Last week Impact Research founder and White House pollster John Anzalone joined conservative pollster Tony Fabrizio for a Harvard University Institute of Politics forum moderated by Gerald Seib, Executive Washington Editor for the Wall Street Journal. The discussion centered around the current outlook and strategies for the 2022 midterms, a topic Anzalone and Fabrizio researched as part of their joint Wall Street Journal media poll.
When asked about the challenges facing Democrats this cycle, Anzalone spoke about his expectation that the tides will turn later this year. “Will this summer—where COVID has been mitigated, maybe we get a little break in inflation, people feel a little bit more normal—feel like 2020’s June and July, when people were up? That would give the President a little boost.” John’s prognosis tells us that the Democrats might have a better election year than naysayers have previously reported.
What about the Republicans during this climate? Are they weathering the storm any better? Anzalone says, “When it rains, you get wet, and the Democrats are in control. Things have turned sour, I get that. But guess what: the perception of the Republican Party is underwater just as bad as the Democratic Party… The fact is that people are defaulting to Republicans because they’re defaulting, not because Republicans are held in high esteem or have an agenda.”
The strategy for moving forward revolves around reminding the public about what the Democrats have accomplished and what more the party can offer the American people. “Getting things done is important. There’s been this long process of watching the sausage be made, and it doesn’t do anyone any favors.” For Anzalone, the best example of how to shift the conversation comes from the Commander-in-Chief. Speaking on today’s State of the Union Address, John pointed out the President’s strengths: “Biden is very good at seeing the moment and meeting people where they are. He is empathetic; that’s his personality. You’re going to see him talk more about what the problems are and what his plans are to solve them.”
There’s so much more to this conversation, which can be viewed on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics YouTube channel. Don’t miss Anzalone and Fabrizio’s previous panels with David Axelrod’s Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.