The Center for Excellence in Polling (CEP) recently surveyed likely voters on current issues facing the country, asking the same questions as our December 2021 tracking poll.
In the most recent survey, results indicate that voters of all parties are open to reforms in welfare and election integrity. Additionally, Republicans and Democrats are presently firm in their commitments to vote for their respective parties come 2024, while Independents show waning support for the president and growing uncertainty for which candidate they’ll support come Election Day.
Voters still don't like welfare expansion
At the time of the last tracking poll, the federal unemployment bonus had only been expired for a few months. That bonus has now been expired for half a year, but other pandemic-era benefits are still in play or have been extended while the worker shortage continues.
A majority of voters still do not think there is a general need to expand welfare programs in the United States (52%). This is comparable to late last year among all likely voters. But notably, the percentage of Independents who think there is no need to expand welfare jumped by 10 points (61%).
Nearly three-quarters of all likely voters think there is significant or moderate fraud and abuse in welfare programs (72%). This includes most Democrats (59%) and a significant majority of Independents (76%). Interestingly, more Democrats now say there is moderate fraud and abuse occurring in welfare programs (39%), a near-20-point shift compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
Trust in elections has increased, but voters are still open to reform
In the last year, states have made great strides in passing reforms that bring security and transparency to the election process, and it’s paying off as results from this poll show voter confidence in elections is generally increasing.
- Compared to late 2021, more Republicans (27%) and more Democrats (61%) now say they completely trust the election process in their states.
- The percentage of Republicans and Democrats that say they do not trust the election process in their states has also decreased, compared to late 2021, by six and four points, respectively.
State lawmakers concerned about election integrity should be encouraged to find that support for states passing new laws to increase transparency and security in elections is still high among all likely voters (58%). This is especially the case among Independents—they are now expressing more distrust, which could explain why their support for new election reforms jumped six points to 55 percent, and 40 percent of likely Democrats now support such reforms. Election reform is not the partisan issue that has been played out in the media.
Independent voters are increasingly unsure about 2024 primaries
As the economy wanes, approval of Congress wanes with it.
- Approval for the job the U.S. House of Representatives is doing has dropped to slightly more than one-quarter (28%).
- There is greater disapproval for the U.S. Senate, whose approval is now at 19 percent, down six points from late 2021.
Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of Republican and Democrat voters plan to vote in their own party’s presidential primary in 2024.
However, Independent voters are still in play and even more so than several months ago. At the end of 2021, just 30 percent of Independent voters said they were unsure which candidate they would vote for. Now, Independent support for both the Republican and Democrat primaries has dropped roughly ten points each, with more than half of Independents now saying they are unsure (51%).
President Biden's approval struggles among independents
Nearly half of all likely voters disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president (48%), and this survey showed that party lines are still firmly drawn between Republicans and Democrats. Even more Republicans now disapprove (87%) while more Democrats approve (89%) of President Biden than just a few months ago.
Yet Independents remain as the wild card. Support among this bloc for President Biden has dropped several points since December. Now, a growing majority of Independents disapprove of the president (57%).
Lawmakers still have ample opportunity to achieve reform in welfare and election integrity. Voters recognize the existence of fraud in welfare programs and display openness to an improvement in security and transparency in elections.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are firm in their positions on the right and left, respectively—and at this point, they plan to stay that way in the coming elections. But Independents are the key demographic to keep an eye on, as they are increasingly unsure of who they’ll support in coming elections as their support for the current administration is trending downward.