GOP opens edge on economy, crime ahead of midterms: POLL

Americans are confident that Republicans would do a better job on an important set of issues, with overall double-digit advantages in inflation, the economy, gas prices and crime, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Inflation sees one of the biggest chasms – with 36% of Americans trusting the GOP and 21% the Democrats. There are similar gaps around gas prices, with 36% of Americans trusting Republicans and 22% trusting Democrats, the poll shows.

Broadly considering the state of the economy, 36% of Americans trust Republicans to do a better job, while 24% trust Democrats — a potentially grim assertion for the left, which currently clings to thin majorities in the House and Senate.

On crime, a key closing issue for the GOP in the campaign cycle, Republicans also enjoy a solid advantage – with 35% of respondents trusting them over the 22% trusting Democrats.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden is greeted by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman after disembarking from Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport, October 20, 2022.

President Joe Biden is greeted by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman after disembarking from Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport, October 20, 2022.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The public is much more divided on immigration, with Republicans confident of doing a better job by 35% of Americans compared with 32% who prefer Democrats, the new poll shows. Americans are also relatively split on taxes, with 30% saying Republicans would do a better job versus 28% of Democrats.

Those leads for Republicans have solidified numerically since August, according to the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, after both parties flooded the market with a flurry of ads, with the right painting Biden and his party as soft on crime, weak on immigration, and directly responsible for higher prices at the pump and at the grocery store.

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Last week at the White House, President Joe Biden acknowledged the price crisis, announcing the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in hopes of lowering the cost of gas.

“Families are hurting. You’ve heard me say this before, but I understand. I come from a family, if the price of gasoline went up at the gas station, we would feel it. The price of gasoline has hit almost every family in this country, and they’ve squeezed the family budget. When gas prices go up, other expenses are cut,” Biden said.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices during remarks in the Southern Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, June 22, 2022.

President Joe Biden addresses gas prices during remarks in the Southern Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, D.C., June 22, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters, ARCHIVE

Democrats aren’t fully submerged, however — seeing clues in voter confidence around COVID-19, climate change, gun violence and abortion. Access to abortion services has been at the center of Democratic messages since the fall of Roe v. Wade, as the White House and other party leaders hope to build a blue wall to fight an anticipated “red wave” of Republican victories.

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But recent polls, including from the Pew Research Center, suggest that the top issues that his party supporters are less likely to prioritize, as voting has begun in midterm races across the country. An overwhelming majority – 79% – told Pew that the economy is “very important” and 61% said that violent crime is also “very important”.

One bright spot for Democrats on a different issue in the ABC News/Ipsos poll is that 58% of independent voters say that if a candidate says they believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, it is less. likely to vote. for that candidate. Of the 522 Republican candidates for federal and state office across the country, 199 question the legitimacy of the last election, according to research compiled by FiveThirtyEight and ABC News.

Regardless of where they land on the issues, voters seem hungry for new leadership at the top.

As substantial as Trump has control over his own party, 44% of Republicans say Florida Governor Ron DeSantis should have “a lot” of influence over the future of the GOP, according to the ABC News/Ipsos poll. That’s more than Trump, with 34% of Republicans saying they want the former president to have “a lot of” influence, the poll shows. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are among other party leaders that some Republicans want to be the voice of their party.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump embraces Arizona Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake, whom he has endorsed, during a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on Oct. 9, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona.

Former President Donald Trump embraces Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who he has endorsed, during a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 9, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona.

Images by Mario Tama/Getty

The Democrats are also backing away from their leader, and by even more impressive margins. A large plurality (42%) of Democrats would like President Barack Obama to have “a lot” of influence in the future direction of his party, eclipsing the incumbent, with just 27% of Democrats wanting Biden to have “a lot” of influence, shows the ABC News/Ipsos survey.

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The feeling of wanting someone besides Biden isn’t necessarily new, but Obama’s support lines up with a more substantial midterm campaign week the former president has done this cycle, planning to travel to Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin at the end. of October.

Last week, Obama argued on the “Pod Save America” ​​podcast that Democrats can deliver a winning message to voters: . If you combine the deep concerns about our democracy with the concrete achievements that this administration was able to deliver – because we had a narrow majority in the House and Senate – that should be enough to inspire people to leave.”

That said, in the same interview, Obama also chided his fellow Democrats for being a “boring” on many issues.

And while this election has been framed in part as a referendum on Biden or Trump, a plurality of voters, 48%, say their votes are not really about either.

This ABC News/Ipsos survey was conducted using the Ipsos Public Affairs KnowledgePanel® October 21-22, 2022, in English and Spanish, among a national random sample of 686 adults. The results have a sampling error of 4.0 points, including the design effect. Party divisions are 28-24-41 percent, Democrat-Republican-Independent. See the main survey results and details about the methodology here.

Dan Merkle and Ken Goldstein of ABC News contributed to this report.

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