Red wave alert: Enthusiasm gap is real and it's spectacular, says ABC

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Two new polls from major media outlets paint Joe Biden as a millstone around Democrats’ necks, but one demonstrates just how heavy that anchor will be. Both CBS and ABC came out with new numbers over the weekend, and both show Biden still in decline. The CBS/YouGov poll puts Biden’s job approval at 42%, the lowest in this series, but it shows Biden much farther underwater on the issues that will matter in November:


Let’s play mix-and-match! Three-quarters of voters say the economy will be the most important issue in the election, and Biden scores 37/63 on that issue. The next-highest priority is more narrowly inflation (73%), on which Biden scores even worse at 31/69. Biden’s at 60%+ disapproval on four of the five top issues on voters’ minds at the moment, and on the fifth — Russia — Biden’s at 45/55 approval. And that’s literally his best issue in the CBS/YouGov poll.

The economy is going to be the Democrats’ biggest worry, though, because of the breadth of impact that inflation has had. Almost every respondent in the poll has felt some pain from escalating prices:

With numbers like these, there isn’t much point in drilling into the crosstabs. Res ipsa loquitur, right? In ABC’s poll, however, it’s the demos that tell the story. ABC tries to lead with the dubious argument that voters buy Biden’s argument that inflation and high gas prices are the fault of “Big Oil” and Vladimir Putin, but a few paragraphs later, we get the real picture:


Democrats have pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the source of the rise in gas prices, with President Joe Biden coining it “Putin’s price hike,” while Republicans have argued that Biden’s energy policies are to blame.

Although the public appears open to Democratic arguments, they are more likely to place a “great deal” or a “good amount” of blame for the price increases on Democratic party policies (52%) and Biden (51%) than on Republican party policies (33%) and former President Donald Trump (24%). A strong majority of Americans (68%) also disapproves of the way Biden is handling gas prices. Not surprisingly, these assessments divide along party lines, with almost all Republicans (93%) disapproving compared to 41% of Democrats.

More importantly, however, is ABC’s results on voter enthusiasm. Some House Democrats may regret not choosing to retire when they could:

With the elections seven months away, just under 2 in 3 Americans (63%) are very (39%) or somewhat (24%) enthusiastic about voting.

The poll found greater enthusiasm among Republicans, with 55% saying they are “very enthusiastic” about voting compared to only 35% of Democrats — setting the stage for a challenging election year for Democrats, who will need to increase the intensity on their side of the aisle. On the opposite end, more Democrats (13%) say they are “not enthusiastic at all” about voting in the November elections compared to Republicans (5%).


That’s a twenty-point enthusiasm gap. That’s not just a portent for a red wave; it’s practically a sign of a Red Sea parting to allow Republicans into office.

By the way, Biden’s doing poorly on all issues in ABC’s poll too except for COVID:

  • Pandemic: 58/42
  • Immigration: 37/60
  • Economy: 40/59
  • Crime: 38/59
  • Russia/Ukraine: 45/53
  • Climate change: 46/53
  • Inflation: 29/69

Unless Biden can reset his presidency, Democrats are about to get sucked into the red riptide he’s leaving in his wake. Will he reset his presidency? Biden’s next big project will be gun control, so I’m guessing … naaah. More on that next.

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