2024 Nationwide Election Preview

Independent Center Contributor Ethan Nelson

At the Independent Center, we polled 1,000 registered voters. In this article, we will take a look at the sentiment of these voters heading into the 2024 elections including: how they’re relating to the election, key issues that are top of mind, and voting intentions. You can view the full survey data by joining the movement

Candidate’s Approval Ratings

In our Nationwide Survey, we asked registered voters “Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. congress is doing?” They were given 5 options: ‘strongly approve,’ ‘somewhat approve’ ‘somewhat disapprove,’ or ‘strongly disapprove.’ The responses showed that 63% of voters responded with either ‘somewhat disapprove’ or ‘strongly disapprove.’ This reveals a widespread sense of discontent and pessimism regarding the current state of America.

With nearly two-thirds of voters disapproving of Congress’ job performance, it’s clear there is a tremendous well of frustration with the current group of federal lawmakers. Such dismal approval ratings suggest many Americans feel their representatives are out-of-touch and ineffective at addressing the major issues facing the country. This negative perception of Congress could drive high anti-incumbent sentiment and a desire for sweeping change in the upcoming elections. Candidates looking to capture this dissatisfied cohort will need to position themselves as outsiders capable of upending business-as-usual in Washington.

The Issues That Matter Most

To identify the most pressing concerns amongst voters, we asked them to “Please rank the following issues” and gave them the following choices:

  • Economy (such as jobs, unemployment, taxes, food prices/inflation)
  • Immigration (such as legalization & citizenship, border security, refugee resettlement)
  • Health Care (such as Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, cost of health care)
  • Government (such as political extremism, polarization, the role of elected officials)
  • Social Issues (such as crime, equality, civil liberties, abortion)
  • Environment (such as climate change, EPA, energy regulations)
  • Education (such as school choice, student loans, testing standards)
  • International (such as trade, foreign policy, global affairs)

Out of the responses, 34% of voters ranked the Economy as the most pressing issue, and Immigration was close behind at 16% of voters. The data makes clear that these two issues will largely drive voter decisions, outweighing issues like Government (13%), Health Care (12%), Social Issues (10%) and Environment (8%). 

These results paint a picture of voters primarily driven by economic concerns as well as growing anxiety over immigration levels and policies. While not dismissing other issues entirely, the data suggests many Americans feel their economic well being and sense of national identity are under threat. 

Candidate Sentiment

After asking, “If the Presidential election were held today, how would you vote if your options were Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Joe Biden, Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.?”” A total of 39% of registered voters said they’d vote for Biden, whereas 42% said they’d vote for Trump, and 13% said they would vote for RFK Jr.. 

This demographic of undecided voters, represented by the 13% who would vote for RFK Jr., will determine the outcome of the national election. This highlights the need for candidates to appeal to this ever-increasing swath of the population, which seems to be dissatisfied with the traditional Republican and Democratic options. 

When we asked voters “While supporting Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for President, how do you think you’ll vote for “down ballot” candidates such as the congressional and state candidates that represent you?” and giving them the options between “I’ll likely support more Republican candidates,” I’ll likely support more Democratic candidates” and “I’ll likely only support Independent candidates.” We found that only 19% of RFK voters would vote ‘down ballot’ Republican, 40% said Democrat, 24% said Independent, and 17% were Unsure. 

These results suggest that RFK Jr.’s support is drawing from both Republican and Democratic voters, but more heavily from the Democratic side. However, a significant portion of his supporters seem to be rejecting the two-party system entirely, with nearly a quarter planning to vote for independent candidates down the ballot as well. 

This could shake up congressional and state-level races in a major way, potentially costing both parties seats if RFK Jr.’s unconventional candidacy gains real momentum. Ultimately, it underscores how disillusioned many voters are with the traditional Republican and Democratic parties, seeking alternatives that better represent their views.

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