Lost amid all the dramatics of Jeff Sessions’ testimony,Trump’s ranting and ravings, and his reported desire to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, (which we all know he will eventually do), was an AP poll that confirmed Nate Silver’s earlier analysis that Trump’s support among Republicans is beginning to not only slip, but to slip badly.
Silver has pointed out that the level of strong support for Trump has slipped by almost one-third since his inauguration. And now the most recent AP-NORC poll shows that Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 35% and over half of the country strongly disapproves of the job he is doing. But here is the real kicker from the AP poll: “Nearly a third of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican party think Trump has little to no respect for the country’s democratic institutions, and a quarter disapprove of the job he’s doing as president.”
An earlier Fox news poll showed that GOP support for Trump had plummeted from 90% to 81% in just one month. If the AP poll holds, it will mean that Trump’s support from Republicans has now fallen into the mid-70% range. That is not only a precipitous fall in such a short period but is approaching the true danger zone for Congressional Republicans. The President’s actions alone should make Congressional Republicans nervous but numbers like these will make them positively freak out. But polls are just polls. The GOP will probably only respond to an electoral defeat. That is what makes the upcoming election in Georgia’s 6th so incredibly important. Ossoff coming close in this election would be a bad sign for Republicans but one that they will probably shake off as they’ve done with other elections in deep red country where Democrats have done remarkably well.
But an Ossoff victory will change the dynamic for the Republicans drastically, I believe. To my mind, an Ossoff victory may, in fact kill any chance for the AHCA in the Senate. Trump’s cratering poll numbers, the horrible generic ballot numbers for House Republicans where Democrats lead by numbers never seen before, and losing elections in areas where the GOP won by 20 points a mere 7 months ago will give pause to even Mitch McConnell in jamming through an incredibly unpopular piece of legislation in total secrecy. Yes, Republicans have an extreme advantage in the Senate in 2018 as Democrats are defending so many seats, many in red states. But a 20 point swing even in a House district is likely to get McConnell’s attention.
Republicans have slavishly lashed themselves to the mast of Trump. But, as we all know, even rats will desert a sinking ship and right now Trump and the GOP are taking on quite a bit of water.