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Democrats are losing support among recipients of the expanded child tax credit, a monthly programme that expired at the end of December due to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to an extension.
Morning Consult’s poll found that Republicans now have a slight lead among voters who received the expanded benefit, despite the fact that GOP lawmakers voted unanimously against enacting the programme last year.
“Among parents or guardians with at least one child under the age of 18 who received expanded child tax credit payments, 46% indicated they are most likely to vote for a Republican congressional candidate this year, while 43% indicated they are inclined to support the Democratic candidate,” Morning Consult’s Eli Yokley wrote in a summary of the findings.
Yokley continued, “The GOP’s narrow advantage among this group contrasts with the Democrats’ 12-point lead in late December, just before the benefit expired.” The survey found that in the months since the boosted CTC expired, Democrats lost a 15-point advantage to Republicans among benefit recipients.
“Among all voters,” Yokley noted, “the most recent survey found Republicans and Democrats tied at 43% on the generic congressional ballot.”
With federal data indicating that tens of millions of American families received checks last year as part of the expanded CTC, the survey’s electoral implications could be significant.
Commentators were quick to blame Manchin and other right-wing Democrats in response to the polling, which appears to validate progressives’ repeated warnings that the majority party risks electoral disaster in the 2022 midterm elections if it fails to reinstate the enhanced CTC.
There has been no discernible movement on Capitol Hill in recent weeks toward reviving the benefit, despite mounting evidence that its expiration is causing a significant increase in child poverty. According to the Morning Consult survey, more than 70% of boosted CTC recipients said the benefit’s termination had at least a “minor” impact on their financial security.
“This [is] beyond infuriating on both a substantive and political level,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted in response to the new poll, “and it is almost entirely the work of Joe Manchin.”
Mike Casca, communications director for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, blamed right-wing Democrats more broadly, criticising their “political strategy of simply passing an infrastructure bill and abandoning Build Back Better.”
The House-passed version of the Build Back Better Act in November would have extended the enhanced CTC for an additional year. Manchin, a necessary swing vote in an evenly divided Senate, argued against a straight extension of the benefit, arguing that it should include some form of work requirement in addition to additional means testing.
Additionally, the West Virginia Democrat reportedly used insidious talking points against the programme behind closed doors, claiming that some parents who received the benefit would spend it on drugs.
“The public understands that poverty is a policy choice—one that Joe Manchin is making on behalf of millions of working families,” Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-New York, tweeted Wednesday. “This is not merely poor policy. This is poor politics. If Democrats lose ground in the midterm elections, it will be the fault of people like Manchin.”