Internal GOP polling data revealing Trump’s weak numbers in key battleground districts was kept under wraps by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) 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.
The Post obtained the full results of the party’s data, which found that Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in “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, compared to Trump’s 41%. 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 GOP ranking members of congressional committees. 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. While Trump’s weak numbers could theoretically bolster her fight, Cheney’s dissent may result in her removal from House leadership in an upcoming vote.
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, and GOP leaders appear at a loss about where else to turn.
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.”