Democratic and Republican primary voters largely opted for conventional candidates to be placed on the ballot this November over self-described “populists” on both the left and the right, indicating voters’ support for candidates who offered clear policy agendas, while showing the limits of the style of politics that President Donald Trump has embraced, for down-ballot candidates.
A number of data points from Tuesday’s primaries show that anti-Washington sentiment pervaded a number of races, but that sentiment did not necessarily give way to a wave of victories for self-styled populists. Candidates who broke with party orthodoxy to support pro-growth policies thrived; more importantly, candidates that sought refuge in the corners of the political spectrum rarely found safe harbor.
Another key takeaway was the continued volatility and unreliability of pre-election polls, especially “internal” polls released to the public by campaigns. Observers should continue to regard polls with some degree of skepticism as internal polls are sometimes “leaked” for political gain, especially in races where few independent and reputable pollsters are active. Increasingly, voters are breaking out of traditional political party affiliations, as we’re seeing greater momentum behind candidates willing to cross-pollinate between both parties’ platforms.
We will have to continue to watch as these candidates evolve on the issues in the coming months, but we are optimistic based on the recent primaries’ outcome. For instance, manufacturers have candidates on both sides of the aisle in West Virginia and Indiana who they can work with on key issues, something of critical importance to the future of the industry.