Can Democrats "break away" from an unpopular president?

We see this same dynamic play out in politics. The party battling the headwind (and trying to distance themselves from their unpopular party brand), often starts out ahead. But, as the election gets closer and voters start to pay closer attention, it gets harder and harder for that party to stay out front. Eventually, the political environment catches them. And, in 2022, it’s hard to believe that the headwinds facing Democrats —especially economic ones — are going to get any less intense between now and November.

While breakaways most often get caught, some manage to stay ahead and cross the finish line first. That usually happens when the peloton is disorganized. Or, they realize too late that they’ve let the lone cyclist get out too far ahead. By the time they realize they’ve miscalculated, it can be too late.

A race where that dynamic is playing out right now is Pennsylvania. A contentious primary has left GOP nominee Oz deeply unpopular. The AARP poll found Oz’s overall net approval rating at -33, compared to Fetterman’s +10. Moreover, while Fetterman has almost universal support among his base (+69), only a bare majority of Republicans give Oz positive marks (53 percent approve to 38 percent disapprove). Before Oz can start chasing down Fetterman, he needs to get his own team organized.