The Biggest Surprise of This Fall’s Campaign

ONE ISSUE DWARFS ALL OTHERS in this year’s elections — anxiety over the economy and inflation. The big surprise is that the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade has NOT become a dominant issue; it finishes third or fourth in most polls of which issues are the most important to voters.

THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR THE DEMOCRATS, who thought the late June court ruling would make a huge difference in the election; they thought they could take the Senate and come close in the House. That now looks increasingly unlikely.

DEMOCRATS THOUGHT THE STRONG JOBS MARKET would ease their vulnerability on the economy, but that hasn’t happened. When the history of this election is written, it will focus on inflation, which may have peaked — but not in time to make a difference. Well over 50% of Americans blame Joe Biden for the shaky economy and high inflation.

EVERY POLL WE’VE SEEN SHOWS inflation and the economy as the top issue, followed by health care, abortion, climate change, immigration and crime. The latter issue has become a huge theme in key states, as reported in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

DEMOCRATS ARE FRUSTRATED as the blame for crime falls on them, despite modest improvement in statistics on violent crime. But the “soft on crime” rap has stuck, with Democrats blamed for “defund the police,” a stance that very few Democrats actually support. But the Progressive left stuck the party with that label, and the Democrats can’t shake it.

DEMOCRATS AND THE MEDIA were betting that Donald Trump would become a controversial issue in the election, but the polls show Trump barely registers as a top issue. But privately, many Republicans tell us that Trump’s endorsement of weak candidates in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania will deprive the party of a near-landslide.

AN EMPHASIS ON SOCIAL ISSUES such as school curriculums were a major factor in electing Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin; he and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have capitalized on on social issues and may emerge as major winners in the Nov. 8 elections.

BUT ONCE AGAIN, THE DOMINANT THEME is pocketbook issues, as millions of Americans get their dismal third quarter stock statements and the price of gasoline and food stays stubbornly high. The Senate is still in play, but the House is gone; it is very likely to flip back to the GOP.

DEMOCRATS THOUGHT THEY HAD A DOMINANT ISSUE — access to abortion — but it’s in the middle of the pack in polls of key issues despite harsh new abortion bans in many states. The failure to capitalize on this issue will prompt a ferocious post-mortem in the party; far more than 50% of all Democrats say they want someone other than Biden to be their next nominee.

Related: A Major Energy Setback for the Biden Administration

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