Trump continues to run strong with voters in the exurbs and rural communities, two regions that helped him become the first Republican nominee to win Wisconsin since 1984, and the economy in the state is booming. But the president’s job approval in the state was a weak 42% in a new poll from Morning Consult.
Suburban women and establishment-minded Republicans view Trump suspiciously, and unlike in 2016, the establishment-friendly Johnson will not be on the ballot to pick up the turnout slack.
A veteran Republican operative in Wisconsin, requesting anonymity in order to speak candidly, described the combination of Trump’s strength with blue-collar voters and Johnson’s appeal with affluent suburbanites as a “magic elixir” that carried both across the finish line three years ago. “It’s important for the Trump campaign to figure out how to repeat that,” this operative said, predicting a competitive fight with the eventual Democratic nominee for the state’s 10 electoral votes.
A senior Trump campaign official said the president’s team was prepared but declined to elaborate on strategy or the progress of its recruitment for a Wisconsin state director. “We will have an efficient and organized operation everywhere. In 2016, we really didn’t have an operation until after the convention, whereas this time, we’re doing it now,” this official said.