After just a year of social unrest and defund the police activism, Democrats are now seeing the political impact of law and order, seeking to pivot to the surging populist view of crime as an important voter issue.
"It's no secret that the 'defund the police' stuff is not popular," Democrat pollster Nick Gourevitch of Navigator Research told National Journal. "There's a mainstream way out of it."
Gourevitch's polling found, for the first time since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, the top issue for all voters is crime, so now Democrats can pivot to addressing it.
"People want to feel safe," Gourevitch continued. "They want to see we're addressing the problem. I still think people think we need police accountability, but they can't hear just one side of that issue from us."
The poll found 57% of Republicans considered crime a major crisis and even 53% of Democrats agreed.
"Most significantly" for Democrat political strategists, according to the report, is 70% of African-American voters consider violent crime a major crisis. That voting bloc has long been a bastion for Democrats.
The pandemic still concerns 70% of Democrats as a major crisis, while only 30% of Republicans consider it so. They still put crime first.
The movement for Democrats was apparent last week when former NYPD captain Eric Adams, running as a law-and-order candidate, won the New York City mayoral primary.
"For too long, Democrats held onto a comforting fiction that the issue of rising crime was merely a conservative-fueled narrative, amplified by Fox News but far removed from the day-to-day lives of most Americans," National Journal's Josh Kraushaar wrote. "Between the New York City election results and national polling showing the issue becoming a top priority for all voters, avoiding the subject isn't sustainable anymore.
"Democrats have more than a year to sharpen their message before the midterms, but it will require listening to more-ideologically diverse voices within their own party who are growing impatient with cities that are growing increasingly unsafe."
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