NDN’s Saliency Index 5 – Jobs/Economy, Inflation, Health Care, Climate Change Top Dem Concerns

NDN’s Saliency Index 5 – Jobs/Economy, Inflation, Health Care, Climate Change Top Dem Concerns

So here it is, our latest Saliency Index from data taken from the May 12th Navigator poll.  These are the results of their “top issue” question which asks respondents to choose 4 from a predetermined list.  NDN then creates modeled Dem and GOP electorates and runs the raw data through these models.  At a very top line this exercise shows how dramatically different the information universes of the two parties are right now.  Some notes on this data are below. See here for more on the methodology and to review our last full report. 

Inflation Continues To Be Far Less of a Concern Among Democrats – In our last Saliency Index report we offered a detailed explanation for why we keep seeing lower intensity around inflation among Dems.  The bottom line is that the party of inflation that has really spiked has been gas prices, and it is very possible that rural and exurban voters who drive more and use more gas – and are much more likely to be Republican – are experiencing inflation much more intensely than those who use less gas.  If you drive a lot inflation has been crushing, and is a major economic event.  If you don’t drive a lot, or at all, inflation has actually been far less of an economic event in your life as up until a few months ago real wages were positive for all workers – meaning the typical American was staying ahead of inflation.  Even today, with inflation rising due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, our colleague Rob Shapiro finds that real wages remain in positive territory for full time workers.  So inflation has been more acute for those who drive a lot and part time workers.  For everyone else they are keeping up, regardless of how they feel and understand it.  

Finally, in older Navigator polling, Democratic voters overwhelming blamed inflation on COVID and not Joe Biden’s economic policies.  It is just true that COVID and Russia are now the primary causes of the inflation we are experiencing today.  So it is possible that inflation is less salient in the Democratic electorate for they do not see it as something caused by our government, which of course is a fair read of what is actually happening right now.  Republicans may be both feeling inflation more intensely than Dems, and of course right wing media has focused the blame on Biden rather than COVID, Russia and MBS, where much of the blame actually belongs.  

Abortion and Education seem to be secondary concerns for Republican voters - This continues to be a surprise, and challenges conventional wisdom in DC about how the election is going to be fought out in the months ahead.  GOP has very high levels of intensity around the economy and inflation right now, with the basket of security and safety issues – immigration, national security, crime – making up a clear second tier.  

Abortion is rising as an issue of concern for Democrats, Climate Continues To Be A Top Issue, COVID Has Receded – Not surprisingly we’ve seen significant movement on the abortion issue in recent weeks, and of note to Democratic operatives climate remains a very important issue to our voters.  Our guess is that the continued saliency of climate is being driven by younger voters.  Not also has much COVID has receded.  Economic issues are once again the top battleground in 2022.  

More data from May 12th - This is another cut on the data from May 12th.  Our modeled Dem electorate is 80% Dem, 15% independent, 5% R.  The modeled R is 80% R, 15% independent, 5% Dem.  Again, this is an exercise, and the modeled electorate in every state and district is unique.