The House Majority PAC, a Super PAC associated with House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), whose goal is to regain a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, just released a new poll of white working class voters that is sounding alarm bells for the Democratic House leadership.
Among the key findings is this stunner: By a margin of 35 percent, more white working class voters believe that the term “will help improve the economy and create jobs” applies to Republicans in Congress than it does to Democrats in Congress.
Other key findings of the poll are just as discouraging for Democrats:
- Democrats trail on the initial Congressional ballot among white working class voters by 10 points, 43 percent to 33 percent.
- A majority of white working class voters approve of the job President Trump is doing by a 52 percent to 44 percent margin.
- 66 percent of white working class GOP voters approve of the job House Republicans are doing, up from 44 percent last year.
Undertaken as part of the ongoing “White Working Class Voter Project” of the House Majority PAC, the survey was conducted by the firm of Normington Petts, and included “1000 total interviews in targeted House districts with a sample of likely 2018 voters.”
“All of the voters were White, over the age of twenty-four and did not have a college degree or higher education. The interviews were conducted June 27 – July 13, 2017. The margin of error for overall results is ±3.10%,” the polling firm says of its methodology.
Sixty years ago, the leaders of the Democratic Party did not need to conduct a survey to find out what white working class voters thought, they merely needed to ask their neighbors to come over for a beer.
Today, however, the Democratic Party is so disconnected from white working class voters they have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to study them.
The results of the survey conducted by Normington Petts confirm what is obvious to anyone who has walked around a white working class neighborhood recently: the Democratic message is not resonating with this group. The current survey adds to the earlier findings identified in the “White Working Class Voter Project.”
“White voters without a college degree made up 34% of the electorate in 2016. Their share was stable since 2012 but our [Democrat] margin got 12% worse,” the researchers told the Democratic leadership:
- In our April 2016 poll with these voters, nearly three-quarters (72%) said they preferred a factory job over an office job (28%). A large majority (69%) said it was very important that their next Member of Congress “Will do more to ensure that people are rewarded for hard work.”
- A majority (57%) said a college degree would result in more debt and little likelihood of landing a good paying job, while 43% said a college degree was a necessary step to get ahead. 83% said a college degree was no longer any guarantee of success in America, while 17% said people who have a college degree are able to get ahead.
- In short, when these voters hear people tell them that the answer to their concerns is college, their reaction is to essentially say – don’t force your version of the American Dream on me.
The messaging implications for Democrats, the pollsters say, require a change in the current game plan.
“We suffer from the lack of an identifiable positive agenda. Without it, voters will turn to Trump for progress. With it, we can make significant gains,” the pollsters conclude.
“Our economic deficit is devastating,” the pollsters say of the Democratic Party’s economic agenda.
“Voters don’t see special interests as the problem we need to fix,” they add.
“Success means better jobs that pay well, not a new campaign finance system. Let’s not confuse the end and the means,” the pollsters advise Democratic leaders.
The bad news for Democrats is not merely in the poll results.
Donors seem increasingly less interested in helping the House Majority PAC put the Democratic Party back in the majority in the House of Representatives.
The trend in cash-on-hand at the House Majority PAC illustrates that point.
At a similar time in the 2014 election cycle–June 30, 2013–the House Majority PAC had $2,251,000 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Two years later, at the same time during the 2016 election cycle–June 30, 2015, the House Majority PAC had $1,818,230 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
In this 2018 election cycle, as of July 10, 2017, the House Majority PAC had only $1,361,805. million cash on hand, up less than $900,000 from the beginning of the year when it had $399,314 on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
The House Majority PAC has had little success in winning House seats in 2017. In May, for instance it released a poll showing Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel in the Special Election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. One month later, Handel beat Ossoff by three points.
Republicans enjoy a 240 to 194 majority (with one vacancy) over the Democrats in the House of Representatives in the current session of Congress.
To take back the majority, Democrats will need a net gain of 24 seats in the November 2018 mid term elections to reach the magic number of 218.
With a message that is not reaching white working class voters, an apparent inability at the top to refine that message, and lackluster fundraising, the House Democratic leadership has yet to hit upon a winning formula for 2018.