Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats have been trying to make threats to democracy a significant issue.
A poll released earlier this week by The New York Times and Siena College asked respondents if they believe democracy is currently under threat. A majority of voters agreed democracy is under threat.
But an article published on Tuesday by The Washington Post’s Philip Bump highlighted a curious aspect of the poll.
“As it turns out, 84 percent of respondents said yes, the mainstream media posed a threat to democracy, including 6 in 10 who said it posed a major threat,” Bump wrote.
He added, “That was the highest percentage of any of the 10 options the pollsters presented — in part because it was one of the few options for which there was bipartisan support.”
That’s got to hurt for the Post, which changed its slogan to “Democracy Dies in Darkness” in 2017. And it has to hurt for journalists and commentators who view themselves as the gatekeepers of democracy working to prevent Republicans from turning the U.S. into an authoritarian country ripped out of the pages of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
— ProPublica (@propublica) February 22, 2017
To pour salt on the wound, this poll result was not from Breitbart or some conservative outlet that disdains the “mainstream media.”
Additionally, the poll found sharp divides between what Democrats say poses a major threat to democracy, and what a combination of voters of all ideologies point to as a major threat.
For Democrats, the first major threat is former President Donald Trump, followed by the Republican Party, the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the mainstream media, and finally, the federal government.
By contrast, voters not broken down by party affiliation say the mainstream media is the number one major threat, followed by Trump, Biden, the federal government, the Democratic Party, and voting by mail.
This is not to say that undermining faith in the electoral system and suggesting that the 2020 election was stolen is not dangerous.
But Democrats might want to keep this poll in mind while they’re screeching about Democracy™.
If they think warning about threats to democracy is going to help blunt their midterm losses, they might be in for a surprise.
Because according to this survey, most voters do not view the same people or institutions as “major” threats to democracy as they do.
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