We conducted a large, mostly cell phone survey with an oversample of Republicans in the 2022 battleground for the U.S. Senate, governorships, and House, and it is painfully clear Don-ald Trump, Lindsey Graham, and Kevin McCarthy know their party. The Trump loyalists who strongly approve of him are two-thirds of those who identify as, “Republican.” And they are joined by the Trump aligned to form a breathtaking, three quarters of the party in the electoral battleground states and districts that will decide who leads the country.
The survey also finds that the critical bloc of non-Trump conservatives and moderates is only a quarter of the battleground electorate — compared to 30 percent in our national poll last month. The non-Trump conservatives are a healthy 16 percent of Republicans, but there are just fewer moderates (9 percent) in the battleground. Democrats win 5 percent of the former and 13 per-cent of the latter, but a greater risk to Republican consolidation are the “Biden Republicans” and their choosing to abstain or vote third party. After all, these races may be decided by only a few points.
We were also surprised by how much Donald Trump’s loyalist party is totally consolidated at this early point in its 2022 voting and how engaged it is. Yes, they have pulled back from histor-ic presidential year levels: the percent scoring 10, the highest level of interest in the election, has fallen from 84 to 68 percent. But Democrats’ engagement fell from 85 percent to 57 per-cent. Republicans are following their political theater much more closely than are Democrats — producing an 11-point gap.
Neither is showing the level of interest of the presidential election in 2019 and 2020, but they are higher than a comparable point in 2018, suggesting the era of high turnout elections is not over. And with such high early engagement of Republicans and white working class voters in this survey, it means the era of Donald Trump shaping the electorate is not over either.