We ran a poll (PredictWise20180328), on March 27 with 1,000 likely American voters (methods), where we asked policy questions in four different topics: healthcare, taxes, gun control, and immigration. We did focus on detailed policy questions stripped (as much as we can) of partisan cues (e.g., Do you support a universal national registry of all guns and gun owners? rather than: Do you support the Democratic policy on gun control?). We did not poll moderate elite positions (e.g., slight tweaks to Obamacare), but more strident positions favored by the Democratic base (e.g., option for anyone to buy Medicare). We see overwhelming support for the option to buy Medicare (78 percent total with 74 percent of Republicans). We see overwhelming support for universal national registration for guns and gun ownership (67 percent total with 63 percent of Republicans), with majority, but tighter, support for limits on magazine size. We see strong support for raising taxes on wealthy (54 percent want to raise v. 16 percent lower) and corporations (53 percent want to raise v. 20 percent lower) . Finally, we see overwhelming support for giving Dreamers a path to citizenship (53 percent path to citizenship, 29 percent allowed to stay and work, and just 12 percent deported), but plurality support for limiting the among of legal immigration to the US (44 percent for decrease, 33 percent status quo, and 13 percent for increase).
The Democratic party has a message failure: their policies are really popular, when described and stripped of partisan cues, but the population does not back whatever it is they think is the Democratic policy. Conversely, the Republican party has a message triumph: their policies are shockingly/comically unpopular, when described and stripped of partisan cues, but the population is OK with whatever it is they think is the Republican policies.
Despite strong support for strident Democratic policy positions, Democrats only win head-to-head question, “Which party’s [topic] plan do you support more?”, on healthcare. Many people will always answer their party to this type of question. It is generic and filled partisan cues. But, it is still an amazing disconnect.
Healthcare is the only of the four major topics where people embrace whatever it is they perceive the Democratic policy to be. While the head-to-head lead is modest, it is encouraging that independents (most of whom are latent party loyalists to one of the major parties) break Democratic by 8 percentage point.
Taxes should be a wake-up call to whomever does messaging for the Democratic party: 43 percent of Republicans want higher taxes on corporation despite their landmark legislation for the Trump administration was slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. Yet, Republicans support their tax plan over the whatever they think the Democrat’s plan is. Further, independents are divided. If we polled on the Trump tax plan v. the Democratic tax plan, maybe the Democrats would have done slightly better, but they should be dominating. Yet, Republicans have convinced many people that the Democrats want to raise THEIR taxes (probably false) and Democrats have done nothing to create a true narrative.
Guns have the same disconnect as taxes; here the Democrats have taken baby steps to defining their position, but it is not a strong one. And, clearly not enough to excite the Democratic base or avoid the smears of the Republican message machine, which is trying to tell everyone that Democrats want to ban guns (false).
Immigration make sense, as people are actually split on the actual policy.