First survey in The Wall Street Journal’s new polling effort shows Republicans in strong position, though Democrats have advantages in some policy areas
WASHINGTON—Voters are heading into the midterm election year in a sour mood, pessimistic about the economy and short on confidence in the leadership of President Biden and his party on the issues that concern them most, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds.
The survey reveals a set of danger signs for the Democratic Party as it prepares to defend narrow majorities in the House and Senate. Voters by a large margin see economic and fiscal issues, including inflation, as the top priorities for Washington, and they view the GOP as better able to handle them.
A silver lining for Democrats is that the party’s initiatives in Congress—the recently enacted, bipartisan infrastructure bill and a proposed set of climate and social-spending programs—have the potential to draw additional support from voters who are undecided on their 2022 choice, the poll found. Democrats are also viewed as best able to control the Covid-19 pandemic, cut healthcare prices and improve education.
More voters say they would back a Republican than a Democrat for Congress, 44% to 41%, if the election were held today, a lead that is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Some 41% approve of Mr. Biden’s job performance, with 57% disapproving, suggesting that the president’s power to boost support for other Democrats, as of now, is limited.
The survey of 1,500 registered voters is the first under a new Wall Street Journal poll that will explore the forces driving American politics. For polls on the political landscape, including this one, the Journal is drawing on a new, bipartisan polling team that brings together the firms of Democrat John Anzalone, the lead pollster for Mr. Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and Republican Tony Fabrizio, the lead pollster for former President Donald Trump’s two campaigns. Mr. Anzalone’s current clients include the Democratic National Committee and an advocacy group that supports Mr. Biden’s agenda. Mr. Fabrizio currently polls for two political-action committees controlled by Mr. Trump.
In addition, the Journal will work with NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonprofit research organization, to conduct periodic national surveys on social and cultural issues.
By Aaron Zitner