Trump’s campaign pollster: McConnell’s favorability collapses among Republicans, now -17
A companion piece to last night’s post about that gruesome PPP poll out of Kentucky that had McConnell’s approval at, ah, 18/74. No typo: 18/74. In his home state. A red state. Tony Fabrizio, who worked for Trump’s campaign last year, decided to test McConnell’s standing among Republicans nationally, not just in Kentucky. How did he stack up to the president and to his counterpart in the House, Paul Ryan?
How does a 25-point net drop in two months grab you?
If there was any doubt whether the GOP base would primarily blame Trump or McConnell for the failure of “skinny repeal” in the Senate (and there was never much doubt), that should remove the last shreds. This news won’t help McConnell either:
In a series of tweets this month, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. McConnell publicly, then berated him in a phone call that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.
During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.
Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.
If rank and file Republicans come to view Trump and McConnell as an either/or proposition, guess which one they’ll choose. There’s a spillover effect from that on approval of Congress, too:
From 68/32 in June to 54/46 now. Oof. Trump had better be out there nonstop next fall banging the drum for Republicans to turn out, as I don’t think the ol’ magnetic McConnell charisma is going to get it done this time. Although note that Trump has slipped too among GOP voters, if not nearly as much as Congress has. A 75/25 split among the president’s own party sounds strong, but it isn’t really; Will Jordan of YouGov notes that that’s about what Bush was pulling after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Oh, one other number from Fabrizio: Asked about Steve Bannon’s departure, Republicans split 30/7 on whether it made them more or less likely to support Trump. Forty-eight percent said it didn’t matter at all. That looks like good news for the president, but remember that the seven percent who said it makes them less likely to support the president are probably from Trump’s core Breitbart base while the 30 percent who say it makes them more likely may well be from the Trump-skeptic contingent of the GOP who are disinclined to support him regardless. Could be a misstep.