Finally, polls are telling Democrats what they want to hear. But maybe what they want to hear isn’t what they need to hear.
In their latest report, Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) seemed to confirm liberal beliefs about how the public has viewed the last three months of the Trump administration. According to the data, health care will push Republicans out of Congress, Americans support an independent investigation on Russia. If the election were held tomorrow, pretty much anyone with a pulse would beat Donald Trump.
While the numbers are comforting for Democrats, they should be cautioned from drawing comforting conclusions from them. If they do, Democrats are in danger of running the same play that doomed them in November: relying on widespread distaste for Trump to win elections.
Trump’s poor showing in the polls will surprise few Democrats.
“Surprising isn’t a word I like to use,” said PPP Issue Polling Specialist Jim Williams about the polling results. “A plurality of people in favor of impeachment is interesting. But other than that, it’s all straightforward.”
That might be enough for now. The Trump administration’s incompetence and GOP sliminess are great selling points. They seem ready to lose.
Sadly, the Democrats don’t seem as ready to win. They lack direction and self awareness. Trump created each of his own messes and has botched the cleanup every time. It’s not hard to appear competent by comparison.
It’s fun to see how many people disapproved of James Comey’s firing. It’s amusing to see The Rock out-polling Trump in a presidential runoff. But remember: the Democratic party commissioned the poll. Maybe these poll results will hearten Democrats and demoralize Donald Trump. That’s a benefit, but it’s not enough.
The fear is that these results could make Democrats complacent. They’ll feel like they don’t need to offer policy ideas. Instead of embracing popular ideas like single payer health-care, they’ll just keep talking Russia. Meanwhile, Republicans can hand-wave the poll away as fake news.
Democrats need joy and confidence. But more importantly, they need to offer a people a reason to vote for them and not just against Trump.