On March 11, 2021 President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, providing one of the largest infusions of federal funds directly into small towns and communities in U.S. history. Finally, after years of struggling to afford housing, groceries and healthcare, we got help.
This legislation, which is pumping money into every corner of Iowa and directly into the pockets of working families, was supported by only one Iowan member of Congress, Congresswoman Cindy Axne. Sadly, our Republican Senators and each Republican House Representative opposed this measure and joined Governor Kim Reynolds in campaigning against it, calling it a “blue state bailout.”
However, as Republicans in Iowa focus their efforts on tax cuts for the rich and wealthy corporations while diverting funds away from public schools, they are attempting to take credit left and right for the gains delivered in the American Rescue Plan. From broadband and water quality funds to airport and childcare support, they have attempted to steal this victory from the Democrats and President Biden who delivered it.
We know the truth, and together we can make sure all of Iowa knows it too. By sharing our message we will remind voters what we can achieve for our families and hometowns when we elect leaders who work for working families.
Key Research Takeaways
Our research shows that using messages about Biden helping Iowans through the American Rescue Plan Act increased favorable opinions of Biden by 6 points. As well, tying the need for ARPA help to corporate greed and rising prices that families are facing was particularly persuasive among moderates.
The corporate greed message was the clear winner, which drove our numbers the right direction among moderates, rural residents and men, moving Biden’s election prospects in Iowa up 7 points when compared to a placebo message.
The corporate greed message even worked among voters who identify as Republican, especially college educated Republicans in Ames and Des Moines. Overall, when asked who voters would support in the Senate race, the corporate greed message increased support for the Democratic candidate over Senator Grassley by 6 points.
While the ARPA help message performed nearly as well among Democrats, the corporate greed message was the most persuasive. The corporate greed message shifted public opinion against Grassley, even among a small number of Republicans, and it performed well with low turnout voters.
Key Message Guidance
Start with a shared values statement.
Name the problem and define the opposition to our shared value. Don’t repeat the opposition, even to negate. Speak proactively to reframe the issue.
Frame the opposition as a “hurdle” we can overcome, rather than a “barrier” that stops us.
Make voters the protagonists and focus on values.
Provide tangible outcomes.
End with a call to action.
Emotion and repetition are powerful tools to use for every message. They help our allies remember the talking points and stay on message, allowing us to speak as a united front and frame the discussion.
|Iowans know we all deserve a fair shot. But today, that’s just not possible.||Value|
|Wealthy corporations that don’t pay enough are jacking up prices and calling it inflation. President Biden knows we need the cash. His American Rescue Plan money went straight to working families, helping us afford groceries during the pandemic. It’s even increasing childcare, helping us get back to work. If this bill failed, Iowans would have struggled even worse, but Senator Grassley still voted against it.||Define opposition, tie to current events|
|This bill proves we can get what we need. We simply need leaders who will put working families first.||Call to action, outcomes we can achieve|
|Iowans are giving people, but lately, we’ve had less to give. Thankfully, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan put money in our pockets and helped with health care and essential services.||Value |
|Biden’s bill sent Iowa $3.9 billion in relief checks, expanded the child tax credit, provided nutrition assistance, and lowered health premiums. Thanks to those that voted yes, Iowans went to the doctor without the fear of going broke. Senator Grassley didn’t look out for us. He voted against this bill.||Define opposition, tie to current events|
|We need leaders who will support bills like the American Rescue Plan, to help us help each other.||Call to action, outcomes we can achieve|
Sample Letter to the Editor
I raised my kids in Iowa because I thought they’d have a more fair shot at the American dream – owning a home, raising a family, finding a job respects them and pays them what they’re owed. But these days it keeps getting harder. My kids can hardly afford their education debt and jobs today just don’t pay enough. How are we supposed to afford groceries, housing and everything else when the corporations that don’t pay enough are jacking up prices and calling it inflation?
Thank goodness President Biden helped! He knows it’s us – working families – who need the cash. His American Rescue Plan money went straight to working families, helping us afford groceries during the pandemic. It’s even increasing childcare, helping us get back to work. If this bill failed, Iowans would have struggled even worse, but Senator Grassley still voted against it. As a senior Senator – he’s been there for decades! – Grassley should be able to deliver for working families in Iowa. His opposition to this bill is a kick in the gut.
But Biden’s bill proves we can get what we need. We simply need to elect leaders who will put working families first. I encourage all my fellow Iowans to show up for legislators who supported this bill – sadly, only one Iowa Member of Congress did that – Cindy Axne.
Iowans deserve to know where their next meal is coming from. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for many Iowans as food insecurity doubled in our state during the pandemic. That’s why the American Rescue Plan, with funds to keep families afloat, has been crucial! #Iowa
Despite making record profits during the pandemic, wealthy corporations are jacking up their prices. That’s why @POTUS bills like the American Rescue Plan are crucial: they help keep working families afloat!
No Iowan should have to fear losing their home. That’s why the American Rescue Plan with emergency rental assistance was crucial & deserved support from our elected officials! Unfortunately, @ChuckGrassley doesn’t share our priorities… #Iowa
Thanks again to @POTUS & @RepCindyAxne for putting money in Iowans’ pockets with direct payments through the American Rescue Plan! These funds helped feed families, pay bills, and provide security for many! #Iowa