats, but only 35% of Republicans were decided one month out. Political experts attribute some of this to greater Republican resistance towards Republican candidates than Democrats had towards their own candidates.

According to the report, “Republicans were more likely than Democrats to engage in split ticket voting (31% vs. 25%) and were also generally more dissatisfied with their party’s nominees than Democrats were with theirs.” The report went on to say that “One in six (17%) GOP voters say they voted for the nominee of the party they typically support but wished a different person was the candidate, compared to one in eight (13%) Democrats who say the same.”

The report detailed the top issues for voters and there were few surprises, as issues like the economy, inflation, and crime were tops for GOP voters and Democrats were focused on issues like protecting Medicare and Social Security, preserving democracy, and abortion rights. Independent voters agreed with Republican priorities, yet among those polled, the GOP only won the Independent vote by 2%, clearly indicating Republican underperformance with this critical voting bloc.

In several different ways, the role that Donald Trump played in voter decision making was still hugely important. According to the report, “Candidates who denied the results of the 2020 presidential election were at a disadvantage with 59% of split-ticket voters indicating this stance made them less likely to support the candidate and 43% saying it made them much less likely.” Those sorts of numbers could make a large difference in states like Arizona, where the top of the GOP ticket was uniformly echoing Trump’s claims about the 2020 election. Also hurting candidates strongly identified as Trump Republicans was that while 70% of GOP voters still view him favorably, he is viewed unfavorably by 29% of Republicans and 66% of Independents, including an alarming 52% who view him “very unfavorably.”

According to Amanda Iovino, Principal at WPAi, “President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ woke agenda were, and remain, unpopular, but a series of tactical missteps by GOP campaigns, candidate quality issues, concerns over abortion in key races, and a focus on the past rather than the future of the Republican Party contributed to the GOP’s disappointing performance in the midterms.” She want on to add that “Americans are generally more aligned with Republicans’ policy priorities, but controversies surrounding President Trump and missed messaging opportunities turned off many GOP voters, Independents, and split-ticket voters who may have otherwise backed Republicans.”


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