Biden's polling should scare the daylights out of the GOP
He's more popular in Texas than Republican elected officials, including Abbott, Cruz and Cornyn
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The ousting of Congresswoman Liz Cheney from the GOP leadership is upon us. And we now know one big reason why Cheney — who is not someone with a history of being principled — took a stand: She saw polling data that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hid from House Republicans, and which looked alarming for the GOP.
That polling, conducted for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, had been presented by GOP leaders at two different GOP members’ meetings, with missing components. What was kept hidden was Joe Biden’s strength in key battleground districts, and Donald Trump’s abysmal weaknesses among the same voters heading into ‘22, which show that embracing him will be a disaster for the GOP.
Just yesterday an Associated Press poll showed Biden with an overall approval rating nationwide of 63%, with just 36% disapproval. This was in line with other recent polls showing his approval at 60% or in the high 50s, and it means that even some Trump supporters are happy with the president. On his response to the coronavirus pandemic Biden gets 71% approval, with almost half of Republican voters — a smaller, shrunken party, now representing only 25% of the electorate, per Pew Research — approving.
Meanwhile, in the state of Texas Biden is as popular or edges out statewide elected officials, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. While Biden has a 44% approval, Governor Greg Abbott is at 43% and Senator John Cornyn is only at 31% , while Senator Ted Cruz is at 43% and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is at 35%.
Of course, the sets of voters backing them are different — Biden gets overwhelming support from Democrats, while the the GOP officials are drawing the bulk of their support from Republicans. But it does show the strength of the president in a red state and the weaknesses there of GOP officials, who are losing the support of independents.
Sure, it’s still very early, and much could happen. But Biden is showing a consistency in his polling that was true even during the Democratic nomination process and then during the election. He deals with a crisis head on, admits when he’s wrong and changes course when his own base makes the case. It wouldn’t be shocking, absent some major screw up or unforeseen event, to see this polling continue for a while.
Per the Washington Post, which was leaked the full data of the polling Liz Cheney was alarmed by and which McCarthy hid from his GOP House colleagues:
When staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee rose to explain the party’s latest polling in core battleground districts, they left out a key finding about Trump’s weakness, declining to divulge the information even when directly questioned about Trump’s support by a member of Congress, according to two people familiar with what transpired.
Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts, according to the full polling results, which were later obtained by The Washington Post. Nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of the former president as had a strongly favorable one.
Cheney, the Post reported, was very concerned, “she later told others, in part because Republican campaign officials had also left out bad Trump polling news at a March retreat for ranking committee chairs.” The polling data indicated, as HuffPost noted, that Joe Biden is “perilously” popular in key districts the GOP took back in ‘20 and needs to keep, and others where GOP House members are vulnerable.
Perilously popular. I love that.
Obviously Cheney sees why this is very bad for the GOP not only in the long-term but even in the short term. McCarthy and others are worried about losing their own seats in a primary if they don’t embrace Trump and he then backs a Trumpist primary challenger against them.
This is actually not party over country, as we’ve been saying for the past few years. It’s now, more precisely, personal ambition over party. They know that embracing Trump will likely be a disaster for their own party but they don’t want to lose their own seats. So the risky strategy they’re going with is to hug Trump, promote ugly culture wars such as attacking immigrants and transgender people, and push voter restrictions in the states, hoping to keep Democrats from voting.
Just because it’s risky doesn’t meant it won’t work. The GOP is now truly intent on stealing elections, desperate and willing to do whatever it takes. While it’s good to know about this secret polling, and see Biden’s popularity soar nationally and even in red states, none of us should for a minute think Democrats don’t need to take aggressive action.
Precisely because Republicans are willing to go this far — knowing how bad the polling is — is why it’s a do or die moment for Democrats, who must reform the filibuster, pass voting rights legislation (and much other legislation) and blunt the GOP’s blatant attempt to subvert democracy.
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