The Campaign Report – 4/4/2020

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds a majority of Americans, 54%, disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the response to the coronavirus, while 43% approve.

Here are some striking new numbers from the Navigator tracking poll:

  • Trump’s approval rate for handling the coronavirus down 12 points in the last week, from +10 (52% to 42%) to -2 (47% to 49%).
  • A majority of Americans — 51% — say Trump isn’t doing enough right now, up 10 points (from 41%) since last week.
  • Americans increasingly see Trump as dishonest about the pandemic: 12-point swing in honesty since early last week, from +1 (45% to 44%) to -11 (42% to 54%).
  • 61% of Americans — including a third of Republicans — describe Trump’s response to coronavirus as “unprepared.”

But here’s the finding that should send shock waves through the White House: 40% of those who voted for Trump in 2016 now say he didn’t take coronavirus seriously enough early on, up a whopping 17 points in the last week.

Joe Biden also leads Donald Trump in 2 new national polls:

Joe Biden said that “he will announce a committee to oversee his vice presidential selection process and is already thinking about whom he’d choose to join his Cabinet,” the AP reports.

“Biden, who holds a significant lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race but has yet to officially clinch the nomination, also said he’s spoken to Sanders to let him know he’d be proceeding with the vice presidential vetting process.”

“Calling Sanders a ‘friend,’ Biden said, ‘I don’t want him to think I’m being presumptuous’ by choosing a running mate. But he added that the vice presidential vetting process ‘takes time,’ so he has to begin this month.”

Matt Lewis: “Springtime may be a time for rebirth and hope, but it’s also a time when heavily bankrolled presidents vanquish the out-party nominee.”

“Except, this year, that’s impossible. Trump clearly has his hands full with a major crisis. What is more, the seriousness of this pandemic (and the fact that Trump has already botched his handling of it) makes it very hard to deploy his brand of scorched-earth mockery. Doing so would not just provoke a potential backlash for its unseemliness, it would also reinforce the notion that Trump isn’t fully focused on saving lives.”

“In essence, the coronavirus did what no imaginable force could possibly do: It neutralized Donald Trump’s ability to humiliate his opponent, while giving his opponent the perfect excuse to lay low.”

“Punctuating the White House task force briefing Friday, President Trump said adamantly that the general election would still take place Nov. 3, dismissing any suggestion of mail-in voting,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Trump: “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting. People should vote with ID, voter ID, I think voter ID is very important. The reason they don’t want voter ID is because they intend to cheat.”

He added: “It shouldn’t be mail-in voting. It should be you go to booth and you proudly display yourself, you send it in the mail… all sorts of bad things can happen… by the time it gets in and is tabulated.”

“Trump did not provide any evidence to back up his assertion and immediately ended Friday’s news conference after discussing the topic.”

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post reports that Trump himself has requested a vote-by-mail ballot for the Florida Republican presidential primary.

“A federal judge Thursday kept next week’s presidential primary on track but allowed more time to count absentee ballots after excoriating Wisconsin officials for not doing more to protect voters during the coronavirus pandemic,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley will allow absentee ballots to be counted if they arrive by April 13 — six days after election day. He also gave people until Friday to request absentee ballots and loosened another voting rule as people turn to absentee voting in record numbers.”

BUT…. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) “is calling lawmakers in to stop people from going to the polls Tuesday to vote and instead mail ballots in an effort to prevent thousands of people from being exposed to coronavirus,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“Evers on Friday called a special legislative session for 4 p.m. Saturday to convert Tuesday’s election entirely to a mail-in election, a change he called for a week ago, but state election officials said was too late to accomplish and Republican lawmakers rejected.”

An internal poll in Georgia conducted for the U.S. Senate campaign of Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) finds President Trump just ahead of Joe Biden in a general election match up, 48% to 46%, with another 6% undecided.

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading John James (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 38%.

“Pete Buttigieg, who rose from obscurity to narrowly win the Iowa caucuses before dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary last month, has taken some of the first steps toward outlining his post-campaign future,” the New York Times reports.

“Buttigieg is forming both a political action committee, called Win the Era, and an affiliated nonprofit group.”

“Donors have been told that the PAC will support and endorse candidates who represent generational change, specifically in down-ballot races, in hopes of helping to create a “pipeline” for the party. The groups will also promote issues such as climate change and cybersecurity.”

“Top Republicans warned Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) that he was sabotaging his career. Supercharged fundraising numbers in his GOP primary race show they may have been on to something.” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Kentucky Republican, who angered President Trump when he forced House members to return to D.C. to pass the $2 trillion stimulus bill, is now back home in Garrison, Ky., fighting to stay in Congress ahead of the state’s June primary. Lawmakers of both parties called him reckless, and President Trump termed him a ‘third rate Grandstander’ and said he should be kicked out of the GOP.”

Said Massie: “I thought I might be signing my political death sentence. But I did it for principled reasons.”

Daily Beast: “The Democratic Party’s decision to postpone this summer’s presidential nominating convention over concerns about the longevity of the coronavirus outbreak has put a pot of money a bit further out of reach for the presumptive Democratic nominee. That’s because instead of getting access to funds for the general election on the initial convention date—July 16—Biden must wait until mid-August, when the convention now is planned to go forward in Milwaukee.”

Wall Street Journal: “More than a dozen states have delayed nominating contests in presidential and down-ballot races due to the new coronavirus outbreak, but Ohio’s move in mid-March was the most jarring for campaigns—the state’s governor decided to postpone in-person voting the night before the scheduled primary date.”

“Many campaigns budget to the primary since fundraising typically gets easier once a candidate becomes the nominee and tends to receive more help from the political party.”

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) sold stock in an online travel booking company immediately before the Trump administration announced a ban on air travel from Europe, Bloomberg reports.

Loeffler had acquired the stock just days earlier.

“Public health experts are increasingly worried that Americans are underestimating how long the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt everyday life in the country, warning that the Trump administration’s timelines are offering many a false sense of comfort,” STAT reports.

Meanwhile, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds 44% of Americans they think they will be able to resume their regular routine by June 1.

“President Trump’s political operation is launching a multimillion-dollar legal campaign aimed at blocking Democrats from drastically changing voting rules in response to the coronavirus outbreak,” Politico reports.

“In the past several weeks, the reelection campaign and the RNC have helped to oversee maneuvering in a handful of battleground states with an eye toward stopping some Democratic efforts to alter voting laws, and to bolster Trump. The mobilization is being closely coordinated with Republicans at the state and local levels.”

“The Trump campaign and RNC are actively engaged in litigation in Wisconsin, where the parties are at loggerheads over an array of issues including voter identification, and in New Mexico, where the battle involves vote-by-mail. The skirmishing has also spread across key states like Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the well-organized Trump apparatus has fought over changes that could sway the outcome of the election.”

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