The Biden Administration has attempted to sell its $2 trillion Build Back Better plan, including $540 billion in tax hikes on family businesses, as popular with voters. That’s simply not true.
An op-ed published yesterday by David Winston in Roll Call makes this clear. The results of his firm’s latest survey reveal a glaring disconnect between the goals of Build Back Better and the priorities of everyday Americans. As Winston writes:
Political leaders have to address the priorities of the electorate. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Biden is not just off message with Build Back Better, he’s off policy priorities; and it’s showing in his numbers.
Overall, his job rating in our Nov. 22-24 Winning the Issues survey was 42 percent approve to 47 percent disapprove. His disapproval rating was slightly better than some polls, but it was still poor. On the issue of the economy, Biden was down 8 points, 41 percent approve to 49 percent disapprove. But that pales in comparison to his job rating on inflation — at an abysmal 36 percent to 52 percent approve/disapprove. On all three counts, he is not even close to having majority support for his current efforts.
This failure has implications for the coming elections. As Winston argues, “When presidents decide to ignore voters’ top priorities in favor of delivering their party base’s top priorities, they often pay the price in their first midterm election.”
In a recent survey for the S Corporation Association, The Winston Group asked voters, “Which is the more important priority for the country?”
Twenty-one percent picked passing Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Sixty-eight percent chose “dealing with inflation and scarcity of goods caused by supply chain problems.”
Independents were even more emphatic, favoring the second option 72 percent to 12 percent.
On what will likely be top issues in the midterm election, they are underwater on every key component of people’s No. 1 issue — the economy. Respondents to our survey said Republicans would do a better job than Democrats at handling the economy (46 percent to 39 percent), gas prices (47 percent to 35 percent), inflation (46 percent to 34 percent) and the supply chain (43 percent to 36 percent).
But amid surging inflation, labor shortages, and a supply chain challenges, the White House attributes President Biden’s slumping approval ratings to “poor communication” rather than misdirected policies. Winston has a different view:
Joe Biden was elected to do three things — win the war against COVID-19, bring the economy back and unify the country. He’s done none of them.
What this administration doesn’t seem to understand is that it is not enough for a policy to be popular, it has to be a priority. It’s not that child care or climate doesn’t matter. But if a working mom has difficulty paying for groceries to feed her child for the week and for gas to get her to day care, climate change policies that drive up energy and food prices simply don’t address her needs.
Outcomes matter. After declaring victory over the coronavirus in July, Biden has had to retreat, first with the delta variant and now with omicron, leaving the country wondering whether he understands how to defeat it. On top of that, the country is more divided than ever, and inflation and energy costs are through the roof and crushing the average family budget.
The political litmus test for successful policies isn’t whether they appeal to the base. The real question Biden and his party need to ask is, “Does what we’re proposing meet the most important needs of the majority of Americans?” If they don’t get the answer right, 2022 could be 2010 all over again.
You can read the entire op-ed here.