The poll, published by Republican public opinion research firm J.L. Partners, also found 1 in 5 of the same voters graded Biden as performing “very well” as president. Voters older than 65 were more critical of Biden, with 7% echoing the assessment.
J.L. Partners founder James Johnson, former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief pollster, predicts that so-called purple voters will be pivotal in November’s midterm elections and the next presidential cycle, estimating that approximately 4 million people are members of the group. For example, the poll found more than 1 in 4 planning to vote Republican this fall, prompted by liberal positions on the removal of statues and monuments, the use of gender pronouns, race protests, and cancel culture. About 68% remained committed to Democrats.
Johnson, too, attributes Biden’s and Democrats’ deteriorating purple voter support to disappointment over their handling of the economy and immigration policy as well as their promise to unite the country. Democrats retain their advantage over Republicans regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, purple voters’ top concern, and healthcare, according to Johnson.
“For Biden, the poll is bleak,” Johnson told the Washington Examiner.
The poll also demonstrates a troublesome trend for Vice President Kamala Harris. Roughly 15% of purple voters considered Harris to be doing “very well” as Biden’s understudy.
But at the same time, 8% of purple voters would support Trump in a 2024 Biden-Trump rematch. Another 68% would back Biden.
“A focus on the last election strongly deters them and, come November, could cost those candidates who are currently ramping up their rhetoric for the primaries,” Johnson said. “The GOP would do much better targeting their message on inflation, as well as crime and the border.”
Nikki Haley, former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, and onetime Vice President Mike Pence emerged as purple voters’ most popular poll-tested White House candidates. Yet Haley and Pence were both overshadowed by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
“This is just about the only group of voters in the country who give both Pence and Buttigieg a positive approval rating,” Johnson added.
J.L. Partners polled a sample of 663 purple voters online between Jan. 17 and April 2022. The firm’s findings have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Its previous U.S. work includes Arizona’s 2022 Republican gubernatorial contest.