Crime is on the rise in the nation’s major cities, and many Republicans seeking election to the Senate have put the issue at the forefront of their campaigns.
recently the survey indicates that voters believe Republicans are better equipped to handle the issue that now matters more to them than abortion, just weeks before the midterm elections in November.
According to the poll conducted for ABC News by Langer Research Associates in New York City, the economy (89%), education (77%) and inflation (76%) topped the issues voters consider “very important” as midterms go, but these issues were closely followed by crime at 69%, which topped abortion at 62%.
To better understand whether the GOP’s focus on crime rates in key midterm battleground states is taking a bite out of Senate Democrats’ midterm momentum in the polls, Fox News Digital reached out to political experts from both sides of the aisle to get their assessment.
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Corry Bliss, partner at FP1 Strategies, former executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network:
“Democrats are fielding woke candidates sporting Defund the Police T-shirts as voters see cities in critical swing states like Milwaukee and Cincinnati overtaken by violent crime. Any Democratic candidate who has dabbled in soft-on-crime policies such as eliminating the cash bail or play. Pleasing radical activists trying to divert money from law enforcement will have serious challenges as long as some voters feel unable to safely walk down the street in their neighborhood.”
Robert Cahaly, Senior Strategist and Surveyor, Trafalgar Group:
“I do not believe it [Democrats] have some mid-term momentum. I think the polls over the last three and a half weeks would show that they’re out of momentum and the GOP’s focus on crime is part of why they’re out of momentum.”
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Lis Smith, former senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign and author of Any Given Tuesday, A Political Love Story:
“There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Republicans running anti-crime campaigns. So any Democratic campaign worth its salt saw these attacks coming. That’s why smart candidates like Mark Kelly , Val Demings and Tim Ryan (among others) anticipated these attacks before they started. So I don’t think these attacks will have the same resonance as they did in 2020 when Democrats were on the defensive about defunding the police.”
Erin Perrine, vice president of Tag Strategies, former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz and former national press secretary for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy:
“Americans across the country have seen crime rates skyrocket and Republicans bashing Democrats in competitive races to be soft on crime is working. We’ve seen leadership tilt in recent Wisconsin polls in favor of Sen. Ron Johnson, who has ads bashing his opponent Mandela Barnes for his past support for defunding the police and freeing criminals from prison. That message resonates in Wisconsin, which saw some of the most violent riots in the 2020. The same can be said for the race in Pennsylvania, where the polls have tightened significantly after Dr. Oz and his allies bashed John Fetterman for being pro-criminal and wanting to release a third of the population from prison.” .
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Neil Newhouse, pollster and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies:
“Based on current polling over the past ten days or so, it appears that the Democratic momentum has stalled, with Biden’s numbers flat and the generic a dead heat. That spells trouble for his hopes of holding onto the House in November”.
“There’s no doubt that the GOP has an advantage on crime, as the Ds are still saddled with the ‘defund’ movement from two years ago. Both crime and immigration could play a major secondary role in the campaign, especially if the inflation issue begins to fade. Also, crime is a top concern among suburban women, a key constituency this fall.”
Hari Sevugan, former national press secretary of the Democratic National Committee and founding partner of Narrator Message and Media:
“Democrats are at their highest level of support since June in the latest average of 538 congressional votes. Democrats now have a lead of up to 5 points in this morning’s Reuters poll. A the latest Fox News poll, Democrats have gained ten points since May, and three points in the last month alone against Republicans.None of this is surprising as the cost of gas drops and the choice between Republicans who want a federal ban on abortion and an end to Medicare and Social Security as we know it, and Democrats who have passed the biggest job growth in 50 years, are put before voters.”
Kyle Kondik, editor-in-chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball:
“Republican messaging on crime appears to have played a role in Republican Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin appearing to improve their standing in recent weeks. The other thing is that Republicans are often comfortable talking about crime and they feel they have an advantage on that issue, unlike, say, abortion, where Democrats feel they have an advantage and Republicans don’t.”
Jesse Ferguson, Democratic strategist and former deputy national press secretary and chief spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign:
“These GOP seats in PA and WI were always going to come down to the wire. People were too down on the Democratic outlook here last spring and too bullish over the summer. The reality is that’s always been the trajectory once started the campaign and these will be thrown until election day.”
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Doug Usher, pollster and partner at Forbes Tate:
“I guess the question is where have the polls been and where are they going and all the signs have been a substantial improvement in some states for Democrats. That includes Pennsylvania and Arizona. There has been some sign of weakening for some Democrats in Georgia and New Mexico. I think overall Republican efforts to focus on inflation and crime make sense, but the real wild card here is how much the Dobbs decision affects turnout.”
“What we’ve seen in recent election cycles is that the polls, especially in swing states, have underrepresented or underrepresented Republicans, and particularly Republican enthusiasm and turnout for Trump. What we saw in Kansas to be an incredible and overwhelming turnout, not only among Democrats, but independents and Republicans who focused on abortion because that was the only issue on the ballot, so Republicans were moving away from that issue it’s important and we’re seeing mixed results in the polls.”
Rory Cooper, CEO of Purple Strategies:
“While it’s hard to pin down the exact causes of the movement in the polls, it’s in the GOP’s best interest to keep the focus on the Democrats’ track record on crime, education and inflation, three major factors that will swing votes. If this election they’re a referendum on Joe Biden and his party have a much better chance than if it were Donald Trump.”
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The comments provided to Fox News Digital in this article are part of a weekend series in which strategists from across the political spectrum are asked the same questions related to hot political issues and given the opportunity to to offer their perspective.