Rasmussen Reports has released new data showing that just 63% of likely U.S. voters know which political party controls the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Twenty percent (20%) mistakenly believe Democrats control the House, while 17% are not sure. Similarly, 18% think the GOP is in charge in the Senate, but 19% are not sure.
This is even less awareness than voters expressed in March of last year. Remember, too, that these are respondents who are the likeliest to vote this November and so presumably are more politically aware than most other Americans.
Less than sixty days out from the midterms, and 47% of our most well-informed voters have no idea what this election is about. No wonder the media gets away with murder every time they report on Congress.
I’ve written before about the dangers of pulling away and limiting conservative outreach to voters we’re reasonably sure are comfortable with our platform. Polling data like this should only serve to reenforce that idea; unless we are reaching outside of the bubble, we’re leaving valuable votes on the table:
Women and those under 40 are less aware of who’s in charge of both congressional chambers than men and older voters are. Republicans are more aware than Democrats and unaffiliated voters, but a sizable number of GOP voters don’t know which party controls which house of Congress.
It’s no surprise that two of the most sought after demographics by political campaigns—women and young people—are also demographics that are less politically engaged. There’s a reason why women and young Americans aren’t drawn to the Republican Party, and it’s not because we’re inherently and philosophically flawed. They aren’t drawn to us because we’ve never gone to them and made the case for conservatism.
This is the heart and the key of outreach: talking to voters that we’ve never talked to before. Turning around the numbers that you’re seeing in this poll is a two-step process; not only do we have to start a conversation, we also have to figure out who to start that conversation with. (This is why you may be receiving phone calls and door knocks from frazzled campaign volunteers asking about your preferences on gun rights, environmental programs, and government spending.)
The awareness and political preferences of the various voting demographics aren’t going to change overnight; if we wait to reach out, however, we could see the data start to shift in a direction that favors the progressive media machine, and rejects the conservative ideas that they, unfortunately, have never been exposed to.
The bitter irony in all this? Behold:
Ninety percent (90%) believe voters in countries with democratically elected governments have a responsibility to be informed about major policy issues, but just nine percent (9%) think most Americans are informed voters.
This small piece of data could be key to Republican victories in both national and local election. If 90% of voters believe they have a responsibility to educate themselves about the political process, then the fact that their fellow Americans have no faith in voters at large should scandalize them into action.
In electoral politics, every decision is a tactical decision. Every ad, palm card, and e-mail contains an ask, no matter how subtle. It’s time to start asking voters to hold themselves and their communities accountable for the dysfunction that runs rampant at every level of government.
For now, at least, I think the other 91% are right.
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