According to the RNC study, completed on Sept. 2 by the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, most voters believe Democrats will win back the House—just not Republican voters. Fully half of self-identified Republicans don’t believe Democrats are likely to win back the House. And within that group, 57 percent of people who describe themselves as strong Trump supporters don’t believe Democrats have a chance (37 percent believe they do).And why do they think that? Because Trump tells them so. At every rally he insists that the country loves Republicans and they will probably increase their majority, not lose it:
The internal RNC study finds that complacency among GOP voters is tied directly to their trust in the president—and their distrust of traditional polling. “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 authors write. “Put simply, they don’t believe that Democrats will win the House. (Why should they believe the same prognosticators who told them that Hillary was going to be elected President?)”With Trump's strongest supporters not especially motivated to show up,
GOP fortunes will hinge on the party’s ability to activate “soft” supporters: “Those voters who ‘somewhat approve’ of Trump and those who support the President’s policies but not his leadership style are the ones posing a challenge to the party.” Motivating these voters could be tricky. One hurdle is Trump’s chaotic style, which shows no sign of changing. Another is that the issues soft Republicans care about most are ones involving government spending and are typically associated with Democrats. The survey found that increasing funding for veterans’ mental health services, strengthening and preserving Medicare and Social Security, and reforming the student loan system all scored higher than Trump’s favored subjects of tax cuts, border security, and preserving the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.Gee, I wonder what would have given them that idea?
“Special attention should be paid to the messaging regarding Social Security and Medicare,” the study notes. “[T]he challenge for GOP candidates is that most voters believe that the GOP wants to cut back on these programs in order to provide tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.”
This sort of polling explains why even Ted Cruz has stopped talking about tax cuts. The people who favor them are already in the Republican column, and the rest of us are dubious.