Looking at the latest polling showing Donald Trump rapidly falling behind presumptive Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the November presidential election, former GOP lawmakers and Republican consultants are admitting that the president has driven away independent voters which is dooming his re-election bid.
According to a report from the New York Times by Adam Nagourney, many of the independent voters who helped propel the president into the White House in 2016 are abandoning him now after viewing his antics over the past three and a half years.
As the report notes, the loss of independents leaves the president with a steep uphill climb to hang onto his job.
The report notes that a Times and Siena College poll of registered voters shows Trump’s total of 46 percent who supported him in 2016 declining to 36 percent — and dropping — has Republicans worried.
“Whether Mr. Trump can still expand his support at this point, especially in the battleground states that are crucial to his Electoral College calculus, is an enormous challenge that the president, to date, has shown little interest in meeting,” Nagourney wrote. “Much of the nation has recoiled from Mr. Trump’s brash conduct and harsh language in office, and at the same time has moved to the left on health care, civil rights, same-sex marriage and other issues.”
Appearing on ABC over the weekend, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — who advises the president — admitted that Trump’s re-election hopes are rapidly slipping away.
“He is losing, and if he doesn’t change course, both in terms of the substance of what he is discussing and the way that he approaches the American people, then he will lose,” Christie explained.
Christie’s dour outlook is mirrored by former White House political director Sara Fagen who worked for President George W. Bush who referenced Trump’s meager 17 percent “strong approval” rating among independents.
“It’s not enough to win re-election,” Fagan lamented. “In this environment, it will be difficult to win an election without expanding the number of people who support you.”
“Trump is facing a decidedly different electoral landscape this time around. The Times/Siena poll found 9 percent of registered voters were undecided, and presumably fall into the category of persuadable voters. They, like much of the country, hold unfavorable views of Mr. Trump’s job performance, and particularly his response to the pandemic and to the demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police,” Nagourney wrote, with one 2016 Trump voter admitting he’s jumping off the president’s bandwagon.
“I’m not a huge Biden fan. I think he’s a career politician and a member of the donor class,” said John-Crichton McCutcheon of Florida — a key state for the president.
“But with Trump, things have gotten so bad, I’m going to have to go with Biden, ” he added, with one voter who went for Obama in 2012, and then Trump in ’16, also saying she is switching back again.
“I’m definitely not happy with Trump,” Donna Saylor, 67, of Pennsylvania admitted. “Every time he opens his mouth, it causes trouble. He’s not unifying this country as he should be; he’s dividing it.”
According to Dan Hazelwood, a Republican strategist, Trump’s collapse with independent voters is self-inflicted.
“Right now, Trump’s coalition needs motivation,” he claimed. “The economy and the pandemic have sucked the enthusiasm away. At least 50 percent of America has deep and serious policy concerns with Biden and the Democrats. A ‘choice’ election between two policy directions is the motivation that Trump’s coalition needs, and it is why Biden is trying to be vanilla.”
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