As poll data has not been particularly inspiring of late for current White House incumbent Donald Trump, some Republican operatives have reportedly been showing increased anxiety about the US president’s re-election prospects in November, reported Fox News.
Some GOP operatives are even believed to be floating the possibility that if poll numbers don’t rebound, Trump could mull dropping out of the race.
BREAKING— (thread)GOP operatives are for the first time raising the possibility that @realDonaldTrump could drop out of the race if his poll numbers don’t rebound. Over the weekend I spoke to a sample of major players; one described Trumps current psyche as “fragile.” I’m— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) June 28, 2020
“It’s too early, but if the polls continue to worsen, you can see a scenario where he drops out”, a source is cited as saying by the outlet.
Another GOP operative was cited as casting doubt on the likelihood of such a turn of events, adding:
“I’ve heard the talk but I doubt it’s true… My bet is, he drops if he believes there’s no way to win”.
Trouble in the Polls
Polling data released on 25 June in six crucial general election battleground states indicated that Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, was outperforming Donald Trump.
Surveys conducted by Siena College for The New York Times showed the presumptive Democratic nominee leading Trump 47-36 percent among registered voters in Michigan, 50-40 percent in Pennsylvania, and 49-38 percent in Wisconsin.
The New York Times / Siena College Poll: Biden Leads Trump in Six Key Battleground States https://t.co/an3ESnj7vq— SienaResearch (@SienaResearch) June 25, 2020
Biden was shown leading Trump nationally by nearly 10 points in the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls, up from a four-point lead in early May.
An average compiled by RealClearPolitcs had Biden ahead in six key battleground states, with an 8.6 point margin in Michigan, 8 points in Wisconsin, 6.3 points in Pennsylvania, 6.2 points in Florida, 4 points in Arizona, and 1.4 points in North Carolina, all of which Trump won in 2016.
Trump and Biden each need 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Donald Trump’s lacklustre poll numbers are believed to be a reflection of the criticism targeting his administration over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the White House's response to the ongoing demonstrations that started after the death of African-American man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May.
However, analysts emphasise that in the past, polls have often been “off the mark”, citing the most recent example of the 2016 election, when Donald Trump trailed Hillary Clinton in nearly all the polls leading up to the general election prior to his surprise triumph.
‘Granddaddy of Fake News’
In response to the speculations, the Trump campaign has dismissed rumours the president would consider dropping out of the race.
“This is the granddaddy of fake news. Everyone knows that media polling has always been wrong about President Trump - they undersample Republicans and don’t screen for likely voters - in order to set false narratives. It won’t work. There was similar fretting in 2016 and if it had been accurate, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House right now”, said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.
On Sunday the campaign issued a memo in the wake of the lacklustre poll data, denying claims that the president’s re-election chances were in jeopardy.
While questioning the methodology resorted to by most major polls, the campaign also presented data showing an alleged less-than-enthusiastic Biden approval rating in some key battleground states.
“The president’s campaign has repeatedly called into question the validity of such polling, based on methodology, party representation in the sample, wording of questions, and other factors”.
The campaign made reference to the presidential elections of 2016, underscoring that mainstream news media has typically resorted to polling financed by their own operations to “set a narrative that conforms with their own worldviews”.