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CTC protest

Cara Baldari and Sarah Orrin-Vipond join a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol December 13, 2021 in Washington, D.C. to urge passage of the Build Back Better Act to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

'Manchin Has Probably Doomed the Party': Support for Dems Dips After Child Tax Credit Killed

Among recipients, 75% said the program's expiration will damage their financial security.

Jessica Corbett

New polling revealed Wednesday that as Democratic lawmakers have failed in recent months to enact the Build Back Better Act, support for party members has dropped among U.S. voters affected by the expiration of the expanded child tax credit.

"You win by delivering for people and you lose by giving them nothing."

The House-approved Build Back Better package would have continued the popular child tax credit (CTC), which gave families monthly payments of up to $300 per child until it ended in December—but the bill stalled in the upper chamber, largely due to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Some observers blamed the senator for the new Morning Consult survey results—an early signal of what Democratic congressional candidates could face in this year's midterms.

As journalist Jon Walker put it: "You win by delivering for people and you lose by giving them nothing. Manchin has probably doomed the party."

The Week's Ryan Cooper said it is "hard to imagine a better way to tank your own popularity than creating a nice program with a big constituency and then canceling it a few months before campaign season starts."

In a December survey conducted before Manchin declared the Build Back Better Act "dead," 49% of CTC recipients told Morning Consult they would more likely vote for a Democratic congressional candidate, compared with 37% who would back a Republican.

The latest poll, conducted earlier this month, found that now only 44% of recipients would support a Democrat, while the share who said they would vote for a Republican jumped to 43%. In both cases, 14% of recipients said they didn't know or had no opinion.

The share of CTC recipients with unfavorable views of Democrats in Congress rose from 35% to 50% between the December and February polls. Republicans saw a similar but smaller increase in unfavorability during that period—from 41% to 51%.

The Morning Consult polling also underscored how killing the program—which aided millions of families during the ongoing pandemic—affects recipients.

Of those eligible for the program, 68% confirmed they actually got payments in 2021. Among those CTC recipients, 75% said the expiration will undermine their financial security—including 38% who said it will have a "minor" impact and 37% who anticipate a "major" impact.

The new survey results follow research published this week by Fighting Chance for Families—a project of Data for Progress and Groundwork Collective—that found Democrats working to extend the CTC boosts voters' trust in party members while letter the program expire erodes that trust.

Meanwhile, Manchin—who has advocated for means-testing the CTC if it is brought back alone or as part of a broader package—made clear in a televised interview this week that the version of the Build Back Better agenda passed by House Democrats "no longer will exist."

Writing for Common Dreams last week, leaders of the Poor People's Campaign—Bishop William Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, and Shailly Gupta Barnes—warned that means-testing would be a "dangerous 'compromise.'"

"Manchin and his colleagues want to keep us in the fiction that was systemized through welfare reform: that poverty is only a marginal issue, facing a few million people, who need a little bit of help to get back on their feet again," the trio wrote. "They want to keep telling us the lie that welfare programs are bad for us, but good for the rich (remember, a tax cut or a subsidy is also welfare)."

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