Crime rates have surged over the past couple of years, including violent crimes and murder, nearly nationwide, but especially in major cities, and that surge has been fueled in part by Democratic policies, such as low or no cash bail and early release for criminals, and anti-cop rhetoric, such as “defund the police.”
The crime issue has unsurprisingly been seized upon in many Republican campaign ads ahead of the midterm elections, and rightly so, as polling has consistently shown that rising crime rates are among the top concerns of most Americans, Breitbart reported.
Furthermore, reports indicate that the GOP campaign ads linking Democrats to rising crime rates are having an impact on several key races.
Polls show crime a top issue; more favorable for Republicans
Politico reported that a recent poll it conducted with Morning Consult, which surveyed 2,000 registered voters between Sep. 30-Oct. 2, revealed that violent crime was viewed as a “major problem” by more than three-quarters of Americans, with similar or greater numbers saying it was a worsening problem.
Around 60 percent of those polled said violent crime would be a major factor in how they voted in November, trailing only inflation and abortion as a top issue, but there was a split on what was predominately driving the high crime rates — around half of the respondents blamed “too many guns” for the surge in crime, just slightly more than those who blamed “defunding the police” efforts.
Similar results were found in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll of 4,415 U.S. adults between Sept. 27-Oct. 3 which revealed that, following inflation, crime was considered to be a top issue of concern.
The pollsters further found that Republicans were preferred over Democrats, 39-30 percent, as the party best suited to handle rising crime, and that advantage for the GOP appeared to even extend into two demographic groups that generally vote for Democrats, including suburban women, who lean towards Republicans on crime by eight points, and those with college degrees, who were evenly split between the two parties on the issue.
GOP campaign ads targeting Dems on crime issue
As noted, Republicans have keyed in on the crime issue in their campaign ads at all levels across the nation, according to a review of hundreds of ads over the past few weeks by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
That review found that while abortion was overwhelmingly the top issue for Democratic campaign ads, it was a “tough-on-crime” message that dominated Republican campaign ads, with the GOP candidates and allied groups taking shots at their Democratic opponents over real or perceived support for “soft-on-crime” policies, such as low or no bail and early release for convicts, and the “defund the police” movement, among other things.
Some Democrats have attempted to counter those ads with ones of their own that feature local law enforcement or try to distance themselves from the unpopular policies and rhetoric, but evidence and polling suggest that the GOP attack ads on the crime issue are having a positive impact for Republicans.
NBC News reported that this was especially true in the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Senate races, where the respective GOP candidates in those states, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Dr. Mehmet Oz, have either taken the lead or at least substantially closed the gap in multiple polls.
Similar effectiveness on anti-crime ads has been seen for Republican candidates in other states, too, the outlet noted, such as Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, and even Florida, to a lesser extent. Whether the ads translate into electoral victory, however, remains to be seen in about a month.