The 2024 elections in the U.S. will be brand elections. Up and down the ballot. The two brands are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Due to the polarity of the country right now, people will vote for the brand to which they feel an affinity. Who the candidates are is always important, but in 2024 people will vote for the party first, whether there is an R or a D after the name.
So, let's take a look at what the party brands seem to be today, based upon actions and messaging.
The Republican Brand
Against limiting gun ownership
Anti-immigrant [at least non-white]
Questionable on social safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and child care
Against taxing the wealthy
Climate change is a "hoax"
The Democratic Brand
For a woman's right to choose
For stricter gun laws
Fully support social net programs such as Social Security, Medicare and child care
Want to tax the very wealthy and billionaires
Climate change is real and must be faced
Now, let's take a look at what the polls say about American citizens and voters.
Pro and Anti Democracy
A year ago, almost two-thirds of Americans thought that U.S. democracy was "in crisis and at risk of failing."
In a more recent, more demographically targeted poll, the same 64% of 18-29 adults thought that they have more fear than hope about the future of American democracy.
Pro and Anti-Abortion
Gallup Poll History of Abortion positions
This is interesting for several reasons. Historically those who believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances have always been at or above 50%, while those who think abortion should be illegal under any circumstances have been at a high in the low 20s to now the low teens. When "legal only under certain circumstances," which has moved from the low 20s to the now high 30s, is added to the "always legal" group it sums to 85%. If you put this same group with the "illegal under any circumstances" it is still less than "legal under any circumstances," 50% to 48%.
This shows a clear demarcation between the two brands.
Finally, a 2023 poll by Quinnipiac shows that 61% of American voters support stricter gun controls, the highest ever recorded. This poll also shows that 97% of those polled think there should be universal background checks and 97% of gun owners think this way. This poll also shows that 67% are for banning assault-style weapons and 29% against.
A February 2023 poll about immigration shows that only 28% of people polled are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the current immigration policy. Obviously, that means that 72% are not satisfied. This same poll showed that 40% of U.S. adults want immigration to decrease with only 8% wanting to increase.
Social Net Programs
This is one issue that has a vast majority of Americans for something.
76% of all adults favor Social Security
83% of Democrats favor
72% of Independents favor
74% of Republicans favor
What is interesting is the percentages of these groups when asked whether Social Security should have increased spending.
57% of adult Americans favor increasing Social Security funding
66% of Democrats favor
53% of Independents favor
54% of Republicans favor
This issue shows a clear demarcation between what Republicans in Washington equivocate on and what even their own party, let alone the key group of Independents favor.
70% of Americans favor Medicare
81% of Democrats favor
64% of Republicans favor
56% of Democrats would favor increasing funding
29% of Republicans favor increasing funding
Taxing the wealthy
This poll asked if "the very rich should be allowed to keep the money they have, even if that means increasing inequality." 54% of respondents disagreed.
This same poll found that 64% of respondents "strongly or somewhat agreed that the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs"--the essence of a wealth tax. This compares to 77% of Democrats and, interestingly 53% of Republicans who agreed. This is an interesting data point as the majority of Republicans are in disagreement with the Washington D.C. Republicans.
There is great party clarity on this issue. The advantage is clearly for the Democratic brand as the average for all U.S. adults is more than twice the Republicans.
Of the seven categories listed at the top of the column, the Democrats are in alignment with the general public on six of them. Only Immigration seems to tilt to the Republicans.
Conclusion: Brand Democratic is much more in line with adult Americans relative to the issues.
Now let's take a look at some of the candidates for the presidency and where they stand relative to these issues.
Of the three frontrunners, only Biden aligns with the majority positions of Americans on all issues except immigration. The plethora of Republican candidates entering the race for president have yet to fully position themselves on all seven issues. So far, they seem to align with the positions for Republicans stated at the top.
What if none of the three frontrunners get nominated, for whatever reasons? This would mean that there would be a lot of candidates in both parties with much lower name recognition. Through the course of primary season in 2024 all candidates would work to establish name recognition and to break out of the pack. This is where brand will be important as a lesser known candidate who becomes better known after the conventions will still be subject to the party positions.
I ran this idea about 2024 being a brand election by someone whose credentials at the national level of politics are impeccable and whose thinking I highly respect. This person agreed, but pointed out that, in the end, the election will be decided by "300,000 voters in swing states." This person went on to suggest that this group would most likely be moderates or independents. This implies a lean to the Democratic brand per the research above. On some of these issues, adults in general percentages are above what the Republican positions are and less than the ones held by Democrats.
This is important as deeply red states will probably stay red and deeply blue states will stay blue. The swing states will decide the election and it looks, at this point in time, like the Democratic brand seems to be much stronger than the Republican brand.
Finally, name recognition at the top of tickets is much better than down-ballot. We have all voted for judges, school board members and county commissioners without knowing who they are and what they stand for. When one doesn't know the candidate, they tend to vote for the party they prefer.
If this stays true up to November 2024, it could be a landslide victory for the Democratic brand.
Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.
Click the social buttons to share this story with colleagues and friends.
The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.org/MyersBizNet.