As President Obama prepares for his seventh and final State of the Union address tonight, I am hopeful he takes the opportunity to speak to the lives of the 125 million African Americans, Latinos, millennials and unmarried women who this year--for the first time ever--will be the majority of all voters in America.
The President has been a steadfast supporter of the middle class and is expected to speak from the heart tonight to Americans who are still struggling economically. Here are the top three bullet points I'm hoping to see tonight on the President's Teleprompter:
- Protect American jobs, make our economy fairer, and help middle class families
- Reform politics and government and close tax loopholes for special interests and the wealthy
- Help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college
These aren't just pie-in-the-sky incantations. Last year at this time, we did live "dial-testing" polling of the President's 2015 State of the Union address and learned first-hand what voters are craving. With our partner, Democracy Corps, we watched as economically vulnerable swing voters reacted to Obama's speech and policy proposals in real time. Sixty-one voters made clear that they strongly supported an agenda to help middle class families--with more jobs, equal pay for women, an increased minimum wage, lower taxes for the middle class and help for families struggling with the high cost of childcare and education.
A year has passed and national security issues have become more pressing. But it's clear that the public has an insatiable demand for middle-class relief and government reform. And that demand will transform the 2016 elections.
Right before New Year's, we polled American voters again. And they confirmed that championing a middle-class economic agenda, combined with a call to action around fundamental political and government reform, really resonates with prospective 2016 voters. It's simple: People who are hurting financially want their votes and tax money to count. A 62 percent majority of voters reacted positively to that combination reform message in our December poll, with 72 percent support among Rising American Electorate voters (people of color, millennials and unmarried women.) A majority of independents supported that message, too, along with white non-college-educated women.
So as the President speaks tonight, I'll be expecting him to advocate strongly again for middle-class Americans, making it clear that he understands the challenges facing typical Americans and wants to make our economy and government work better for all.