Democrats, who hold a slim majority in the U.S. House and Senate, reversed what was an average 3-point lead for Republicans earlier this year over the generic 1-point Congressional ballot. of advantage for the party in power.
But as we will discuss earlier in our look at the politics week it has been, Americans aren’t as concerned about the state of the economy as Republicans perhaps would like.
You look at almost all the recent polls that ask Americans their most important question, and a plurality says it’s the economy or inflation. For example, a Fox News poll last week showed more voters were worried about inflation than any other issue.
An examination of historical data reveals, however, that the percentage of Americans who currently say that economic issues are the most important issue is in the election average since 1988.
Each month, Gallup publishes data on what Americans say is the most important problem facing the country. It’s an open-ended question (meaning respondents can say anything they want) and can give more than one answer.
In August, 37% of adults said an economic problem was the most important. No single non-economic problem has come close to this. The “Government / Poor Management” category was closest to 20%. Since March, between 35% and 40% of Americans have pointed to some kind of economic problem (for example, inflation) as the main problem.
Of course, I was brought up with the belief that elections are about “stupid economics”. So I wanted to see how this year’s results compare to the views of Americans ahead of the previous elections. I asked Gallup to get the closest election day data for me for every possible election. They provided me with mid-term and presidential year data for their survey which dates back to 1988.
What amazed me is that, on average, 39% said that an economic problem is the most important. That is, the economy is no more of a problem this year than it has been in other years since 1988, despite currently high inflation.
What the current poll shows is not what we saw in 2008, 2010 or 2012, when 68% or more of Americans pointed to an economic problem as the main problem. And although Gallup didn’t give me the data, polls prior to the 1982 midterm showed that over 70% of Americans chose an economic problem as their main problem. 1982 is an important year historically because it was the last time inflation rates were as high as they are now.
In fact, this year’s Gallup data found that a collective 66% of Americans said the main problem was non-economic. While no issues individually came close to economics, in total the non-economic issues far outshone economic concerns.
If these elections were all about the economy, the GOP would crush it. A CNN / SSRS poll from the summer showed that Republicans were winning by more than 30 points in the general ballot among voters who said they wanted congressional candidates to talk more about the economy or inflation. But data from Gallup polls show that this year’s elections, in the minds of voters, are not just about the state of the economy.
Democrats, in the CNN poll, held a more than 30-point lead among those who chose something other than economics as what they wanted congressional candidates to talk about the most.
This is good news for the Democrats.
It is possible that economic worries will increase in the last few weeks before election day. With each passing day, however, an election that many of us thought was primarily about the economy looks like it will be about so much more.
Americans want same-sex marriage federally legal
One of the main reasons the 2022 elections seem to be about something other than the economy is the US Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This marked a turning point in the national political environment (in favor of the Democrats).
The elimination of federal rights to abortion also spurred a movement to codify marriage itself into federal law, largely due to wording in a concurring opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who explicitly asked for the ruling to be reviewed. of the 2015 court that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Make no mistake: Reversing that 2015 decision would be extremely unpopular with the American public. On the other hand, recent efforts by Congress to pass legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level are quite popular.
A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in late August found that 71% of Americans supported the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. This included nearly half (45 percent) of Republican voters, 77 percent of independents, and 89 percent of Democrats.
From one point of view, more Americans supported the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage than were in favor of Roe v. Wade before it was overturned. (That percentage was generally in the mid-1960s.)
Opinions on same-sex marriage in the United States have changed dramatically over the past 26 years. In 1996, 27% of Americans thought same-sex marriages should be valid in the country. Gallup found that that percentage was 71% earlier this year.
Of course, just because you want something legal doesn’t mean you want it encoded in federal law. There are many Americans who are against abortion but don’t support a federal ban.
Polls show, however, that a majority of Americans want Congress to codify same-sex marriage at the federal level. My polling average shows that somewhere around 55% of Americans do, with around 30% against.
This would explain why Congress seems willing to do exactly that. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage has already passed the House. The Senate has delayed voting on same-sex marriage legislation until after half of the term, though it seems likely that the move there is too.
It would mark a real turning point from the mid-1990s, when Congress passed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act which, for federal purposes, defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and allowed states not to recognize marriages between same-sex persons granted by other states.
For your brief encounters: Indiana Jones is returning
Indiana Jones’ Google searches hit a nearly four-year high last week with the first preview of the fifth installment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise coming out.
As I noted on the air, the franchise is unique in that it has spanned decades and is a top performer, both in terms of box office and critical acclaim.
Perhaps my favorite Indiana Jones fact, though, comes from a poll. A few years ago, a CBS News / Vanity Fair poll asked Americans what character in the film they would like to be if they could live in a movie for a day.
The first choice was Indiana Jones at 25%. He beat Ferris Bueller at 14%, Carrie Bradshaw (from “Sex in the City”) at 12% and Don Corleone (from “The Godfather”) at 11%.
My only question is what kind of person would admit to wanting to be a mobster for a day?
The historic electoral feat of Queen Elizabeth II: Gallup recalls that the late monarch appeared on his list of Most Admired Women a record 52 times from 1948 to 2020. No one else was on the list more than 34 times (Margaret Thatcher).
Most Americans don’t bet on sports: As more and more states legalize sports gambling, the Pew Research Center finds that only 19% of Americans have bet on sports in the past year. The most likely way to do this was in private with friends and family (15%).
Most Americans may not be Christian by 2070: Pew also estimates, based on current trends, that less than 50% of Americans will identify as Christian by 2070. In 2020, an estimated 64% of all Americans (adults and children) were Christian.