Why “Bidenomics” isn’t resonating & which accomplishments move the needle most

On economic issues, there is significant misalignment between what voters perceive to be President Biden’s priorities and what they want him to focus on.

Blueprint, a new public opinion research initiative designed to study the most crucial voting groups and which policies and messages are breaking through and resonating with them, today released its inaugural poll. The poll indicates that President Biden has critical messaging choices to make around the 2024 election, particularly on whether to focus on jobs or prices, whether to highlight more progressive or more moderate accomplishments, and whether Republicans can successfully be painted as extremists. The survey, which had a sample of 1,063 voters nationwide, was conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Blueprint.

Blueprint’s polling shows that voters believe President Biden is primarily concerned with job growth, while they would prefer that he prioritize lowering the prices of goods, services, and gas. On economic issues, there is significant misalignment between what voters perceive to be the president’s priorities and what they want him to focus on. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are strongly associated with prioritizing reducing prices. While President Biden’s progressive accomplishments (such as student debt cancellation) are widely known to voters, they are less popular than his moderate and mainstream accomplishments (such as deficit reduction, health-care reforms, and increased domestic energy production). Voters are least aware of Biden’s more moderate accomplishments that receive higher levels of support. The poll also showed that voters do not view former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party as more ideologically extreme than President Biden and the Democratic Party, suggesting that arguments painting Republicans as unreasonable and uniquely extreme aren’t currently persuasive.

“Jobs just aren’t getting the job done for President Biden’s popularity. This new data makes it crystal clear that while voters view Biden as focused on jobs, they’re far more concerned about prices of goods, services, and gas,” said Evan Roth Smith, Founding Partner at Slingshot Strategies, who oversaw the poll for Blueprint. “There is a wide gap between what voters perceive to be the Biden administration’s top economic priorities and what is most important to them. When it comes to kitchen-table issues, American voters are worried about how much the food on the table costs; they aren’t worried about having a job to pay for it.”

“President Biden has a compelling story to tell a broad swath of the electorate based on accomplishments that appeal to them: historic deficit reduction, record oil and gas production, and sticking to the middle of the road on criminal justice,” Roth Smith added.. “But right now, that’s not the story that persuadable voters are hearing.”

TOP TAKEAWAYS

Bidenomics isn’t resonating with voters because it is not focused on the prices of goods, services, and gas. President Biden’s jobs message is not getting the job done.

Blueprint’s polling shows a major disconnect on where voters think President Biden and Bidenomics are focused compared to where they want the focus to be. Voters believe that the President is mostly focused on creating more jobs (43%), but would overwhelmingly prefer to see improvement on prices (64%) rather than on jobs (7%). However, voters do believe that prices are the primary focus of both the Republican Party (54%) and former President Trump (49%). The reason Bidenomics isn’t resonating with voters is that it is simply not seen as addressing their concerns about the economy.

More voters are hearing about President Biden’s progressive accomplishments than his moderate ones, which receive very strong support from voters.

While many of President Biden’s progressive accomplishments are well-known, they are less popular with voters. For example, President Biden’s plan to cancel $10,000 in student debt is known to 84% of voters, but it is only supported by a narrow 4-point margin (making it the second-least popular policy tested). But fewer voters are aware of President Biden’s moderate accomplishments—despite those policies receiving broad support—such as issuing historic numbers of oil and gas drilling permits, which is known to only 38% of voters but is supported by 70% of them. Similarly, only 46% of voters have heard about President Biden increasing funding for police, but it is supported by 74% of them; just 46% of voters know President Biden reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion, but it has support of 89% of them. Other accomplishments, such as capping insulin costs for seniors and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing, also tested strongly. Overall, President Biden’s mainstream and moderate accomplishments are more popular, but voters are less aware of them.

Right now, voters believe President Biden and the Democratic Party to be as extreme as former President Trump and the Republican Party

Finally, voters do not accept a view of former President Trump as more ideologically extreme than President Biden. Only 28% of voters consider President Biden’s ideology to be “close to my views,” while 43% consider him “far more liberal than me.” Meanwhile, 32% of voters consider Donald Trump’s ideology to be “close to my views,” while 41% consider him “far more conservative than me.” Both the Republican and Democratic parties are seen as equally out of touch, with only 20% of voters believing that Democrats focus “a lot” on “people like me” when making policy decisions and just 21% believing the same about the Republican Party.

Additional Findings from Blueprint’s Inaugural Poll

The inaugural Blueprint poll revealed that, when it comes to the economy, there’s a major disconnect between voters’ chief concerns and what they think President Biden is most focused on. Specifically, the poll showed:

