Congress Democrats are pushing to give most Americans $ 2,000 stimulus checks, arguing this is a quick and direct way to help millions of Americans as they cope with the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic Fight cooling off. President Trump also supports payments of $ 2,000, but most Republicans in Congress don’t. Because of this GOP opposition in Congress, the $ 2,000 check is unlikely to become law. But Democrats believe they have an election problem ahead of Georgia’s Senate runoff next week.
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Public opinion seems to be on the side of the Democrats. 78 percent of Americans said they support these $ 2,000 stimulus checks, compared with 17 percent who opposed it. This is the result of a poll conducted December 22-28 by the left-wing Data for Progress. Similarly, a December 21 survey by Business Insider and Survey Monkey found that 62 percent of Americans said the $ 600 stimulus checks passed in a recently passed bill were insufficient. 76 percent said payments should be more than $ 1,000.
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So the Democrats are pushing the issue hard. Georgia Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock strongly embraced the $ 2,000 payment plan. Your Republican opponents, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, also suggest supporting the payments. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is creating procedural barriers to keep the $ 2,000 payments from passing through the Senate, and giving Ossoff and Warnock a chance to point out that Loeffler and Perdue are barriers to the payments as they are McConnell continued to support as the majority leader.
So all of this seems to be good for the Democrats, right? Maybe. Democrats are pushing a popular idea right before the very near elections, and the Republican Party is blocking it. The problem could help Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia next week. But we shouldn’t be so sure for some reasons …
First, it’s not clear that when it comes to deciding who to vote for, voters care so much about politics.
The most reliable predictor of how Americans will vote is bias: Republican voters support Republican candidates, and Democratic voters support Democratic candidates. These party-political labels and identities naturally contain ideological and political undertones: the Republican Party is more cautious than the Democratic Party, at least rhetorically, on large, broad-based spending programs. But these overtones don’t seem to affect the choice of voices. There are many examples of one party promoting unpopular ideas without their voters switching to the other party. For example, the 2017 and 2018 GOP agenda of attempting to overturn Obamacare and cut taxes on corporations was quite unpopular with Republican voters, but those voters still largely supported the GOP candidates as of 2018 .
The Data for Progress survey shows that 73 percent of Republicans support the $ 2,000 payments nationally, including 52 percent who strongly support them. Given these numbers, it is almost certain that a majority of Republicans in Georgia will support the payments. A DFP poll of Georgian voters, conducted November 15-20, found that 63 percent of voters in the state said they were more likely to support a candidate who advocated paying $ 1,200 to most Americans as part of a COVID-19 relief package . That 63 percent figure also suggests these payments are universally popular and supported by simple GOP voters.
However, it is very unlikely that many Republicans would support the Democratic candidates in Georgia because of this issue. Yes, both elections appear to be tight, so a slight shift in voting preferences is also important. But if, in such a close election, either Ossoff and Warnock win narrowly, I would hesitate to attribute that victory to Democratic support for this stimulus payment and McConnell’s opposition, as opposed to factors like the strong vote of Democratic operations in the state, Loeffler’s weaknesses and Perdue as candidates and Georgia’s growing liberalism.
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What about swing voters / independents and other people who are not necessarily tied to either party? Well, the evidence suggests that these types of voters don’t necessarily have well-defined political preferences, nor do they pay as much attention to politics. Perhaps this stimulus debate will convince them that the Republicans in Washington must be dethroned. Alternatively, these voters may not be as attuned to this stimulus debate as Loeffler’s ads portraying Warnock as radical or Warnock’s ads portraying himself as a nice dog owner.
Second, voters may like democratic economic ideas more than democrats themselves.
In recent years, electoral initiatives to raise the minimum wage and expand Medicaid have been passed in conservative states where GOP lawmakers and governors have blocked similar measures. But Republicans still win elections in these areas. It happened in Florida that year. A proposal to gradually increase the minimum wage to USD 15 an hour by 2026 was passed in the Sunshine State, with 61 percent of voters approving it. But Joe Biden, who strongly supports a minimum wage of $ 15, won just 48 percent of the vote in Florida, compared with 51 percent for Trump, who was more prudent about minimum wage increases.
These voting patterns are another example of partiality overriding or simply being independent of voters’ political preferences. However, there are other possible reasons for this separation as well. Voters may support certain economically populist ideas, but be wary of excessive economic populism when choosing a democratic candidate. Some voters may support Democratic economic populism but not support the party because it is too progressive on issues like abortion rights or policing. For example, Lee Drutman, a New America scholar and a FiveThirtyEight employee, found in the 2016 election that voters who lean conservatively on issues like immigration but lean to the left on economic issues are more likely to support Trump than Hillary Clinton. Finally, many voters are simply not ready for which party or candidate prefers which policy.
If you bring this to Georgia, you can easily envision some swing voters backing $ 2,000 payments to Americans, but even more backing GOP Senate support and making sure the Democrats in Washington aren’t in control of that The White House and both Chambers of have Congress.
After all, Trump messed up policy regarding stimulus checks.
You can also imagine that some voters are just confused about this issue. If Trump strongly supports the $ 2,000 checks, and Loeffler and Perdue are also showing support for them, it may not be entirely clear to voters that the broader Republican Party is still rejecting the payments and is the obstacle to their approval. Especially in this lame time for Trump, McConnell is the politically most important Republican in Washington. But Trump remains the defining figure for the party for most voters and in an electoral context. If Trump declares he is backing the $ 2,000 payments, Georgia voters might conclude that even with McConnell blocking the payments and Loeffler and Perdue effectively helping him out, Republicans might be more supportive, like this is the case here.
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All in all, this debate on direct payments coinciding with the elections in Georgia has shown how electoral policy and governance intersect in interesting ways. While it’s not clear whether the stimulus payments debate will affect the election results, it is clear that the upcoming elections have influenced the stimulus debate. Republicans were reportedly concerned about cracking down on direct payments on the eve of the Georgia race to ensure that $ 600 for most Americans goes into the COVID-19 economic boost that Trump put into law on Sunday. Republicans are now concerned about a possible electoral reaction in Georgia because of opposition to the $ 2,000 payment. These election concerns have led Loeffler and Perdue, who usually take more conservative positions, to break with McConnell and other Republicans to publicly support the payments. (Of course, Loeffler and Perdue will likely follow McConnell’s strategies to ensure the $ 2,000 payments don’t become law.)
Democrats may have figured out how to achieve more populist politics: postpone it around election time. But even if Ossoff and Warnock win next week, the evidence that popular economic policies are automatically electoral spurts for Democrats will be somewhat weak.