The Campaign Report – July 3, 2020

A new Monmouth poll finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in the presidential race nationally, 53% to 41%. Key takeaway: “Half of the nation’s electorate says they have ruled out voting for Donald Trump in November, while 4 in 10 say the same about Joe Biden.”

The latest Monmouth poll finds 21% of registered voters do not have a favorable opinion of either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Mark McKinnon calls this group of voters “The Haters,” since they don’t like either party’s nominee. It’s a segment Trump did very well with in 2016. Exit polls showed Trump ultimately winning their vote over Hillary Clinton, 47% to 30%.

But that’s not happening this time. According to the poll, Biden holds a huge lead over Trump among these voters, 55% to 21%.

As pollster Patrick Murray explained: “Clinton was the insider candidate who approximated an incumbent in many voters’ minds. There is no mistaking who wears that mantle this year. Trump’s problem is that voters who aren’t enamored with either candidate tend to go for change.”

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Texas finds Joe Biden just ahead of Donald Trump in the presidential race, 48% to 46%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. John Cornyn (R) leads challenger MJ Hegar (D), 42% to 35%.

New York Times: “Yet as demoralizing as June was for many Republicans, what was less visible were the frenetic, and often fruitless, attempts by top Republicans to soothe the president and steer him away from self-sabotage, while also manipulating him to serve their own purposes.”

“One Republican official who is in frequent contact with the campaign expressed incredulity at how some aides willfully distort the electoral landscape to mollify Mr. Trump, recalling one conversation in which they assured him he was faring well in Maine, a state where private polling shows he’s losing.”

“Interviews with almost four dozen Republican lawmakers, strategists and administration officials about Mr. Trump’s re-election bid paint a picture of a White House and a re-election effort adrift, at once paralyzed by Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior yet also dependent on him to execute his own Houdini-like political escape.”

James Carville told MSNBC that he believes there’s a “significant chance” that President Trump will drop out of the presidential race. Said Carville: “I think there is a significant chance he doesn’t run. This thing is going so poorly. He’s so far back. It doesn’t make much sense for him to run.”

I don’t see it. What is true is that Trump is trapped. If he had his druthers, Carville is right, he would rather quit and declare himself the Greatest President Evah rather than face defeat at the ballot box. But the second he does that, he is then put in danger of being indicted in several criminal investigations into his own personal and business conduct. So he has to run and hope he wins.

Gabriel Sherman: “With Donald Trump’s approval sinking to Jimmy Carter levels and coronavirus cases spiking across the country, Trump is reluctantly waking up to the grim reality that, if the current situation holds, his reelection is gone. Republicans that have spoken with Trump in recent days describe him as depressed and ‘down in the dumps.’”

“This week, Jacksonville, Florida—where Trump moved the Republican National Convention so he could hold a 15,000-person rally next month—mandated that people wear masks indoors to slow the explosion of COVID-19 cases. According to a Republican working on the convention, the campaign is now preparing to cancel the event so that Trump doesn’t suffer another Tulsa–like humiliation.”

Said the source: “They probably won’t have it. It’s not going to be the soft landing Trump wanted.”

“I’m concerned about voter registration in Mississippi. The blacks are having lots of events for voter registration. People in Mississippi have to get involved, too.” — Mississippi election commissioner Gail Welch, quoted by the Hattiesburg American.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Joe Biden’s currently strong lead in the presidential race is being felt in the suburbs, which if it lasts could imperil Republicans in some of their formerly dark red turf.”

“Texas merits special attention, where as many as 10 Republican-held House seats could become vulnerable if Trump were to lose the state.”

Key takeaway: “We have 11 House rating changes, 10 of which benefit Democrats.”

Eric Bolling of Sinclair asked President Trump to try again to explain his priorities for a second term after flubbing a similar question from Sean Hannity.

Here’s how Trump answered this time: “Well I didn’t hear anybody was upset with it but I will tell you it’s very simple: We’re gonna make America great again. We are doing things that nobody could have done. We’re rebuilt the military; we have a ways to go. We’ve done things for the vets like nobody’s ever seen. We can do even more. We did choice as you know. We did accountability. What we’ve done nobody’s been able to do. But we have more to do. Economic development, jobs, trade deal… the trade deals I’ve made are incredible. We made the great deal with China. Of course, as I said, the ink wasn’t dry before we got hit with the China plague. But we made the deal.”

“Joe Biden’s campaign is assembling hundreds of lawyers nationwide to monitor potential voting issues as part of its extensive voter protection efforts heading into the general election,” CNN reports.

A new Gallup survey finds 65% of Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse — a record high.

The percentage of Americans who believe the situation is getting worse has increased from 48% the preceding week, and from 37% two weeks prior.

“For three years, President Trump has served as the Conspiracy-Theorist-in-Chief, elevating wild and outlandish ideas that once only existed in the dark provinces of the internet,” CNN reports.

“Under his leadership, the Republican Party is now openly embracing candidates of that same ilk — raising the possibility that those ideas will make their way to the halls of Congress.”

“Donald Trump wasn’t halfway through his speech in Tulsa, Okla., and Democratic ad makers in Washington and New York were already cutting footage for an air raid on the slumping president,” Politico reports.

“They didn’t focus on the president’s curious monologue about his difficulties descending a ramp or drinking water at West Point, the small crowd size of the Tulsa event or even his use of the racist term ‘kung flu.’ Instead, the ads zeroed in on Trump’s admission that he urged officials to ‘slow the testing down.’”

“It’s a reflection of a growing consensus among Democrats about what kind of hits on Trump are most likely to persuade swing voters — and which ones won’t. As in 2016, ad makers are focusing on Trump’s character. But unlike four years ago, they are no longer focusing on his character in isolation — rather they are pouring tens of millions of dollars into ads yoking his behavior to substantive policy issues surrounding the coronavirus, the economy and the civil unrest since the death of George Floyd.”

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