As President Biden and Democrats running in the midterm elections are planning to spend the next several weeks on the road promoting passage of the their climate, health care and tax legislation, several national political groups are making plans to pour millions of dollars into advertising to help boost the campaign — and the president’s low approval ratings — especially with the party’s base.
Building Back Together (BBT), a pro-Biden outside organization launched by the president and his campaign team to help promote policy priorities, on Thursday is launching a new $1 million ad campaign this week specifically targeting Black and Latino voters, two groups whose support for the president has sagged in recent months amid concerns with inflation and the direction of the economy. Though the new law is called the “Inflation Reduction Act,” it doesn’t directly tackle the underlying causes of. It may, however, help bring down some costs for Americans.
The television, radio and digital ads are airing in English and Spanish in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the Washington, D.C. media market with plans to expand the campaign in the coming weeks, according to BBT. (If you’re wondering, the Inflation Reduction Act translated into Spanish is, la Ley de Reducción de la Inflación.)
The TV spot quickly outlines the basic sales and contrast pitch Democrats will be making to voters in the coming weeks: “Joe Biden promised to deliver for working families over special interests. That’s what the Inflation Reduction Act does: Lowers prescription drug costs for millions of families. Lowers health care costs for millions of families. Lowers energy costs for millions of families. But every single MAGA politician voted against it. Because when it really matters, they’re on the side of special interests.”
The digital ad stars a Black man who tells the camera, “It’s baffling to me that politicians would block things that will help millions of families. I’m glad we have a president who’s fighting for us.” And the Spanish-language radio ad also recounts what’s in the legislation. The group has now spent $35 million since the beginning of the Biden presidency on similar advertising, including recent ads designed to coax Congress into passing the legislation.
Attempts to increase support for the president — and his handling of economic matters — will be critical to improving the Democratic Party’s chances in several competitive statewide races in the places where BBT is running these ads. In the closing weeks of gubernatorial and Senate contests especially in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia, Black and Latino voters will be leaned on by Democrats to show up.
The most recentfound 72%of Black voters approve of the job the president is doing. Latino voters were more divided: 45% approve, while 55% disapprove. As with voters overall, the president’s approval rating among Black voters has fallen over the course of his presidency. Compared to recent Democratic presidents, Mr. Biden’s approval rating among Black voters is similar to Bill Clinton’s at this point in his presidency but considerably lower than Barack Obama’s.
The lower numbers among Latino voters are reflected in other national surveys and are why the Republican Party is aggressively wooing Hispanics, especially in competitive southern and western House districts.
Like registered voters overall, these two groups of voters gave the president his lowest marks on inflation of the issues asked about — 43% of Black voters approved of his handling of inflation; only 26% of Latino voters did. Majorities of both groups said the national economy is in bad shape with Latino voters more likely than Black voters to feel that way.
Building Back Together launched in Feb. 2021 as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization that isn’t required to disclose its donors. These kinds of social welfare organizations can launch grassroots campaigns, lobby and conduct some election-related work, but legally it cannot be the main focus of the organization. BBT is primarily designed to help explain and defend Biden administration work, a response to concerns among many Democrats — especially Obama-era White House veterans — that the party failed to properly tout the benefits of the Affordable Care Act after it passed in the months before the 2020 midterm elections, which led to record congressional losses for the party.
Several other left-leaning organizations are also launching advertising this week or planning to do so to support passage of the climate change and health care legislation. Third Way — a group supporting moderate Democrats — has launched ads this week designed to thank several Democratic lawmakers, including Arizona senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, for supporting the legislation.
As the advertising begins, so does a more intense official travel schedule for administration officials, designed to indirectly assist Democrats on the ballot this fall. The White House announced this week that that Cabinet secretaries will be making more than 35 stops in 23 states to tout passage of the legislation, with appearances scheduled alongside Democratic lawmakers. Separately, the president is set to visit Ohio and Pennsylvania in the coming weeks to discuss climate change, health care and the bipartisan gun control and mental health bill passed earlier this summer, according to the White House.
While the Biden administration cannot coordinate travel or political activities with outside political groups like BBT, the aspirations are similar: Official events will be held, they are likely to earn local news coverage and during advertising breaks before or after those news reports, the hope is voters will see or hear ads like the ones mentioned here.
Will it help turn the number around for Democrats? Stay tuned.