  • 64% of voters say prices of goods, services, and gas is the part of the economy they would most like to see improved, 20% say higher wages, 9% say lower interest rates on mortgages and credit cards, and just 7% say more jobs
  • 43% of voters think President Biden is most focused on more jobs, 25% on higher wages, and 23% on lowering prices of goods, services and gas; 49% view former President Trump as most focused on lowering prices on goods, services, and gas
  • 35% of voters see Democrats as most focused on jobs, 33% on higher wages, 24% on lowering prices of goods, services, and gas, and 8% on lower interest rates on mortgages and credit cards; 54% of voters say Republicans are most focused on lowering prices of goods, services, and gas, 18% on more jobs, 18% on lower interest rates on mortgages and credit cards, and 9% on higher wages
  • 55% of voters believe Bidenomics is good at creating more jobs, while just 44% of them see it as good at lowering prices on goods and services
  • 61% of voters have heard that since 2021 the U.S. has created 13.9 million new jobs and that the unemployment rate has stayed below 4% for 20 consecutive months, 46% have heard that inflation has been reduced more quickly in the U.S. than in the U.K., Italy, Germany and France, and 44% are aware that the U.S. federal deficit has been reduced by over $1.7 trillion since 2021
  • While 77% of voters believe U.S. interest rates have risen from 0.1% to 5% since 2021, just 35% believe the U.S. federal deficit has been reduced by over $1.7 trillion since 2021, and 38% believe that inflation has decreased from 8.3% to 3.2% since 2021

President Biden’s more progressive accomplishments are known to the vast majority of voters, but they are some of his least popular positions; meanwhile, his more moderate and mainstream accomplishments are more popular, but fewer voters are aware of them. The survey showed:

  • 84% of voters have heard of President Biden canceling $10,000 of student loan debt, and just 52% of them support the policy, among the lowest support tested
  • 48% of voters have heard of President Biden increasing the amount of oil and gas drilling in the U.S. to lower gas prices, and 74% support the policy
  • 46% of voters have heard of President Biden reducing the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion—an accomplishment 89% of voters support
  • 55% of voters are aware of the president banning companies from charging hidden or misleading “junk fees” for products and services—a policy 89% of voters support
  • 83% of voters support capping out-of-pocket Medicare prescription drug spending at $2,000 a year; just 49% of voters have heard of this accomplishment
  • 46% of voters have heard of President Biden increasing funding for the police; 74% of voters support the position

The survey found voters perceive President Biden and the Democratic Party to be as extreme as former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The poll showed:

  • 43% of voters believe President Biden is “far” more liberal than they are; about an equal amount, 41%, believe former President Trump is “far” more conservative than they are; just 13% of voters believe Biden is “too” conservative
  • 60% of voters see the Democratic Party as “somewhat” or “far” more liberal than they are; 57% of voters see the Republican Party as “somewhat” or “far” more conservative than they are
  • 53% of voters believe President Biden is “much” or “a little” too liberal; an identical share (53%) of voters believe former President Trump is “much” or “a little” too conservative
  • 52% of voters think that, when making decisions, President Biden prioritizes liberal activists, and 48% believe he prioritizes the American public; 55% of voters believe that when making decisions former President Donald Trump prioritizes conservative activists, and 45% of voters believe he prioritizes the American public
  • The top three groups voters believe the Democratic Party focuses “a lot” on are their political donors (66%), LTGBQ people (58%), and the media (54%); voters see the Republican Party as focusing “a lot” on their political donors (71%), big business (63%), and the rich (62%)
  • 20% of voters believe the Democratic Party focuses “a lot” on “people like me” when making decisions, while about an equal share (21%) think the Republican Party focuses “a lot” on “people like me”; 40% of voters believe the Democratic Party focuses “a lot” on “extremists” when making decisions, and 43% believe the Republican Party focuses “a lot” on “extremists”; 52% of voters believe the Democratic Party focuses “a lot” on “elites” when making decisions, and the identical amount (52%) think the Republican Party focuses “a lot” on “elites”

Materials & Resources

A full suite of materials surrounding Blueprint’s inaugural poll are available at our website (www.blueprint2024.com), including:

About the Poll 

Blueprint commissioned a survey conducted by YouGov of 1,064 voters from Oct. 26 to Nov, 2. nationally using web panel respondents. The survey was conducted in English, and its margin of error is ±3.3 percentage points. See the poll’s full toplines here.

About Blueprint

Blueprint is a public opinion research initiative designed to study the most crucial voting groups and which policies and messages are breaking through and resonating with them. Through frequent polling and message testing on the most salient political issues, Blueprint will provide insights and recommendations on how to reach the voters who will be essential to delivering the Democrats the White House and control of Congress in 2024. Going beyond the scope of typical message testing, Blueprint will examine whether voters have even heard of or are convinced by the underlying accomplishments that President Biden is spreading the message about, and who voters think these policies are meant to serve.

Blueprint does not advocate for any specific policy agenda; this effort is focused on identifying messaging and narratives (including those that are out-of-the-box or contrary to current conventional wisdom) that will produce winning coalitions for Democrats in 2024. 

There is a widely shared view that the central vulnerability that Democrats face in 2024 is not the quality of our current governance or policies, but rather our inability to create a compelling narrative that can sway voters in the most fiercely contested states and congressional districts across the country. Using state-of-the-art polling that incorporates pollster analysis and highly actionable practitioner-oriented data, Blueprint will help campaigns and other stakeholders see where voters stand and how Biden and the Democratic Party can best appeal to those who will shape the outcome of the 2024 elections, including independents and swing voters.

Blueprint also aims to be a go-ro resource for the media. Three years into the Biden presidency and a year out from the general election, journalists are diving into why the president’s approval ratings remain low and why he’s not getting more credit for his accomplishments. As the 2024 cycle progresses, Blueprint’s polling and research will serve as a vital tool for answering these and other questions.

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