Just before the Republican Party bloodbath in Alaska yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a column by Karl Rove trying to buck up the Republican Party as they watch their red tidal wave circling the drain. Even Rove, though, couldn’t help mentioning that one of the Republican Party challenges is that “the national political focus has been on the Mar-a-Lago search for classified documents. This is shifting the midterms from being a referendum on Biden’s failures to a comparison between Biden and Trump, which diminishes the Republican advantage. An Aug. 10 Politico/Morning Consult Poll found independents approved of the search by 47% to 33%. Those are voters Republican candidates must win to maximize GOP midterm victories. To do that they need to change the subject from Mar-a-Lago to a clear explanation of what they will do if elected.” This morning a poll commissioned by the Wall Street Journal updated those numbers a bit. 52% of registered voters agreed that the FBI search of Trump’s lair at Mar-a-Lago “was part of a legal and proper investigation to determine whether former President Trump was involved in any wrongdoing,” and just 41% are buying into the fake GOP “witch hunt” narrative.
This morning, The Journal published a response to Rove’s cheerleading and wishful thinking by John McCormick, analyzing that poll and concluding that Democratic Midterm Prospects Improve as Races Heat Up. Independent voters are abandoning the Republicans. “The Democratic gains come from increased support among independents, women and younger voters. Black and Hispanic voters, who have traditionally favored Democrats heavily, are also more solidly supportive of the party than they were earlier this year. Among political independents, typically the key to victory in close elections, more voters now favor a Democratic candidate for Congress than a Republican, 38% to 35%. In March, Republicans led among independents by 12 percentage points… ‘Republicans were cruising, and Democrats were having a hard time,’ said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted the survey along with Democrat John Anzalone. ‘It’s almost like the abortion issue came along and was kind of like a defibrillator to Democrats.’”
Anzalone, the lead pollster for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, said he thinks the abortion ruling, a summer of mass shootings and additional information revealed about Trump through the congressional hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol have all contributed to improved feelings about Democrats.
“On all of those issues, the Republicans were on the wrong side of public opinion,” he said.
Biden looks like less of a drag on his party’s candidates than earlier this year. His job approval has risen to 45%, up from 42% in March, while 54% disapprove of his performance.
Midterm elections have traditionally been viewed as a referendum on the current occupant of the White House, but Trump’s high profile in the nomination season and the search of his Florida home have kept him at the forefront of the American political conversation.
Favorable views of Trump declined slightly, and Biden leads him in a hypothetical rematch of the last presidential election, 50% to 44%. The two men had been tied in March. In the test match-up, Biden leads among independents, 46% to 38%.
…Voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on ensuring that the rich and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, lowering prescription drug costs, reducing gun violence and improving education, the poll found. They trust Republicans over Democrats to reduce crime, secure the border and fix the immigration system.
Axios’ Mike Allen didn’t beat around the bush this morning: “Top Republicans' biggest private fear— that November's midterms will turn on public opinion about Trump, not inflation and crime— is unfolding across the political landscape. Trump is dominating the news, picking Trump-like candidates in primaries— and shaping the views and rhetoric of elected officials, and those hoping to become one. That’s why McConnell is telling people his party is blowing a golden opportunity to win the Senate.. It’s also why Republicans no longer feel so confident of a landslide in the House… GOP midterm candidates— who want to talk solely about the prices of gas and groceries— now must contend with background music that once again is Trump, Trump, Trump.”