Biden has an enthusiasm problem with Democratic women

President Joe Biden has largely retained the support of Democratic voters this year, even though he has declined among the larger electorate. But behind the curtain, Morning Consult Political Intelligence monitoring reveals a worrying weakening of enthusiastic support, carried by people who make up the bulk of the Democratic Party coalition: women.

According to a poll conducted September 28-30, 42 percent of female Democrats strongly approve of the president’s professional performance, compared to 50 percent of male Democrats. It’s a gap that has persisted since taking office on January 20, but widened as the summer resurgence of COVID-19 cases complicated back-to-school in August, which matched the uproar surrounding the withdrawal from Afghanistan and a program of Biden blocked on the American Parliament.

Political intelligence

Democratic women less likely than Democratic men to strongly support Biden

Share of Democratic voters who approve of President Joe Biden’s professional performance

The data points reflect the 3-day moving averages in 2021 among at least 1,762 Democratic female voters and 1,463 male Democratic voters, with margins of error of +/- 2% to +/- 3%.

Biden is still popular with Democratic women and men when it comes to those who at least somewhat approve of his performance at work, but in no survey since May – at the height of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and before the surge of the delta variant – did the president perform better with women than men in the Democratic Party.

“There are a lot of Democratic women who wanted a woman president,” said Nancy Bocskor, former director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University, ticking off the names of some of Biden’s main Democratic rivals such that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “Women Democrats have said anyone other than Donald Trump, but I don’t think he had a lot of leeway to start.”

Biden’s lack of staunch support among female Democrats creates another obstacle in the already difficult race for Democrats at the midpoint, contests that traditionally serve as referendums for the outgoing presidency. Thirteen months into the 2022 election, 60% of male Democratic voters say they are “extremely” or “very” excited to vote, while less than half (46%) of female Democrats have said the same, according to a recent Morning Consult / Politico survey.

The reasons for Biden’s weakness with the group are many and not all of them are directly under his control, according to Democratic experts and strategists, who cited the pandemic, the economy, abortion rights and dysfunction of Washington as potential causes.

Biden, for example, campaigned to defeat the pandemic, but COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to rise amid opposition to the vaccine from a significant part of the conservative population of the country. His administration has sued Texas law banning nearly all abortions, but attacks on reproductive rights nonetheless occur under his watch.

And while Biden and Democrats in Congress push for action under the “Build Better” policy agenda on broad “care economy” concerns such as child care, senior care or time off. paid family – issues that could have a direct impact on working women, whose livelihoods have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic versus men – they are held back as liberals and progressives bicker over the price and scope of the package.

The relatively lukewarm enthusiasm for Biden among Democratic women, according to the survey, is largely driven by the youngest of them: only a third of those under 45 say they strongly approve of his performance at work, compared to half of women in 45 years and older.

Political intelligence

Among female Democrats, Biden’s strong support weakest among younger

Share of female Democrats who approve and disapprove of President Joe Biden’s professional performance

Survey conducted from September 28 to 30, 2021 among 3,530 Democratic female voters, with margins of error of +/- 2% to +/- 6% for the responses displayed. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Dr Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College, who writes a book on Generation Z women, said anger over issues such as gender and racial equality rights abortion and in particular climate change had been a driver of activism among younger American voters. . But despite Biden’s focus on the planet, including measures to tackle climate change in his massive legislative agenda has been underestimated, she said.

“I hear more posts about pre-kindergarten, helping with child care, which are all things moms care about. But a lot of young women also care about the climate, ”she said. “I think there have to be more definitive wins for Biden, and I think that would definitely help build some excitement among young women.”

Biden has also seen her position decline among black Democratic women, 41% of whom now strongly approve of her performance at work – down 30 percentage points since taking office in January. The decline is very similar to the change in her position among white Democratic women, but is notable for a group that is credited with helping save the president’s quest for the party’s nomination last year in South Carolina, and to fuel the Democratic Senate takeover. with the runoff from Georgia last January.

Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People, which advocates for women of color in politics, said Biden and the Democrats have suffered self-inflicted injuries, especially on issues such as minimum wage, voting rights and police reform – all of whom are stuck on Capitol Hill – or when it comes to improving the treatment of refugees like those from Haiti on the US-Mexico border, which particularly resonated with voters of color.

“We have the voices to win,” she said of the position of Democrats in the country. “We’ll be able to increase our participation when people believe our votes count and we have power, and that’s one of the things that worries me: we have to respect that and then communicate it.” When people feel like they’re not going to tell the difference, it affects enthusiasm and removes participation.

Women Democrats (and Democrats in general) have responded favorably to victories like the party’s enactment of sweeping COVID-19 relief in March. Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, also suffered from a similar lack of grassroots enthusiasm at this point in his presidency four years ago, but rebounded after the Republicans passed Congress and the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Even though Biden and the Congressional Democrats are unable to rekindle waning enthusiasm by securing political victories, many Democratic strategists say the party can count on negative partisanship to ensure its constituents understand what is at stake in the elections in the United States. next year and show up accordingly. Several noted that the GOP’s position on abortion rights and the democratic process, as well as its laissez-faire approach to responding to the pandemic, could provide ammunition.

“As the angry Republican base endangers the health and safety of the rest of the country by refusing the masks and vaccines, the more likely it is that Democrats will vote to stop them,” said Martha McKenna, Democratic strategist and former Senate Democrat. Responsible for the campaign committee. “It’s not just ‘stop Trump’ – now it’s’ stop Republicans indulging their angry, unvaccinated grassroots voters who are putting my kids at risk. “”

“Fear is a very motivating force,” she added.

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