A Stunning Shift in U.S. Public Opinion
Author: Greg Valliere
June 15, 2020
WE BEGIN THIS MORNING BY QUOTING veteran GOP polltaker Frank Luntz, who said last week that “in my 35 years of polling, I’ve never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago. The consequences politically, economically, and socially are too great to fit into a tweet.”
THE ISSUE, OF COURSE, IS RACE: By roughly 2-to-1 margins, the public now thinks African-Americans have been mistreated by the police. The public overwhelmingly supports the largely peaceful protests in the past week. And Republicans sense a seismic shift: “We are still wrestling with America’s original sin,” Mitch McConnell said last week.
NASCAR GETS IT, THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE GETS IT, but Donald Trump seemingly does not get it. He talks about siccing “viscous dogs” on protesters, and he echoes a distant, failed president, Richard Nixon, who ran in 1968 as a “law and order” candidate.
AND — INCREDIBLY, IN LESS THAN A MONTH — Trump has become the clear underdog in this fall’s election. His ratings on handling the pandemic are barely mediocre; his ratings on handling racial issues are terrible.
REPUBLICANS WE TALK WITH acknowledge that Trump is tone-deaf on race; they have written off the House and fear that the White House may fall; their only hope is to carry the Senate by perhaps one seat, an increasingly difficult task.
TRUMP’S DEFAULT MECHANISM is to fire up his base in cities like Tulsa, where his planned rally this Saturday has generated alarm from health experts because there can’t possibly be social distancing. But rallies boost Trump’s spirits and fuel his belief that he’s ahead in the election.
THERE WON’T BE ANOTHER LOCKDOWN, but the refusal of many people to wear masks or socially distance is reckless; more infections are certain. Dr. Anthony Fauci has been sidelined — his warnings are ignored, not just by conservatives in Alabama but by young people who party in St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT Congress will pass another massive spending bill, which will help economic growth. White House adviser Peter Navarro thinks the measure could cost $2 trillion; we think $1.5 trillion might be the upper limit.
CONGRESS WILL PASS A POLICE REFORM BILL and more stimulus, but that won’t dispel a growing sense in the country that both 2020 candidates are out of touch. Trump looked shockingly frail at West Point on Saturday, his 74th birthday — but we’re stuck with a 74-year-old running against a 77-year old as America staggers through its worst crisis in decades.
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