The Political Report – August 30, 2023

A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in Georgia finds Donald Trump led the GOP field of presidential contenders with 57%, followed by Ron DeSantis a distant second at 15%.

Every other contender was mired in single digits, while 14% of the respondents were undecided.

Unflattering portraits of Biden and Trump emerge clearly in a new AP-NORC poll, which asked an open-ended question about what comes to mind when people think of them.

“For Biden, the largest share of U.S. adults — including both Democrats and Republicans — mentioned his age. At 80, Biden is just three years older than Trump, but many Americans expressed real concerns about his ability to continue as president.”

“Trump, meanwhile, has been indicted in four cases featuring 91 total criminal counts and elicits words such as ‘corrupt’ and ‘crooked’ (named by 15%), along with ‘bad’ and other generally negative comments (11%). Not far behind are words like ‘liar’ and ‘dishonest; (8%). Another 8% offered generally positive comments like ‘good,’ though.”

An internal poll conducted for the Trump campaign finds Donald Trump leading the GOP primary race with 58%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 13%, Nikki Haley at 7% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 4%.

“Polls conducted at the behest of presidential campaigns are typically taken with a grain of salt compared to polls conducted independently, though it’s hardly alone in finding Trump with a massive lead.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “The primary reason for the statistical tie in the race is that Trump is holding onto more of his 2020 vote than Biden. In the NYT poll, 91% of Trump’s 2020 voters are supporting him again while only 87% percent of Biden’s voters plan to vote for him in 2024. Among Biden’s 2020 voters, 2% plan to vote for Trump, 4% claim they won’t if the race is between Biden and Trump, and 5% intend to vote for a candidate other than Biden or Trump. Trump loses 2% to Biden, 3% to another candidate, and 2% say they won’t vote.”

“Relying on self-reported voter history can be a little noisy, but Biden’s approval rating demonstrates that he has some work to do with his own coalition. Only 77% percent of Democrats in the poll have a favorable opinion of Biden, compared to 80% of Republicans for Trump.”

“This may seem counterintuitive, but I find these numbers encouraging. Convincing people who already voted for Biden to vote for him again instead of sitting out the election or throwing their vote away on a third party candidate isn’t easy, but it is doable.”

Also interesting: “President Biden is in better shape politically than President Obama was at this juncture.”

 “The real Slim Shady has stood up – and has told 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy to stand down, and stop rapping to his tunes on the campaign trail,” the Daily Mail reports.

DESANTIS 2024. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign on Monday dismissed Donald Trump’s suggestion that he had plans to drop out of the 2024 race, Axios reports.

Trump posted on Truth Social that there was a “rumor” DeSantis would drop out of the presidential race and instead run against Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

“Republicans have waged a decades-long battle to blow up the campaign-finance laws that rein in big-money spending. Now, they are making a play that could end in their biggest victory since the Citizens United ruling in 2010,” Politico reports.

“The GOP is growing increasingly optimistic about their prospects in a little-noticed lawsuit that would allow official party committees and candidates to coordinate freely by removing current spending restrictions. If successful, it would represent a seismic shift in how tens of millions of campaign dollars are spent and upend a well-established political ecosystem for TV advertising.”

“Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries has installed two loyalists at the flailing New York State Democratic Party — in the hopes that his home state can carry him to the Speakership,” Semafor reports.

“Jeffries’ former campaign manager, Lizzy Weiss, will head the battleground effort, and Jeffries’ longtime ally, André Richardson, is a senior advisor at a new arm of the state party. Jeffries, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gov. Kathy Hochul first announced the new initiative to donors they hope will underwrite the coordinated campaign in June over a Zoom call.”

“The new effort is a muscle flex by one of the most powerful Democrats in the country to refocus his home state’s Democratic party on 2024 House races.”

“High-profile Democratic governors are stumping for President Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign and simultaneously auditioning to become the party’s next standard-bearer,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Their efforts signal they are unlikely to cede that role in 2028 to Vice President Kamala Harris, whose sluggish approval ratings have raised doubts among some donors and party officials about whether she can effectively succeed Biden.”

RAMASWAMY v. HALEY 2024. “GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy pushed back against fellow Republican candidate Nikki Haley’s attacks on his foreign policy positions by targeting her Indian name,” The Messenger reports.

Said Ramaswamy: “Keep lying, Nimarata Randhawa. The desperation is showing.”

“Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy said Sunday that, if he wins the 2024 election, he would ask former President Donald Trump to serve as his advisor and mentor,” the HuffPost reports.

BIDEN 2024. “President Biden’s re-election team has officially launched its campaign headquarters in downtown Wilmington, Del., and the first set of aides moved there this past month,” Axios reports.

SUAREZ 2024. NBC News: “Suarez hasn’t held a public campaign event since an Aug. 17 swing through New Hampshire, and his official campaign account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, hasn’t published a new post since Tuesday, the day after the debate lineup was announced.”

TRUMP 2024. Nate Cohn: “If the trial goes as scheduled and lasts ‘no longer’ than four to six weeks, as the government said in a filing, around two-thirds of the delegates to the Republican convention will be awarded during the trial of the party’s front-runner but, in all likelihood, before a verdict.”

“A March trial could easily become the center of gravity of the primary season — the fact that structures the opportunities available to Mr. Trump and his rivals. It could even start to affect the calculations of the candidates today.”

 “This is disastrous for the Republican Party. And this is why I’ve been saying right from the time I get into the race, that given his personal conduct, given the stuff that he did himself, that he simply can’t be our nominee.”— Former Gov. Chris Christie, on CNN, about Donald Trump’s criminal trials during the Republican presidential primaries.

 “The Michigan Republican Party is starving for cash. A group of prominent activists — including a former statewide candidate — was hit this month with felony charges connected to a bizarre plot to hijack election machines. And in the face of these troubles, suspicion and infighting have been running high. A recent state committee meeting led to a fistfight, a spinal injury and a pair of shattered dentures,” the New York Times reports.

“This turmoil is one measure of the way Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election have rippled through his party.”

NASHVILLE MAYOR. The Democratic firm Show Me Victories, which says it does not have a client, released a poll last week showing Democrat Freddie O’Connell beating Republican Alice Rolli 58-40 ahead of the Sept. 14 nonpartisan runoff. This is the first survey we’ve seen here.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT. Williams College told Rhode Island congressional candidate Don Carlson (D) in 2019 “he couldn’t return to teach there in the future after administrators were alerted to an overture he made to a student,” WPRI reports.

“Carlson’s interaction with the student, a graduating senior, was eventually reported to Williams officials by a second student, who felt Carlson’s actions were inappropriate for a professor.”

UTAH 2ND DISTRICT. Dan Jones & Associates gives us our very first poll of the Sept. 5 special GOP primary, though the survey was already about two weeks old when it was released Sunday. The survey for the Deseret News and the University of Utah finds former state Rep. Becky Edwards leading former RNC member Bruce Hough 32-11, with another 9% going to former congressional aide Celeste Maloy.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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