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Key midterm voters on crime

Democrat Mandela Barnes, who is running for Senate in Wisconsin, is accused of being “a ‘defund the police’ Democrat,” in a tv ad backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which added that “Murders increased in Milwaukee by 40 percent, the fourth-highest increase in the country.”

These ads see heavy rotation in suburban areas as part of a Republican strategy aimed at diverting conversation away from abortion politics, which has put Republicans on the defensive since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. Instead, Republicans are leaning on fears that are evident in polling: About three-quarters of those surveyed said violent crime is rising nationally, while 88 percent said violent crime is rising. or staying the same in their own communities.

In the survey, 60 percent said crime would play a big role in deciding who they would vote for, second only to economic concerns and access to abortion.

Notably, 60 percent of those surveyed also said that gun politics would play a role in their vote. More than half blamed the rise in crime on “too many guns on our streets,” 5 points higher than the proportion of voters who said “defunding police departments” was a top reason. Passing gun control reform legislation is a top priority for 62 percent of those surveyed. Another third said it should not be done or should not be a priority.

Voters identified two main policy prescriptions to fix crime: more funding for police departments and stronger gun control laws, both of which attracted the 37 percent of respondents who thought those changes would greatly reduce crime.

Some Democrats, led by strategists at Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun safety group founded and financed by Michael Bloomberg, believe this is a way to avoid attacks on crime for Democratic campaigns. By linking crime to gun control measures, Democrats can go on the offensive and “reset” the narrative that Democrats are weak on crime, said Charlie Kelly, senior political adviser for Everytown.

That advice manifests itself in the Democrats’ response ads. In Wisconsin, Barnes ran an ad that featured members of the police, calling him “the real deal” who “doesn’t want to defund the police” and “I trust him to get the resources we need to keep people safe and reduce crime in the first place.”

With the midterms a month away, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll also shows that Democrats continue to hold a slight lead on the generic ballot, with 46 percent of respondents saying they would prefer a Democratic candidate in the November election over to 43 percent who said they would support a Republican candidate. Another 12 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.

The result is a positive – and unusual – sign for the ruling party, which traditionally suffers heavy losses in the first mid-term cycle of a new presidential administration. But Republicans only need to win five House seats to win back the chamber, giving Democrats a small margin of error.

A continuing drag on his chances is President Joe Biden’s low approval rating, which continues to hover in the low 40s. In the survey, 42 percent approve of his job performance, compared to 56 percent who disapprove.

That translates to a light public campaign schedule for the president, who has spent more time fundraising for his party behind closed doors than campaigning with candidates in high rotation.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted from September 30 to October 2, surveying more than 2,000 registered voters across the country. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company that provides real-time insight into what people think by surveying tens of thousands around the world every day..

More details about the survey and its methodology can be found in these two documents: main lines | cross tabs

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