Internal GOP polling data baring Trump’s weak numbers in key battleground districts were kept under wraps by The National Republican Congressional Committee at recent retreats for Republican lawmakers, sources told the Post. NRCC staffers reportedly held back the bad news even when a member of Congress asked directly about Trump’s standing at a retreat last month for GOP House members, according to the newspaper.
The Post later obtained the full results, revealing that Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the “core districts.” In addition, nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of him than those who had a strongly favorable one in those areas, the newspaper reported.
The internal NRCC poll found that President Joe Biden was perilously (for the GOP) popular in core battleground districts, with 54% favorability. Vice President Kamala Harris was also more popular than Trump.
Trump’s weak numbers were reportedly also sharply downplayed at a retreat in March for ranking GOP committee chairs. Both situations revealed that the GOP leadership was eager to hide information to dodge the truth about Trump and the possible damage he could wreak on future elections. The debate over Trump’s potentially negative impact on swing districts is likely to escalate as vulnerable Republicans prepare for reelection.
The poll numbers were part of an extensive story in the Post about Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and her battle with colleagues over Trump. She has repeatedly bashed the former president for his lie that the presidential election was rigged, and for his incitement of the Capitol insurrection. Trump’s weak numbers could further fuel her fight. Cheney’s dissent may result in her removal from the House leadership in an upcoming vote Wednesday.
Despite the internal numbers — and Trump’s loss in the presidential election — the Republican Party appears to be marching into his camp more strongly than ever.
Yet GOP leaders appear at a loss about about where else to turn. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared on Fox News Thursday night that the Republican Party “can’t grow without” Trump. “There is no construct where the party can be successful without him,” Graham said.
But Cheney warned in a Post op-ed earlier this week: “The Republican Party is at a turning point. Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”
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