Based on data, one could easily make the case that cops, crime, and violence are “the” top emotional issues for US voters during the midterm.
Urban violence is exploding. The public’s approval of cops is high. The economy matters less when fear is at record levels.
I watched a national news analyst last week stating that, beyond the economy, crime was the concern of about five percent of US residents. Yet my inbox is filled to the brim with articles referencing crime as being a top issue.
I watched an ad for a candidate for the US Senate, who stated that she stood up to fellow Democrats and pushed back when they called for defunding the police. She stated that she would hold criminals accountable and incarcerate them for a long time to come. Democrats throughout the country are falling all over themselves to prove that they are on the side of law enforcement and offender accountability.
We’ve come a very long way from candidate Biden promising to release half of the prison population. It seems like light years since the endless criticism of “all” cops based on the unethical or illegal actions of a few. Now, all the President talks about is hiring more cops. Just a couple of years ago, all he could embrace were the problems in law enforcement reinforcing the stereotype that there were systemic problems with all officers.
“Crime is clearly climbing up the list as a top issue, and it’s coinciding with the Republicans’ focus on it,” said GOP strategist Scott Jennings, matching ABC News surveys showing Republicans with an edge on the issue. “And I guess it wouldn’t matter so much if the issue was a low-wattage issue. But the truth is, it’s probably one of the top three issues in most races, certainly, in the country.”
One Democratic pollster conceded the power of the issue, telling ABC News that Democrats “have bad branding on crime as a party.”
Over the first three weeks of October, GOP candidates and committees spent $64.5 million on ads focused on crime – nearly one-quarter of all the money they spent on ads over that period, according to a CNN analysis of ad Impact data.
Many of those ads accused Democrats of supporting the ending of cash bail or efforts to defund the police. Sensing vulnerability, Democrats have also aired a significant amount of crime-related ads, dropping $58 million during that same period, accounting for 15% of their total ad spending.
New polling data from Gallup makes clear why Republican ads on crime have been so effective in moving voters.
More than half of Americans (56%) said there was more crime in their area compared to a year ago. That’s up a whopping 11 points from 2021 and 18 points from 2020, and is the highest mark ever measured by Gallup – in five decades of polling on the question.
Concerns over rising local crime are particularly potent among Republicans. Roughly three in four Republicans (73%) said that crime is getting worse around them – a massive increase from the 38% who said the same in 2020.
But it’s not just Republicans whose concerns over local crime have grown. Now a majority (51%) of independents said there was more crime in their area, an increase from 38% who said the same in 2020. And among Democrats, 42% said there was an uptick in local crime, compared to 37% in 2020.
African Americans And Defunding
A poll that shows ridiculously low support from black voters for defunding the police should be the final nail in the coffin for Democrats’ anti-law and order campaign of the last seven years.
TheGrio.com commissioned a poll, along with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that 82% of black respondents want police funding either to be kept about the same (48%) or increased (34%). Only 17% wanted it decreased.
Violent Crime Is Driving A Red Wave
Since crime is essentially a local issue, why does it hurt Democrats running for national or statewide office? Because the Democratic Party has associated itself with the notion that “social justice” and “racial equality” require fundamentally changing policing and incarceration.
The problem, they say, is police, not criminals. In practice, that means Democrats, especially progressives, favor weaker law enforcement, easier conditions for bail (even for those charged with violent offenses), and less funding for police officers. That message was encapsulated in the slogans “defund the police” and “reimagine policing,” which took hold in 2020 after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis cop.
The economy per Pew is the number one issue (77 percent). Still, the next two categories, “Gun Policy” (62 percent) and “Violent Crime,” (60 percent) come very close, which leads many to conclude that crime remains “a” or “the” deciding factor in the upcoming elections.
Fear Of Crime
The data indicates that the economic pain people are feeling will drive the election. But when you have a record fear of crime, your peace of mind drifts towards the safety of your children and family. The economy matters less when your fear is high.
To suggest that this year’s numbers are massively complex (based on their methodologies and problems collecting data) would be an understatement. You could legitimately state that violent crime did not increase in 2021 (latest numbers) based on numbers from the FBI and the National Crime Victimization Survey.
But it’s equally correct to state that, per the FBI, homicides increased considerably between 2019 and 2021 (nearly 30 percent in 2020 and 4.3 percent in 2021) and that murders have been traditionally used by criminologists as an indicator of all violent crime. Rapes also increased in 2021.
The 2021 US firearm homicides (81 percent of all murders) were the highest since the 1990s, Centers For Disease Control (CDC) data show. They recorded an 8.3 percent increase in 2021, CNN.
From 2020 to 2021, the violent victimization rate increased from 19.0 to 24.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons in urban areas while remaining unchanged in suburban or rural areas. The rate of serious (excluding common assaults) violent victimization in urban areas also increased, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey.
Per Gallup, there is a big increase in the criminal victimization of urban households in 2021, 30 percent compared to 22 percent in 2020. Seven percent of urban residents were violently victimized compared to 3% of U.S. adults. The collective data (urban crime victimization-computer crime) indicates a growing crime problem for at least half of American households (link below).
Per other reputable sources, there were increases in aggravated assaults, firearm assaults, and motor vehicle thefts.
Growing Violence For 2022-A 50% Increase In Homicides And A 36% Increase In Aggravated Assaults Since 2019
From Axios And The Major Cities Chiefs Association:
Homicides in major U.S. cities are dropping in 2022, but total violent crime continues to rise, according to a midyear survey of large law enforcement agencies.
Why it matters: The annual midyear survey shows that violent crime rates still haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, but homicides and rapes in some cities appear to be falling.
By the numbers: Overall violent crime spiked 4.2% from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2022, compared to the same period as last year, the survey by the Major Cities Chiefs Association found.
- Robbery skyrocketed by nearly 12% and aggravated assaults increased by around 3%, the survey of 70 agencies found.
- Homicides decreased by 2.4% and rapes fell by 5% in major cities, offering hope that some of the most violent crimes might be leveling off from significant increases in 2020, as reported to the FBI.
See the data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association here.
Compared to 2019 midyear figures, the same cities in total have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults.
There are many who thought that the progressive wing of the Democratic party had completely lost their minds as to defunding law enforcement and cutting the prison population in half. There are many other topics (i.e., bail reform) that make people extremely uncomfortable.
Tens of thousands of police officers are leaving the job per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some cities are losing people and businesses. Some parts of urban areas are becoming ungovernable. Arrests have plummeted. Correctional populations are at record lows.
Rising urban violence and record fear of crime and cops leaving all send the same message via voting; stop the bleeding, elect people who are supportive of cops and offender accountability.
Yes, people vote their pocketbooks, but that assumes that they haven’t been stolen.
One could easily make the case that cops, crime, and violence are “the” top emotional issue for US voters during the midterm.