When you do not care who wins guess what the result is likely to become.
The focus and fervor on President Trump from Democrats is a known quality, but what is still surprising is to see that manifested in a measurable quantity. While sure, it is expected the candidates are going to be intensely focused on the man while campaigning, the voters meanwhile are certainly more interested in the issues, are they not? As it turns out, no — they are not.
Exit polls conducted Tuesday at the New Hampshire primary asked the voters what their primary focus was in making their selections for Democrat representation. When it comes to their pet issues, like healthcare, the environment, abortion, or any other policies, those all are secondary in relation to the President. Respondents answered that when factoring their decision on which candidate to vote for most said defeating President Trump was the primary motivator — 60% said that was their rationale.
This means that amazingly at a rate of close to 2-1 the priority for Democrat voters was defeating the President rather than a candidate who matches their value set. The internal metrics in the poll go far to explain why Pete Buttigieg performed so strongly last night. Of the respondents who said defeat was their priority, Mayor Pete led the field with 25%, and Joe Biden placed fourth in that strata, a sure sign of his dwindling chances.
The focus being placed on evicting the White House resident over the actual issues is a dangerous tactic, as it means you care not for pathways to victory, just the desire for an end result. ‘’I don’t like the other guy’’ is not a political strategy, yet this is what is the prevailing thought among Democrats, it was revealed. Going back the past 20 years, there has never been a higher degree of anger from the out-of-power party. GOP voters were angry at Obama at a 6/10 rate, and Dems had a similar ratio for Bush, but last night 80% of voters said they were angry over the Trump administration.
This level of outrage will be the inspiration for unfocused decision making.
Up to a week ago, Sanders was looked at as cruising to an easy victory in New Hampshire, but he managed a narrow win of just over 1% above Buttigieg. This is shown by a surprising detail deeper in the poll. Voters who identified as ‘’very liberal’’ — those likely to favor Sanders and his avowed socialist agenda — had dropped to 20% yesterday, down from the 26% seen in 2016.
More revealing may be the indicators that a groundswell of opposition is not brewing in the general electorate. If there was a belief among Democrats that Trump was so reviled he would inspire a wave of reactionary voting it has yet to manifest itself. First-time voters last night were found at about 12%, down sharply from 16% in 2016. Six out of ten voters, when asked if the impeachment would impact Trump’s reelection, said ‘’No’’. This echoes what was seen in Iowa last week, where the turnout for its caucuses was actually lower than in 2016.
What this all indicates is that while the removal of the President is considered the priority within the party, the candidates invoking his name are basically bleating to the already enraged choir. The insistence that President Trump is so horrible and needs to be removed is not translating to a groundswell of support. That has to be scaring the leadership with the Democrat leadership.