Five months into the Biden administration, the two political parties are far apart in what they believe are the key issues for Americans. Although both parties rate the economy and jobs as their top issues, they then diverge with Republicans citing immigration whereas Democrats rating inequality and discrimination as their next priorities. Note the differences shown in the table between the parties on those issues.
The challenge for Democrats in the 2022 election is that as the pandemic recedes and the economy revives, social issues tend to take up a strong position in the electorate’s issue space. The Republicans have been adept in recent years using social issues to animate their rank and file. Today, immigration and crime may be their most potent issues – both for their base, but also to rattle Democrats in swing districts. Democrats are most concerned about inequality, discrimination and the health system (public and private). Both issues that were important for their success in 2018, the last midterm elections.
Managing social issues between now and November 2022 will be essential to both parties’ strategies.