Pay attention to the latest Pew poll. It provides an interesting path forward for Donald Trump and the GOP.
The economy, healthcare, and the Supreme Court are three big drivers in the election, but they always are. Go beyond those and look at the next two of the top five. Suddenly, entering the top five for the first time this cycle, “violent crime” is on the rise. It is only a few points behind the coronavirus.
Notice how the Democrats’ shifted their talking in the past few weeks from denying there was any violence in the protests to condemning the violence. Now we know why. But the Democrats were not responsive to that issue at their convention. They neither denounced the violence nor addressed it at all.
It provides an opening for the GOP.
Interestingly, gun control is another issue where the GOP has a potential in with voters. As more and more non-gun owners become gun owners, the GOP now has an advantage in the polling on the issue of gun control. As I have said before, what is another name for a gun owner? Republican.
The GOP also has an advantage on the economy, with more Americans preferring the GOP approach to the Democrat approach.
Now, let’s expand this a bit.
Donald Trump continues to be an anchor for the GOP with a lot of voters having a more positive view of the party than the President. CBS News finds that independent voters gave President Trump a five-point bounce out of the Democrat convention, but independent voters are Republicans too embarrassed to admit it. That suggests the President is consolidating the right ahead of the election, but still has work to do.
However, by making this week’s RNC all about the Trump family, that provides the GOP some ability to distance from the President. The RNC has highlighted that 50% of prime time speakers will be women. But also, 50% will have the last name Trump. This will not be a Republican National Convention so much as it will be a Trump National Convention and every speech will be about what Donald Trump has done and will do, not what the GOP has done or will do.
Ironically, this helps the GOP. As the President rises and falls, insulating the GOP from him helps in suburbia. In Georgia where I am, in Texas, and in several other key GOP states, the GOP brand has better favorability than the President’s own brand. Whether strategic or accident, having a convention that is all about Trump provides some brand separation that can help innoculate Republican candidates from any voter disdain for the President.
It will be interesting to see this convention unfold this week. The GOP is signaling it’ll have a live audience for speeches and a more traditional feel than the Democrats’ Zoom call. The President has taken an active roll in planning the convention. We’re about to see what Donald Trump does best — stage productions.