- The Washington Times - Friday, March 11, 2022

The GOP leads by 6 points on the state legislative generic ballot in key battleground states, according to a new poll commissioned by the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Republicans also lead Democrats with self-identified independent voters by 15 points, revealed the January survey that was conducted for RSLC by the Republican polling firm Cygnal.

The economy and cost of living, crime and violence, and education were the top three issues for those surveyed.

Republicans lead Democrats 51%-38% when it comes to which party voters trust in state government to deal with the “economy in general,” the poll found.

On the issue of crime, state GOP candidates have a 50%-38% advantage and Republicans lead on education 44%-43%, a shift on the education issue that typically favors Democrats.

Additionally, Republicans lead Democrats 47%-37% on which party is more trusted to protect parental control in education.

“We may have started the cycle exclusively trying to defend our razor-thin majorities, but the failures of President Biden and his Democrat allies in the states have created opportunities for us to go on offense in places we never could have imagined,” RSLC President Dee Duncan said in a statement.

Mr. Duncan added, “Democrats across the country will be held accountable for standing by Joe Biden and the disastrous policies that have given us the highest inflation in 40 years, record gas prices, raging crime, and learning loss for an entire generation of kids.”

Democrats, however, argue that much has changed since late January when the poll was conducted, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and a bump in President Biden’s approval rating after his State of the Union address on March 1.

“In today’s environment, political winds shift quickly and this polling is a clear reflection of that — a lot has changed since January. Unlike Republicans, Democrats at all levels of the ballot have a track record they can be proud of. Democrats created a record 6.6 million jobs and at the state level,” Gabrielle Chew, vice president of communications of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a statement to The Washington Times.

She added, “Democratic lawmakers are investing in education, ensuring higher wages, and leveling the playing field while Republicans continue to line the pockets of the wealthiest Americans.”

The Republican Party currently has 54% of the country’s state legislative seats and controls the majority of both chambers in 30 states, according to Governing magazine.

Only Minnesota has a state legislature that is presently divided between Republicans controlling the Senate and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party controlling the House.

Republicans hold 55 of the 88 state legislative chambers on the ballot this cycle and 62 of the 99 overall across the country. The legislative margins are the most narrow in 7 of the 10 Republican-led legislatures. However, in most GOP-controlled states, their majorities are usually veto-proof.

Republicans plan to defend their statehouse majorities this cycle in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin while looking to flip the Democratic chambers in Colorado and Minnesota.

The GOP will also seek to gain footholds in state legislatures controlled by Democrats in Maine, New York, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico.

The survey of 2,217  likely general election voters was conducted from Jan. 19 to 20, 2022 in the battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0%.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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