The title question is one that’s clearly on the mind of Congressman Jeff Van Drew this week. As you may recall, he’s the New Jersey Democrat who announced that the impeachment of Donald Trump disgusted him so much that he was switching over to the GOP last December. This made him an immediate favorite around the White House as you might expect and he was quickly invited to a personal meeting with the President for dinner and photo ops. But back home the story was playing out somewhat differently.

Van Drew represents Atlantic City. His district went for Trump by five points in 2016, so you might think the party switch is giving him a boost. That’s possible, but times have changed since the pandemic blew into town. This is looking like an extremely tight race at the moment. And as this analysis from CNN points out, it might wind up being more of a referendum on President Trump than a contest between Van Drew and his Democrat opponent, Amy Kennedy of the famous Kennedy clan.

Van Drew’s Democratic challenger, Amy Kennedy, is a former schoolteacher born and raised in South Jersey; she is also the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The race is only nominally between Kennedy and Van Drew, however. As in down-ballot contests across the country this year, Trump looms large here — perhaps even more so because of the public embrace between Van Drew and the President.

“What’s happening at the top of the ticket is really defining the down-ballot races,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, which recently surveyed the race for New Jersey’s Second Congressional District. “It’s much, much harder this time around than it has been in the past to establish yourself as an independent voice.”

Van Drew has more than a little to worry about. The latest Monmouth poll has him running five points behind Kennedy, 49-44. It’s also worth noting that New Jersey’s Second Congressional District hasn’t been a solid red area for a very long time. The district went for Obama in 2012 before switching to Trump in 2016. Neither was by a massively wide margin.

The other significant factor here is the aforementioned party switch. Normally the power of incumbency is a big factor in a close race, but a part of that magic is the way the incumbent generally has the rock-solid support (and frequent financial backing) of the party. That’s really not the case here. Van Drew is very late to the party – literally – in terms of being a Republican. And before his shocking announcement last year after the impeachment vote, he had been described as being “almost obsessively anti-Trump.” The GOP in New Jersey hasn’t exactly had much time to grow all warm and fuzzy with him.

At the same time, the Democrats see him as having stabbed them in the back. One Democratic voter is quoted in the article as saying he “felt betrayed actually.” It’s hard to imagine many of Van Drew’s former voters feeling much better about it or supporting him this year now that he’s sporting an “R” after his name.

Things may not be quite as bad for Van Drew as the last round of polling indicates. And I would agree that his race will likely come down to how well the President does in that district next Tuesday more than anything else. I’m not anticipating a lot of ticket-splitting anywhere in the country, really. The Republicans and right-leaners who will either eagerly pull the lever for Trump or hold their nose and do so anyway will probably pitch Jeff Van Drew a vote as well. And the Democrats who are willing to back Biden aren’t going to be tossing any votes to “the betrayer.”

Six days to go. We should know soon enough.