Third Way Statement on the Election Results in Virginia

Third Way Statement on the Election Results in Virginia

Third Way’s Bennett: “Democrats must heed the warning out of Virginia: stasis and schools could take down our majorities unless we change course.”

WASHINGTON — Third Way EVP Matt Bennett issued the following statement on the outcome in Virginia:

“Terry McAuliffe’s defeat is terrible news for the people of the Commonwealth. But it’s also a warning for the broader Democratic Party. McAuliffe’s loss can be attributed mainly to two things: stasis and schools. Unless we change course, these two issues could take down our majorities in the midterms.

“On stasis, the inability of Democrats – so far, at least – to deliver on the promises Joe Biden made last year is an unforced error. The months of in-fighting and sausage-making must come to an end. We must pass these two historic bills and then explain what they will do to create jobs, cut taxes, and help working families afford the essentials. As our latest public opinion research shows [see below], voters don’t know what’s in the bills, and what they think they know, they mostly don’t like.

“In addition to the inertia problem, parents of school-age kids (who were breaking sharply against Democrats in pre-election polling) were clearly worried about losing control over what their kids are experiencing in schools, from COVID protocols to books in the library to debates over equity and race. Together, they seemed to create a stew of anxiety that Virginia schools were somehow hostile to parents.

“Republicans are intent on using the lessons they learned in Virginia, including the power of cynical distortion and outright lying about cultural and race issues, to try to take back Congress next year. The dangers of the anti-democratic, Trumpified GOP taking control are enormous. Democrats must show that they are the mainstream party of the Joe Biden who won the primary and the general election. That’s the only way back.”

Below is more on our recent research:

We partnered with ALG Research to understand voters' perceptions of Build Back Better. Our results showed that:

  • Voters do not believe they will receive a tax cut from BBB. Just 13% of base and swing voters believe BBB will lower their taxes, even after hearing a description of the bill that includes working- and middle-class tax cuts.
  • Swing voters worry the bill will be full of giveaways and keep people from returning to work. When asked what they “dislike” in a fully described BBB, 60% of swing voters reference too many “handouts.”
  • Swing voters also believe the bill will increase the deficit. More than 60% of swing voters erroneously think that the bill will increase the deficit, despite hearing that it will be paid for by taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Please reach out to Imani Webb, Third Way's Press Advisor at [email protected] if you are interested in speaking with Matt Bennett, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs at Third Way, or if you have any questions about the research.


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Imani Webb
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