Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Women break with Trump and the GOP in 'historic' numbers

Tim Alberta writing at politico.com shares 4 Funny Feelings About 2020.

Trump might lose women voters by numbers we’ve never imagined.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The president has a problem with female voters. Yes, this has been observed by every pollster, every political professional, in both parties over the past four years. Trump has been briefed on it—time and again—by his team, who warned him that the 2018 Democratic wave could repeat itself without a course correction. But what we’re seeing now, in polling conducted by both parties, isn’t a wave. It isn’t even a tsunami. It’s something we don’t have a name for, because we’ve never seen anything like it. The president’s standing with women voters of every race, every educational background, every socioeconomic stratum, has fallen off. But when it comes to the white, college-educated women who made up a sizable chunk of Trump’s base—he won 44 percent of them against Hillary Clinton—his numbers have collapsed entirely.

The president, seeing ominous signs of this earlier in the year, sought to scare these voters back into his camp, warning of an assault on the suburbs and violence visiting their families and communities. But this tactic appears to have backfired. Recent internal polling from Republicans and Democrats alike suggests that Trump’s law-and-order messaging alienated far more women than it attracted.

This isn’t just a problem for Trump in purple states. Last week, I heard from one of the smartest Republicans alive, a longtime party operator who lives in a state Trump carried by double digits. He told me the polling he was seeing there was something out of a nightmare; these were numbers he never expected to see in his lifetime. The only thing more dizzying than that? I had another conversation, with another dependable red-state Republican, the very next day, and heard the very same thing. Both of these men were sounding the alarm, alerting me that Trump could actually lose their states, and would at the very least drag down a number of down-ballot Republicans, because women have turned on the GOP at a historic clip. Trump lost women by 13 points to Clinton, according to exit polls, and Republicans have long worried that the figure could climb into the high teens. There is now genuine worry that the margin could explode north of 20 points—the biggest gender gap in modern election history.

Following are excerpts from more of Alberta’s funny feelings.

Trump fatigue is peaking at the wrong time for Trump.

Naturally, there was some chatter over the weekend that the president’s Covid–19 diagnosis might engender sympathy for him, humanizing a man who strains to conceal his vulnerabilities and project machismo to the masses. That dynamic could very well be in play. But from what I’ve seen, it will be washed out—if not overtaken—by an alternative reaction to the spectacle unfolding around Trump’s illness: fatigue.

It’s impossible to quantify how tired Americans are of this presidency. But it’s a constant theme in the conversations I have with voters, including die-hard Trump supporters. …

The “silent majority” in this election is not who you think it is.

… I don’t believe there is a “silent majority”—that is, a group whose views are kept quiet—for either Trump or Biden.

I do believe, however, there is a silent majority against Trump. In my travels, this group could be considered “the kid curmudgeons.” They are younger Gen Xers and older millennials: college-educated folks ages roughly 28 to 42, who are not ideological, who are not partisan, who consume little political news, who rarely if ever vote, but who might flood the polls this fall simply because Donald Trump annoys them.

Democrats will regret placing so much emphasis on absentee voting.

… the combination of the pandemic and the looser regulations all but guarantees a surge of absentee voting unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. And that’s fine: Despite what the president says, there is no evidence of absentee ballots being especially susceptible to fraud or manipulation. What are absentee ballots especially susceptible to? Disqualification. Every election cycle, many thousands of absentee ballots are rejected because they fail to meet certain criteria: They are not signed, or properly sealed, or they arrive too late.

… Because Democrats are far likelier to vote absentee than are Republicans, the problem is uniquely daunting for Biden. …

… knowing that a sound victory on Election Night is the surest way to prevent any shenanigans from the sitting president—and knowing that a protracted count over several weeks could easily fuel conspiracy theories and possibly even spark civil unrest—it would behoove Democratic leaders to urge their constituents to vote in-person if at all possible.

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