You know the political winds are shifting when today's GOP lawmakers suddenly start telling the truth. That's what happened this week in a weird turnabout for Senate Republicans. One of them, Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, told the truth about Donald Trump's 2020 defeat, and then several colleagues rushed to his side.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was one person who came to Rounds' defense. To be sure, McConnell has no love for Trump. But he also never sticks his neck out unless there's something in it for him.
That's where recent polling lends some fresh insights into the Senate Republicans' newfound interest in separating themselves from Trump.
As anti-Trumper and former GOP strategist Matthew Dowd noted in a tweet on Wednesday, "Trump is a much bigger drag on GOP than Biden is on Dems."
Dowd pointed to new polls from the outfits Morning Consult and YouGov, both of which found President Joe Biden faring considerably better with voters than Donald Trump. Both surveys were also taken after Biden’s Jan. 6 speech.
In the Politico/Morning Consult survey, Biden's job approvals were 9 points underwater at 44% approve, 53% disapprove. But Trump's favorable rating was fully 15 points underwater at 41% favorable, 56% unfavorable.
The generic ballot, or which party voters say they would be most likely to vote for in this moment, was +3 in favor of Democrats.
The Economist/YouGov survey had similar results.
- Biden job approval: 43% approve, 50% approve (-7)
- Trump favorables: 40% favorable, 54% unfavorable (-14)
- Generic ballot: +5 Democrats
Democrats need Biden's job approvals to improve by November, hopefully rebounding somewhere closer to 50%. In today's polarized environment, that would be a decent job approval rating heading into the midterms.
But Senate Republicans are very clearly trying to distance themselves from Trump. The numbers speak for themselves—he's a total drag, particularly in statewide races.