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Culture wars could be a winning issue — for Democrats

Polls show voters are furious about inflation and the country is heading in the wrong direction. But the issue matrix has shifted enough to provide Democrats some hope that they can limit some of their potential losses. Gun violence and abortion rights now rank just below inflation and stabilizing the economy. Polls found that 44 percent of voters “strongly disapprove’ of Biden’s job performance, while only 19 percent ‘strongly approve” of the president. Democrats have a huge hurdle to overcome on the economy, but research shows surging interest among Democratic voters and many independents toward gun control, abortion rights and protecting the right to choose, the authors say. The authors say Democrats can successfully paint certain GOP candidates as particularly extreme on the touchpoint issue of abortion, particularly those who oppose exemptions

Democrats appear to be better aligned with independent voters on their issues, pollsters say. Independents top motivators are, of course, addressing inflation and the economy, but their fourth and sixth most animating subject matters are stricter gun laws and protecting abortion rights. Democrats have tried to rebrand the slimmed-down version of their agenda “the Inflation Reduction Act” A compromise hashed out with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and centrist Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema. Democrats hope this spate of recent legislative productivity will appeal to their liberal base. But if liberals in cities and inner suburbs turn out in bigger numbers than their current malaise suggests, Democratic candidates for Senate and governor could receive key boosts from cultural issues

“The emotional barriers will be