As voters prepare to vote in the midterm elections, Americans are strongly convinced that crime has increased since last year.
According to a new Gallup poll, around 56% of individuals reported a rise in crime where they live, while 78% say crime has increased nationally, marking the worst public safety attitude in three decades. While Republicans reported considerably more local crime, Democratic perceptions remained largely unchanged, even as independents’ views shifted toward more lawlessness.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Republicans have a 14% edge over their Dem. counterparts in terms of voter trust prior to the midterm elections, including a 34% margin with independents. Several Republican underdogs have surged to become credible contenders against Democratic incumbents in this election year. In deep-blue NY, for example, Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin is mounting an unexpected campaign to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, as residents grow increasingly concerned about public safety and homelessness.
Nonetheless, Hayes Brown, an MSNBC opinion columnist, wrote in an analysis that the Gallup poll demonstrates a “disconnect between the perception of higher crime rates in an area and whether this alleged increase can correctly be measured,” adding that Republican attempts to “frame cities as left-leaning hellscapes” may have shaped perception. He cited Department of Justice data showing that “violent victimization,” which contains violent crimes such as rape and robbery but excludes murder, “did not change” between 2020 and 2021, even if property crimes “had not substantially increased” from the prior year.
“This is a little less hazardous version of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election denialism cycle: say there’s a problem without solid evidence, then use the fact that individuals believe there’s a problem as proof that there is a problem,” Hayes said. “Republicans have spent a significant amount of time and money preparing the nation to believe that Dems. have launched a new era of lawlessness in which only the GOP’s incarceration plans will keep people safe. According to Gallup’s poll, Republicans are receiving a very good return on their investment.”
Meanwhile, according to WalletHub data, many cities have seen crime waves that have gone beyond the enormous increase recorded two years ago. Cities including New Orleans, Detroit, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs saw an increase in their homicide rate per capita during the third and fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022. Democrats were in charge of twelve of the largest American cities that set new homicide records last year.