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It’s not the economy, stupid: Midterm election voters want next Congress to check President Trump

It’s not the economy, stupid: Midterm election voters want next Congress to check President Trump
06 Nov
7:13

MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images

The 2018 congressional elections are all about … President Donald Trump.

Americans are flocking to the voting booth on Tuesday mainly to send a message about Donald Trump.

Oh, sure, Americans hope the economy gets even better and they worry about health care and immigration. But they really, really want to make their feeling known about the current occupant of the White House.

A barrage of polls show that more Americans want to show their fury than to offer their blessing.

Gallup, the gold standard in polling, found that 34% of Americans are voting to show opposition to President Trump. That’s the highest level since 1998 when Gallup began regularly asking the question about sitting presidents during midterm elections.

Related: Don’t mention the T-word: What Democrats and Republicans campaigned on

A smaller 26% said they want to send a message of support for Trump.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, meanwhile, found that 41% of voters said their ballot choice would be a “message for more Democrats to check and balance Trump and congressional Republicans.”

How exactly would they check Trump? A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that as many as three-quarters of Democrats would favor impeachment hearings if the party won control of the House even though a majority of Americans remain against it.

Democrats would undoubtedly conduct more investigations of Trump and his senior aides, but polls also show that Americans don’t want them to overdo it.

Nonetheless, voters seem to want to handcuff Trump even though a majority give him high marks for his handling of the economy, the issue that usually determines the outcome of elections. “It’s the economy, stupid,” campaign manager James Carville famously said in 1992 in helping to engineer Bill Clinton’s presidential victory.

Read: Wages rise at fastest pace in nine years as U.S. adds 250,000 jobs in October

A recent Harvard-Harris poll said 47% of voters viewed Trump as most responsible for the economy. Just 21% cited former President Barack Obama, the next most popular choice.

Unfortunately for Trump and fellow Republicans, Americans don’t always reward the party seen as more responsible for a sound economy. Instead voters tend to pay the economy less heed when it’s doing well.

Just 74% of voters told Gallup it’s one of their most important issues — the smallest share since 2002 and down from as high of 94% in 2010.

Some polls show health care has overtaken the economy as the No. 1 issue, a switchover that has led Democrats to pound Republicans on the campaign trail.

Also Read: It ’s prime time for Americans 25 to 54 years old

Some 77% of voters told ABC News/Washington Post pollsters that health care was either the single most important issue or very important to them, just eking out the economy as their top priority.

Perhaps the most popular part of the controversial 2010 law commonly known as Obamacare is the one protecting health-care coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Nearly four in 10 Americans told Harvard-Harris was it was one of their most important issues.

Voters trust Democrats to better handle health care by wide margins over Republicans.

Critically, 20% of independent or swing voters cited health care as their single biggest issue, according to a USA Today/Suffolk poll. No other issue reached 10%.

Immigration is the third most important issue to voters, but Americans are narrowly divided on what ought to be done.

Republicans have focused on border security and stopping illegal immigration. Yet polls have consistently shown a majority of Americans oppose a border wall — Trump’s signature immigration proposal.

What’s more, a somewhat larger percentage of Americans say it’s more important to create a path for people in the country illegally to become citizens than it is to secure the border, a survey by Pew Research indicated.

What’s the likelihood anything getting done?

Trump and many congressional Republicans have said they support for maintaining the right of Americans with preexisting medical conditions to buy insurance. Beyond that they agree little with the priorities of Democrats.

Even if Democrats win control of the House, a likely Republican hold in the Senate would mean more gridlock in the final two years of Trump’s first term in office.

Voters can send a message, all right, but they won’t be able to force lawmakers in Washington to work with each other.


Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/its-not-the-economy-stupid-midterm-election-voters-want-next-congress-to-checkmate-president-trump-2018-11-06

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