Just 35 percent of Americans trusted Democrats more on economic issues, according to recent private polling presented to the White House in mid-September.
The data revealed concerns over the public’s negative outlook despite expressing support for President Biden’s policy agenda. Even when informed about positive economic indicators, such as easing inflation and low unemployment rates, 7 out of 10 respondents surveyed still believed the economy wasn’t improving.
This information was conveyed by progressive groups, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Data for Progress, as they briefed White House officials, Democratic congressional leaders, and party operatives in September and October.
The meetings, which have not been previously reported, shed light on the White House’s awareness that its economic message was not resonating with the public, despite dismissing such concerns as overblown.
Democrats have been worried about Biden’s low economic approval ratings and have even suggested abandoning the “Bidenomics” branding used to describe his economic agenda.
Biden’s advisers are confident that their strategy will lead to long-term success. However, the discussions around private polling indicate potential adjustments to the administration’s argument in the coming months.
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, emphasized the need for a pivot in messaging that acknowledges the pain felt by voters and optimizes opportunities to criticize former President Trump. The White House sees the polling as confirmation that Biden’s economic agenda is popular but recognizes the challenge of convincing voters to credit him for it.
They aim to enhance awareness that it is the president who has brought positive changes to people’s lives.
Although Biden’s aides remain optimistic about closing the gap in voters’ perception of the economy by contrasting Biden’s approach with Republicans, there is little evidence of an improving outlook on the economy among Americans.
Voters continue to blame the administration for rising expenses despite inflation moderating. The White House spokesperson acknowledged the ongoing work to demonstrate Biden’s accomplishments to those who remain unaware of them.
Bidenomics faced skepticism among voters, who expressed support for its core components but lamented the lack of information from the president on those policies. The administration’s struggle to differentiate itself from Republicans on major issues was identified as a barrier to gaining voters’ attention.
Suggestions were made to engage in more partisan debates and propose policies that could attract wider support while forcing the GOP into difficult positions.
The progressive groups stressed the need for the White House to refine its messaging and clearly define what Bidenomics is and what it is not.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by the public and emphasizing that Republicans are unlikely to provide solutions were identified as effective strategies. By de-wonkifying the message and making it less intimidating, Biden can better connect with voters and gain ground on the economic front.