If Republicans lose big, this will be why

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If Republicans lose big, this will be why

Opinion Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events If Republicans lose big, this will be why House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hugs Vice President Mike Pence in the Rose Garden after the House pushed through a health-care bill in May 2017. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) by Jennifer Rubin July 26 at 9:00 AM A raft of new polling helps explain just how much trouble Republicans are in and how they got there. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that President Trump’s misogynistic, xenophobic and pro-Russian outlook — the things that endear him to his core base — are turning off a large majority of voters. Overall, Democrats enjoy a healthy lead in the generic lead — 12 points in Quinnipiac, six in the NBC/Wall Street Journal and seven in the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist polls, to name a few. In large part that lead reflects a huge gender gap. In the Quinnipiac poll , for example, women prefer Democrats by a 57 to 32 percent margin. One factor in their antipathy toward Republicans seems to be abortion; 68 percent of women think reversing Roe v. Wade would be a “bad thing.” The RealClearPolitics average is now nearly an eight-point lead for Democrats . Even worse for Republicans, white women — who traditionally have supported Republicans — now tilt heavily toward Democrats. According to Quinnipiac, white women prefer Democrats for Congress by a substantial 53 to 39 percent margin. As a point of comparison Trump won white women (52/43) and Republicans in House races won them by an even greater margin (55/43). A similar pattern shows up in the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll: Female voters say they prefer Democrats this fall by a 21-point margin, 54 percent to 33 percent. Republicans win men by 9 points, 48 percent to 39 percent. Negative opinions of Trump are pronounced among women. Trump’s job approval has remained relatively static — still underwater at 39 percent approval to 51 percent disapproval among all Americans. But there is a staggering 43-point gender gap with 62 percent of women disapproving of Trump’s job and half of men approving of his performance. Fifty-seven percent of suburban women also strongly disapprove of Trump, and Democrats have a 28-point edge in which party suburban women would vote for in November. This is an ominous sign for Republicans given that these will be critical voters in many House battlefields. There is a price to be paid for Trump’s treatment of women, his insulting attitude toward #MeToo, his bully-boy style and his nostalgic vision of America (when abortion was illegal and women did not work). He is, in short, not a candidate, and the party that indulges him is not a party, with whom women can identify. Aside from the GOP gigantic gender problem, health care has become a major sore point with voters. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds: The July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds a candidate’s position on continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions is the top health care campaign issue for voters, among a list of issues provided. This issue cuts across voter demographics with most Democratic voters (74 percent), independent voters (64 percent), and voters living in battleground areas (61 percent), as well as half of Republican voters (49 percent) saying a candidate’s position on continued protections for pre-existing health conditions is either the single most important factor or a very important factor in their 2018 vote. That’s a problem for Republicans who have chosen not to defend the Affordable Care Act against a challenge from red states that would vitiate the preexisting condition protection. Moreover, voters have been listening to Republicans’ rhetoric and understand fully that the GOP is out to wreck and not to improve Obamacare. (“Almost six in ten (56 percent) Americans say they think President Trump and his administration are trying to make the ACA fail while one-third (32 percent) say they are trying to make the law work, ” reports the Kaiser Family Foundation.) It should be noted that a major function of the ACA was to broaden Medicaid coverage; now all but 14 states have done so and a majority in those 14 states (51 percent) “support their state expanding their Medicaid program.” Overall, the ACA remains popular (48/40 percent) and voters are going to hold Trump and Republicans (58 percent) responsible rather than President Barack Obama and Democrats (27 percent) if the law collapses. Perhaps that is why Republicans are so quiet on the topic of health care, preferring to put all their eggs in the tax cut basket. That, of course, has its problems. Unlike the ACA, the tax bill remains unpopular with voters. (About 36 percent support it in the RealClearPolitics average; 43 percent do not). Then there is the Russia investigation, which Republicans have chosen to denigrate — along with our intelligence community and the FBI specifically — as part of their sycophantic defense of the president. The performance of characters such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) creating misleading materials and weaving conspiracy theories to bolster Trump and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) haranguing Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein put Republicans on the opposite side of public opinion. In one poll after another voters tell us they think Russia interfered in our election and they think the investigation is legitimate. In the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, for instance, nearly 2/3 of voters think Trump has been too weak on Russia. Moreover, “Americans overwhelmingly believe that Russia did seek to interfere in the 2016 elections — despite flip-flops from Trump as to whether he believes that to be true. Sixty-nine percent said they believe there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. . . . A whopping 72 percent of Americans said they have faith in the CIA’s and FBI’s conclusions about the assessment of the Russian election interference, compared with just 15 percent who believe Putin’s denials.” Even worse for Trump, who has been obsessed with the legitimacy of his election, “a majority of Americans believe that Russian interference in 2016 impacted the election, though just 37 percent said they believe it changed the outcome.” All those histrionics from Trump and his state TV helpmates at Fox News and yet voters don’t buy his main arguments. About 60 percent think the investigation should continue; and “almost 6 in 10 people say that the FBI is just trying to do its job, while one-third of Americans say it is biased against the Trump administration.” Republicans, who used to be big defenders of law enforcement, have swallowed Trump’s excuse that the FBI is out to get him. In sum, if you are a Democrat running for the House you’ve got some big advantages. Go after Trump for being weak on Russia and Republicans for trying to take away health care; make sure women voters understand the stakes on abortion and health care; stick up for law enforcement; and offer yourself as a check against an out-of-control president. Don’t be shy about hitting the tax bill as a give-away to the rich. And wouldn’t you know it? That’s pretty much what Democrats around the country are saying. Read more:

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