A new Gallup survey shows the GOP opening up big leads on four critical issues voters say are most important this election. Republicans enjoy an 11-point advantage over Democrats on handling the economy, the issue foremost on voters’ minds. The GOP edge mirrors a similar advantage it enjoyed heading into the 2010 elections. It is the clearest sign that a late-stage wave may be building for Republicans.
Jobs, the federal deficit and the way the federal government operates are still among the top issues for voters, just like 2010. On those issues, the Republicans hold a significant edge over Democrats. By 20 points, voters trust Republicans to better handle the deficit than Democrats.
The new variable in this election, compared to 2010, is the rise of Islamist militants and terrorism as important issues for voters. Almost 8 out of 10 voters say the US handling of the situation in Iraq and Syria will be “extremely” or “very” important in deciding their vote. Voters prefer Republicans on this issue by a commanding 19-point margin.
There is a certain karma to this. Democrats rode dissatisfaction with the situation in Iraq to big Congressional majorities in 2006. Dissatisfaction with Obama and the Democrats’ handling of an even worsening situation there threatens to push them further into minority status.
The one bright-spot for Democrats in the poll is that they lead Republicans, by a whopping 38 points, on the issue of gender pay equity. Unfortunately for Democrats, this is a fake, media-fabricated issue. The issue is proof that if you torture statistics long enough, they will confess to anything. Its sole purpose is to quickly identify people who are unserious or partisan hacks.
Few people will go into the polls worried about the economy, national security, pandemics and the competency of the federal government and decide that an issue from the 1970s really ought to guide our Republic today. One has to be alive and have a job before this quaint issue even arises.
In fact, as Gallup notes, the Democrat advantage on issues are confined to those deemed the least important by voters. No matter what happens in November, that fact ought to keep Democrat party leaders up at night. When you are only trusted on issues that voters believe aren’t important, your problems go beyond a single Administration.