Finance

Congressional Democrats Retake Generic Ballot Lead Among Child Tax Credit Recipients

51% of voters who received the payments said they would vote for Democrats on a generic congressional ballot

Photograph of people gathered to advocate for the child tax credit
Parents and caregivers with the Economic Security Project gather outside the White House to advocate for the child tax credit on Sept. 20, 2022, in Washington, D.C. A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that 51% of voters who received the child tax credit would vote for a congressional Democrat if the election were held today. (Larry French/Getty Images)

After months of waning support on the generic congressional ballot from voters who received expanded child tax credit payments, Democrats have staged a comeback with the group, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey.

Democrats Reclaim Advantage Among Child Tax Credit Recipients on Generic Congressional Ballot

Voters were asked if they were more likely to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate or a Republican congressional candidate if the election were held in their district today

Surveys conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 to 5 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

After trailing Republicans on generic ballot by 3 percentage points in April, Democrats now hold 11-point edge with child tax credit recipients

  • After the end of the monthly child tax credit payments in December 2021, support for Democrats on a generic congressional ballot dropped among child tax credit recipients alongside larger Republican gains through April 2022. But the new survey shows that Democrats have regained that ground completely: 51% of registered voters who received the payments said they would choose Democratic candidates, while 40% said they would pick Republicans. 
  • The bounce in Democratic support among voters who received the child tax credits comes amid action by some states in recent months, including Rhode Island and Connecticut, to issue their own version of the payments. 
  • In April, 11% of voters who received the child tax credit said they were unsure of whom they would vote for, while 9% said they didn’t know in the most recent survey. Over that same time period, Republican support among recipients shrunk from 46% to 40%. 
  • Among all voters, Republican support was unchanged between April and September (43%), but Democrats picked up an additional 3 points over the same time period (46%). 
  • In the new survey, 15% of voters who received the child tax credit payments said that their top concern was women’s issues — listed in the survey as birth control, abortion and equal pay — up from 8% in April.

Democrats, looking to boost voters’ sense of financial security, renew efforts to reinstate payments 

U.S. families with children who qualified for the expanded child tax credit payments, which were issued as part of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 financial relief package, received their last automatic monthly check in December 2021. As families struggled to regain their financial footing amid the pandemic and removal of the monthly payment cushion, support for congressional Democrats fell in February and April among voters who received the payments. 

Critics noted that the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August, marked yet another instance of family and child care policies’ being left on the cutting-room floor, despite majority support among all voters. In a July survey, about 3 in 5 voters said they backed a renewal of the monthly child tax credit payments. 

This support is not lost on lawmakers on the left, who are renewing a push to move such policies past the finish line by year-end. Vice President Kamala Harris told the Congressional Black Caucus this month that the administration is “working like hell to make sure we make the Child Tax Credit permanent.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told Axios in September that reinstating the payments was a priority for the White House, adding that “I think we can find a way at the end of the year,” though he also indicated that discussions with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) about the possibility of reviving the credit had made little progress. 

Progressive groups have also called on lawmakers to make good on their promises to support families. The Automatic Benefit for Children Coalition called on lawmakers in August to reinstate the tax credits, and ahead of passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, which provided billions in subsidies for the U.S. semiconductor industry, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argued that Congress should be prioritizing families over corporate tax breaks. 

Lawmakers may be wise to step up efforts to pass such legislation, the survey indicates: 40% of child tax credit recipients said the end of the payments had a “major impact” on their financial security. 

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.