When President Donald Trump tells his base that the polls are wrong and Republicans are poised to win big on Election Day, many seem to believe him.
According to the results of a leaked internal GOP poll obtained by Bloomberg, about half of the party — including a majority of Trump’s most ardent supporters — do not see the need in turning out to vote in the upcoming midterms.
The president has predicted major gains for Republican candidates across the nation, a forecast at odds with nearly all major polls.
“Great night for Republicans!” Trump tweeted after California’s primary election in June. “Congratulations to John Cox on a really big number in California. He can win. Even Fake News CNN said the Trump impact was really big, much bigger than they ever thought possible. So much for the big Blue Wave, it may be a big Red Wave. Working hard!”
Great night for Republicans! Congratulations to John Cox on a really big number in California. He can win. Even Fake News CNN said the Trump impact was really big, much bigger than they ever thought possible. So much for the big Blue Wave, it may be a big Red Wave. Working hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
That narrative seems to resonate with a sizable portion of the GOP voter pool, a trend that has some party analysts worried about depressed voter turnout.
Despite multiple predictions of widespread Democratic victories, leading to the party’s likely control of the House of Representatives, the Republican National Committee survey found that about 50 percent of Republicans believe their party will retain control of both chambers of Congress after Election Day.
The number is even higher — 57 percent — for those who say they are strong supporters of the president.
Overall, 71 percent of voters think it is extremely or somewhat likely for Democrats to see major electoral gains in November.
“We need to make real the threat that Democrats have a good shot of winning control of Congress,” party officials warned in the report.
According to the RNC, the president’s rhetoric on the issue is only part of the reason why about half of Republicans feel complacent about the upcoming election.
“While a significant part of that lack of intensity is undoubtedly due to these voters’ sentiments toward the President, it may also be partly because they don’t believe there is anything at stake in this election,” the report explained.
The RNC pointed to largely inaccurate forecasts ahead of the 2016 presidential election as another reason Republican voters are less likely to trust the current trends.
“Put simply, they don’t believe that Democrats will win the House,” the authors wrote. “(Why should they believe the same prognosticators who told them that Hillary was going to be elected President?)”
The report, which detailed a poll that ended on Sept. 2, also cited the GOP’s deep deficit in generic ballot polling and “a wide gender gap and generation gap” as additional issues the party must face in this year’s midterms.
In a frank admission, the authors concluded that the Democratic Party “holds an image advantage” over Republicans.
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