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Will The Debate Over $2,000 Stimulus Checks Help Democrats In Georgia?


#Congressional #Democrats are pushing to give most #Americans $2,000 stimulus checks, arguing that this is a fast and direct way to help millions of #Americans as they struggle with the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. #President #Trump supports $2,000 payments, too, but most congressional #Republicans don’t. #Because of that congressional GOP opposition, the $2,000 checks aren’t likely to become law. #But #Democrats think they have a winning issue electorally ahead of next week’s U.S. #Senate runoffs in #Georgia.

#Why many pollsters are sitting out the #Georgia runoffs

#Public opinion does appear to be on #Democrats’ side. #Seventy-eight percent of #Americans said they supported these $2,000 stimulus checks, compared to 17 percent who opposed them, according to a poll conducted #Dec. 22-28 by the left-leaning #Data for #Progress. #Similarly, a survey conducted by #Business #Insider and #Survey #Monkey on #Dec. 21 found that 62 percent of #Americans said that the $600 stimulus checks adopted in a recent bill is not enough; 76 percent said the payments should be more than $1,000.

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[Why A Split Verdict In Georgia Isn’t That Crazy]

#So #Democrats are pushing the issue hard. #Georgia #Senate candidates #Jon #Ossoff and #Raphael #Warnock have strongly embraced the $2,000 payment plan. Their #Republican opponents, #Sens. #Kelly #Loeffler and #David #Perdue, are also suggesting that they support the payments. #But #Senate #Majority #Leader #Mitch #McConnell is creating procedural roadblocks to stop the $2,000 payments from passing the #Senate, giving #Ossoff and #Warnock the opportunity to suggest that #Loeffler and #Perdue are impediments to the payments, since they back #McConnell continuing as majority leader.

#So this all seems good for the #Democrats, right? #Well, maybe. #Democrats are pushing a popular idea right before what look like very-close elections, and the #Republican #Party is blocking it. The issue could well help #Warnock and #Ossoff in #Georgia next week. #But we shouldn’t be so sure, for a few reasons …

#First, it’s not clear that voters care that much about policy when deciding who to vote for.

The most reliable predictor of how #Americans will vote is partisanship: #Republican-leaning voters back #Republican candidates, and #Democratic-leaning voters back #Democratic candidates. #Those partisan labels and identities, of course, contain ideological and policy overtones: The #Republican #Party, rhetorically at least, is warier of big, broad-based spending programs than the #Democratic #Party. #But those overtones don’t seem to drive vote choice. There are plenty of examples of a party pushing unpopular ideas without its voters switching to the other party. #For instance, the GOP agenda in 2017 and 2018, trying to repeal #Obamacare and cut taxes for corporations, was fairly unpopular with #Republican voters, but those voters still overwhelmingly backed GOP candidates in the 2018 midterms.

The #Data for #Progress polling suggests that 73 percent of #Republicans nationally support the $2,000 payments, including 52 percent who strongly support them. #Based on those numbers, it’s almost certainly the case that a majority of #Republicans in #Georgia support the payments. #Indeed, a DFP poll of #Georgia likely voters conducted #Nov. 15-20 found that 63 percent of voters in the state said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who favored a $1,200 payment to most #Americans as part of a COVID-19 relief package. #That 63 percent number also suggests these payments are broadly popular and getting some backing from rank-and-file GOP voters.

#But it’s very unlikely that many #Republicans will back the #Democratic candidates in #Georgia because of this issue. #Yes, both elections appear to be close, so even a small shift in voting preferences matters. #But in such a close election, if either #Ossoff and #Warnock narrowly win, I would be hesitant to ascribe that victory to #Democrats’ support of this stimulus payment and #McConnell’s opposition, as opposed to factors like #Democrats’ strong get-out-the-vote operations in the state, the weaknesses of #Loeffler and #Perdue as candidates and the growing liberalism of #Georgia.

