Jul 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top Obama pollster warns left not to get greedy ahead of midterms


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joel Benenson, who led polling for President Obama, tells me liberal Democrats are endangering the House majority in next year's midterms by trying to load too much onto President Biden's spending packages.

Why it matters: Benenson has years of data showing that the more lawmakers add to a massive piece of legislation, the less likely that swing voters will swallow it. And, as Benenson put it: "You gotta win the middle to win."

Lemme tell you a secret: You know someone who agrees with Joel Benenson? President Biden.

  • I'm told Biden firmly believes that politically, the country lives in the middle. He'll resist pressure from the party's muscular left to add elements to his proposals that could sink them.

Benenson did polling on infrastructure in 2019 in six crucial states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

  • The takeaway: Overwhelming majorities, of all political stripes, support infrastructure spending. Support is strongest the closer it's connected to their lives — Benenson is big on broadband and clean water, both in the Biden plan.
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