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Progressive group urges Democrats to focus on tax reform

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

If Democrats want to win over voters in 2018, they should start pushing a strong economic message and focus on tax reform — at least according to a new survey for Priorities USA, an advocacy organization for the grassroots progressive movement.

Economic concerns were one of the main issues for people surveyed, which included three types of voters:

  1. Voters who supported Mitt Romney in 2012 but did not support Donald Trump in 2016
  2. Trump voters who either supported him with mixed feelings or previously voted for Barack Obama
  3. Intermittent Democratic voters who either did not participate in the 2016 election or haven't voted consistently

Why it matters: This survey provides one suggestion for how Democrats can build an economic message to counter Republicans. A "progressive platform on economic change" could be more persuasive than "the Republican agenda of cutting taxes and regulations," according to the survey.

The results were presented to various grassroots groups and Democratic organizations this morning, focusing on campaign suggestions for Dems and progressive leaders ahead of 2018.

  • The economy is everyone's issue, according to the results. Just 25% say that Trump is delivering on the promises he made about the economy during his campaign.
  • Tax reform: The voters surveyed oppose a tax plan that gives the largest tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations — even if it would also cut their own personal income taxes.
  • Voters' economic concerns come from worries about affording the cost of health care. Another survey by Hart Research Group suggested progressive leaders campaign by blaming Trump and the GOP for health care failures to win over Dem voters.
  • 45% of those surveyed are open to voting for a Democratic candidate, no matter how they voted before.
  • Timing: Nearly all say they will know for sure one way or the other about Trump's economic performance by the midterm elections.
  • Almost all voters surveyed believe that "instead of staying focused on the economy, Donald Trump is too often distracted by controversy and the constant chaos, scandal, and fighting that prevents anything from getting done."
  • One key trend: 41% of voters think Trump is looking out primarily for the wealthy, compared to just 21% in January. And a majority (76%) of all voters surveyed view the Republican Party as looking out for the wealthy first and foremost.

Bottom line: Democratic party leaders, progressive organizers, and local activists should focus on the tax reform debate to make inroads with these voters, Priorities USA says