A poll shows the party is out of touch with black voters on the key issue.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, November 4, 2022
Lee Zeldin was always a longshot for Governor in Democratic New York. But one issue has given him a real chance: crime. A poll this week from the Pew Research Center underscores why it has become such an albatross for Democratic candidates this year.
The poll reports a healthy majority of registered voters (61%) saying violent crime is very important to their vote, about the same as energy policy (also 61%) but above abortion (56%), immigration (54%) and “issues around race and ethnicity” (34%). As you’d expect, Republican voters (73%) think crime is more of an issue than Democrats (49%) do.
The kicker is the huge racial disconnect in the Democratic Party. As Pew puts it, “Differences by race are especially pronounced among Democratic registered voters. While 82% of Black Democratic voters say violent crime is very important to their vote this year, only a third of White Democratic voters say the same.”
That’s not surprising when you consider that black Americans are disproportionately the victims of the soft-on-crime approach favored by Democratic politicians and prosectors in crime-ridden big cities. It doesn’t help when the White House tries to pretend that Republicans are the ones trying to defund the police, or when New York Gov. Kathy Hochul argues that claims of rising crime are a “conspiracy” cooked up by Republican “master manipulators” or “data deniers.” She looks hopelessly out of touch.
Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg is having none of it. In an article Thursday for the American Prospect, he says that the Democratic Party has lost sight of “the priorities and needs of working-class African American, Hispanic, and Asian American voters,” not least on crime. At this point in the election campaign, he says, his best advice to fellow Democrats is to “speak as little as possible or mumble” or “move as quickly as possible to change the subject.” At least that would be an improvement over defunding the police.