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[Related: Why Georgia Isn’t Like The Other Battleground States]

#What about swing voters/independents and other people who aren’t necessarily tied to one of the two parties? #Well, the evidence suggests that these kinds of voters don’t necessarily have well-defined policy preferences and also don’t pay that much attention to politics. #So perhaps this stimulus debate convinces them that #Republicans in #Washington need to be dethroned. #Alternatively, perhaps these voters aren’t as tuned into this stimulus debate as much as, say, #Loeffler’s ads casting #Warnock as a radical or #Warnock’s ads portraying himself as a nice dog owner.

#Second, voters may like #Democratic economic ideas more than #Democrats themselves.

#Over the last several years, ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage and to expand #Medicaid have passed in conservative-leaning states where GOP state legislators and governors had blocked similar policies. #But #Republicans are still winning elections in these areas. #This happened in #Florida this year. A proposal to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026 passed in the #Sunshine #State, with 61 percent of voters embracing it. #But #Joe #Biden, who strongly supports a $15 minimum wage, won only 48 percent of the vote in #Florida, compared to 51 percent for #Trump, who has been more circumspect about minimum wage increases.

These voting patterns are another illustration that partisanship overrides — or is simply independent from — voters’ policy preferences, but there are other potential reasons for this disconnect. #Voters may support certain economically populist ideas but may be wary of too much economic populism if they elect a #Democratic candidate. #Some voters may support #Democrats’ economic populism but not back the party because it is too progressive on issues like abortion rights or policing. #For example, in the 2016 election, #Lee #Drutman, a scholar at #New #America and a #FiveThirtyEight contributor, found that voters who lean conservative on issues like immigration but who lean left on economic issues were more likely to back #Trump than #Hillary #Clinton. #And lastly, many voters are simply not attuned to which party or candidate favors which policies.

#When you bring this to #Georgia, you could easily imagine some swing voters who support $2,000 payments to #Americans but are even more supportive of backing the GOP #Senate candidates and ensuring that #Democrats in #Washington don’t have control of the #White #House and both chambers of #Congress.

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#Finally, #Trump has scrambled the politics on stimulus checks.

#You could also imagine some voters are just confused about this issue. #If #Trump strongly supports the $2,000 checks and #Loeffler and #Perdue are indicating support for them, too, it might not be totally clear to voters that the broader #Republican #Party still opposes the payments and is the roadblock to them being approved. #Particularly in this lame-duck period for #Trump, #McConnell is the most important #Republican in #Washington in terms of policy. #But #Trump remains the defining figure for the party to most voters and in an electoral context. #If #Trump is declaring he supports the $2,000 payments, voters in #Georgia might conclude that #Republicans more broadly support them, even as #McConnell is blocking the payments and #Loeffler and #Perdue are effectively helping him do so, as is the case here.

[What The Early Vote In Georgia Can — And Can’t — Tell Us]

#All that said, this debate about the direct payments coinciding with the #Georgia election has shown how electoral politics and governance intersect in interesting ways. #While it is not clear if the debate over the stimulus payments will affect the election results, it is clear that the upcoming election has affected the stimulus debate. #Republicans were reportedly worried about opposing direct payments on the eve of the #Georgia race, helping ensure that $600 for most #Americans was put into the COVID-19 economic stimulus that #Trump signed into law on #Sunday. #Republicans are now worried about a potential electoral backlash in #Georgia from opposing the $2,000 payments. #Those electoral concerns have resulted in #Loeffler and #Perdue, who usually take more conservative stands, breaking with #McConnell and other #Republicans to publicly support the payments. (#Of course, #Loeffler and #Perdue are likely to go along with #McConnell’s strategies to make sure the $2,000 payments don’t become law.)

#So #Democrats may have figured out how to get more populist policies adopted: #Push them around election time. #But even if #Ossoff and #Warnock win next week, the evidence that popular economic policies are automatically electoral boosts for #Democrats will be somewhat weak.

#What the COVID-19 vaccine means for political battles to come





[ source link ]
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/will-the-debate-over-2000-stimulus-checks-help-democrats-in-georgia/

##Debate ##Stimulus ##Checks ##Democrats ##Georgia

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