Recent research conducted by Democracy Corps, Equis Labs, and HIT Strategies for Democracy Corps, and American Federation of Teachers of Black, Hispanic, AAPI and white working class voters shows that Joe Biden and the Democrats can embrace a powerful middle class-blue-collar message along with their transformative policy agenda and dramatically change their fortunes. Hearing that full agenda and along with the full-throated at-tack from conservatives allows Democrats to shift their vote margin from 3 points in the battle-ground to 8. That is the kind of margin they need to contest the midterms successfully.
The message framework we are testing turns out to help Democrats both in their base and with white working class targets. In the base, it solidifies the Black vote against the Trump-like at-tacks, though that vote is edging down from the 90 percent we used to see before 2016. The AAPI vote is very strong for Democrats and the messages and policies leave the Democrats with a two-to-one advantage with them. Unmarried women are very strong for Democrats, but the message makes the white unmarried women even stronger. And most importantly, the frame-work produces some of its biggest shifts with Gen Z and millennials, particularly the whites. Those voters disappointed in Virginia and this framework clearly get their attention.
The Hispanic vote margin is slightly down from 2020 and their response gets stuck in the mid-fifties on many choices. They are more worried than others about prices, taxes, the economy, the border, and defunding the police. Their margin edges down further in this poll and addressing it remains a priority.
The blue-collar-middle class message framework produces significant gains for Democrats with under 50 white working class voters, white working class women, and white disability families. The first may not be as culturally conservative as older white working class voters and are very conscious of the new child tax credit. Those with disabilities and their families are a significant part of the white working class, respond to being seen and policy.
The starting point for the strategy is seeing that both our base and our target persuasion audiences are working class and struggling, and we see them and wear their shoes. Essentially, two-thirds of what CVI has called, “the New American Majority” do not have a four-year college degree. That is true of 77 percent of Blacks in this survey, 83 percent of Gen Z, 62 percent of millennials, and three quarters of unmarried women.
The priorities of Democrats in this framework are about bringing change to the economy and power. In this survey, we gave respondents a robust option to address historic discrimination with targeted efforts on Black farmers, housing vouchers, lead pipes, as well as Black, tribally controlled colleges, and Hispanic institutions. That is still an important priority for Black voters, but it falls below having government pushing higher wages and helping workers. For Hispanics and AAPI voters, achieving worker protections and reduced health care costs stand out even more as top priorities.
To get heard on this framework, both our base and target voters need to hear our priorities are bringing change on the economy and in the power balance. Voters need to hear that we are dis-satisfied with an economy where people live paycheck to paycheck. We only emphasize policies that help people financially and policies that change who has power at work and government.