There has not been enough polling to indicate whether or not this latest cycle of violence and protest will move the needle when others have not. But Republicans are making a case that this time might be different.
“My sense is that it will have a spillover effect into the suburbs and begin to scare people who live along the Main Line,” said Charlie Gerow, a longtime Republican strategist in the state, referring to an upscale set of commuter towns. Gerow also noted that there have been reports of scattered looting beyond the city lines. “The proximity to Election Day makes this a little different,” he said. “You have a small — and I will admit it is very small —amount of people who are undecided or who are Republican but leaning Biden who now have to confront the fact that Biden refused to talk about the riots at the Democrat National Convention. And these riots will take a definite share of the vote if people are scared or even intimidated to leave their house and have not yet early voted.”
Democrats inside and outside the Biden campaign have said that they don’t think the unrest, which has included violence in the streets and the looting of big-box stores, will necessarily hinder their prospects. Voting has surged in the city since the start of early voting last week, and many people have waited in line for hours in the neighborhoods that saw unrest this week.
Indeed, many organizers working on the race think there’s a possibility that the shooting could further galvanize people to vote, much as it galvanized them to protest.