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Could the GOP “Screw Up a Sure Thing?”

Could the GOP “Screw Up a Sure Thing?”

Ahead of the midterms in November: Americans are on edge with inflation raging, gun violence surging and a string of major Supreme Court decisions setting a new policy agenda. So which party has the edge? 

What our partisans are saying: 

  • On the left, FGS Global Managing Director Colleen Bell (D):“Democrats could win in November by focusing on issues that are top of mind for voters: the economy, gas prices, choice issues and staving off going into a recession before the elections. Republicans could do well in the election by focusing on the failures of the Biden Administration on a whole host of fronts. Because Democrats control two of the three branches of power, any voter dissatisfaction can be pinned on their governance.”

  • On the right, FGS Global Managing Director Gina Foote (R): “It’s not complicated: The president's approval rating is low, most of the country is unsatisfied with the way things are going, and it's a midterm election. If history is our guide, November 8 should be a very good night for Republicans. But never underestimate the ability of a political party to screw up a sure thing.”

The nitty-gritty:

  • 77% of Americans say things in the U.S. are on the wrong track (+23 from January 2021). Republicans only need to gain one seat in the Senate and eight in the House to control Congress.

  • The generic ballot favors Republicans by a small margin. Republicans enjoy big advantages in lean/likely and toss up races, and Democrats are retiring in higher numbers (31 to 18), though most are in safe seats.

  • The midterms are certain to impact abortion access, but it’s unclear how abortion access will impact the midterms. All eyes will be on the crucial voting bloc of suburban moms—and whether Gen Z comes out for or against a Democratic Party they don’t feel has made progress on the issues they care about.

  • The economy is driving the conversation with Republicans and Independents, but climate change, health care and civil rights top the list for Democrats.

  • A majority of voters disapprove of Biden’s performance on issues that cause the most voter anxiety: immigration, guns, abortion and jobs and the economy. 

By the Numbers

Corporate Pressure on Abortion Rights

We’re continuing to track how corporations are responding to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. 

What we’re seeing:

  • New corporate announcements of travel benefits have largely trailed off. But announcements from Walmart and other large companies that have pledged to consider the issue could be coming soon.

  • There’s been growing interest in how companies plan to execute their travel benefits, particularly in terms of employee privacy. Starbucks plans to rely on third party point people so employees don’t have to discuss personal medical needs with managers. Yelpwill administer benefits through insurance providers so employee claims and reimbursement details are never shared with employers.

  • Tech and payment companies face growing pressure to address consumer data privacy, but they have remained largely silent. Google, however, has announced it will delete location data from users visiting ”personal places” like abortion-care clinics, weight loss centers and domestic violence shelters. Some responses urge Google to go further and delete all search and location data from users.

  • Companies that have announced abortion travel benefits have faced some scrutiny around political giving to politicians who support abortion restrictions. Very few have responded to critics, but there are some exceptions. After Popular Information called out Match Group for donating $137,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA)—which helped overturn Roe—it announced it would no longer donate to the organization. 

  • Over 600 companies have signed on to the Don’t Ban Equality statement, including Dove, H&M US, Levi Strauss, Lyft, Lululemon, Nordstrom, Patagonia and Yelp.

  • Most consumers stand with companies that stand up for abortion rights. Since our survey of politically-engaged Americans in May after the Dobbs draft decision leaked, respondents have become more likely to do business with companies who speak out against abortion bans. They are less likely than before to do business with companies that stay quiet. 

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Inflation, inflation, inflation. It’s top of mind for business influencers, shows FGS Global’s quarterly survey measuring and tracking attitudes toward major public policy issues. 

We surveyed 

  • 400 employees of for-profit companies with at least 1,000 employees

  • 400 business decision-makers who make hiring, purchasing or financial investment decisions 

  • and 400 investors with $100,000 or more in securities investments who follow business and financial market news closely.

Here’s what we found:

Inflation remains the top priority among corporate influencers.

  • Among employees and business decision-makers, inflation now ranks first among government priorities, up from second and third respectively in the previous quarter.

  • A majority of influencers feel the Biden Administration is not doing enough to combat inflation.

Corporations are expected to take action in response to the war in Ukraine, but inflation worries are more acute than geopolitical concerns.

  • Influencers, particularly investors, want corporate action in response to the war.

  • Containing Russian aggression ranks low on the list of priorities. There is more anxiety about the potential economic impacts of the war than about the war itself.

Actions on Ukraine are more important than words. Desired corporate responses to Russian invasion of Ukraine include: 

  • Stop purchasing products and services from Russia (73%)

  • Stop operating within Russia’s borders (72%)

  • Stop selling products and services to Russia (72%)

  • Provide material support to Ukraine and its people (70%)

  • Divest Russian assets (66%)

And 61% of influencers say sanctions on Russia have affected US companies.

July 12, 2022
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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