President Donald Trump's polling numbers are looking very grim ahead of the upcoming presidential election, and even internal Republican data show he's struggling mightily.
The New York Times reports that "private G.O.P. surveys" show that Trump "is trailing not just in must-win battlegrounds" but is "repelling independents to the point where Mr. Biden has drawn closer in solidly red states, including Montana, Kansas and Missouri."
Trump's standing among voters has made Republicans particularly worried about the so-called "Sun Belt" states where they have been politically dominant for decades, including Georgia, Texas, and Arizona.
All of these states, notes the Times, have been hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"Many of the Sun Belt states seemingly within Mr. Biden’s reach resisted the most stringent public-health policies to battle the coronavirus," the paper writes. "As a result, states like Arizona, Georgia and Texas faced a powerful wave of infections for much of the summer, setting back efforts to revive commercial activity."
The Times also writes that a loss in this region could finally force the GOP to rethink its approach to electoral politics.
"If Mr. Trump loses across the South and West, it would force a much deeper introspection on the right about Trump and Trumpism -- and their electoral future in the fastest-growing and most diverse part of the country," the paper writes.