Is 2024 the Revenge of the Normie Voter?
And how is that defined?
Is there a “normie voter,” one that speaks to people outside the parameters of extreme partisanship? It’s something political consultants are questioning. A large part of the reason Republicans had a disappointing election result during the midterms was that abortion, denying the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and an overall weirdness factor cost Republicans in both statewide races and suburban congressional districts.
This doesn’t mean voters are smitten with Biden and progressive politics. In fact, a recent CNN poll found that 54 percent of Americans have more trust in congressional Republicans to solve issues while only 45 percent of Americans said they put their faith in President Joe Biden. Nonetheless, election denialism and abortion were two of the biggest wedge issues that drove persuadable voters away from the GOP in the same way that critical race theory and defunding the police helped elevate Republicans in 2021.
The only reason Republicans were able to win the national popular vote in 2022 was because they had higher voter turnout than Democrats and lower propensity independents.
Going into the presidential election, a large chunk of those voters aren’t enthusiastic about voting for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. According to the New York Times/Siena poll, Biden and Trump have an unfavorable rating of 54 and 55 percent, respectively. Furthermore, 14 percent of voters in that same poll aren’t enthusiastic about supporting either candidate in the general election. This includes:
31 percent of voters who did not vote in the 2020 election
11 percent of people who voted for Biden in 2020
7 percent of people who voted for Trump in 2020
21 percent of independents
16 percent of suburban voters
14 percent of Midwestern voters
21 percent of Hispanic voters
11 percent of non-college educated white Americans
It’s more than likely that these voters fall into what I call “normie voters”: people who aren’t hyper-partisan and whose politics don’t neatly fall into being either liberal or conservative.
A study from the University of California at Berkeley from 2014 found that “moderate” voters, which have a large overlap with “normies,” aren’t necessarily centrists.
When asked about their positions on a range of thirteen divisive issues, “moderate voters” held non-centrist positions almost all the time, from being very right-wing on issues like immigration, unions, and healthcare to being left-wing on subjects like Social Security, Medicare, and contraception. The idea that “moderates” look like Joe Manchin or Susan Collins is mistaken.