Our polling of self-described moderate voters leading up to the 2022 midterm elections revealed that this key voting bloc leaned heavily toward the Democratic party as evidenced by two key findings:
- In the Congressional generic ballot question – 43% of moderates preferred the Democratic candidate with 27% selecting the Republican candidate in their district.
- Out of 13 key policy issues including abortion, energy, healthcare, crime, guns, education, international relations, inflation, race relations, etc., moderates reported that Democrats were better at handling 10 and Republicans only better at handling 3.
Based on this, we could comfortably project that moderate voters were heavily in the Democratic party camp (also see our polling on exactly how and why independent voters prevented the expected 2022 red wave from occurring.)
But today we have data that indicates a potential reverse trend in the making.
On July 5th, John Zogby Strategies fielded a poll of 1,006 likely voters in the general election and asked the question – Overall, do you believe politics in America is evolving or devolving?
Overall, and to no surprise – results show 65% of voters believe politics has devolved in the United States vs. 18% who believe it is evolving.
A stark contrast in results begs the question – which groups, if any, reported higher than the average regarding the sentiment that politics is evolving today, i.e. that it is moving forward to a better place.
Here, ideology is key. Regarding self-identified liberals – 30% polled an optimistic view that politics is evolving vs. just 14% of moderates and 15% of conservatives. Looking at party, 23% of Democrats say politics is evolving vs. 16% of Republicans.
Jeremy Zogby asks, “If just back in November, moderate voters were in the Democratic camp as evidenced by their belief that the party handle better 10 of the 13 key issues tested, why now are moderate voters aligned with conservative and Republican voters that American politics is largely devolving?
While we do not currently have a precise answer – this is a trend worth watching.
Do moderates believe the Democratic party has gone too left or is this just momentary dissatisfaction with the current state of politics in general?
Will moderate voters turn against the liberal stances of the Democratic party, and move towards Republicans, or disavow both parties?
Like independent voters, moderates are also an important bellwether to watch.