President Trump has hit back at a wave of national and general election battleground polls that show him trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The president pilloried the polls as “fake” and touted, “I am getting VERY GOOD internal Polling Numbers.”
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And the Trump re-election campaign on Sunday argued in a memo that “Public Polling Methodology is Cheaper and Flawed.” (In the same memo, the campaign referenced those public opinion polls to spotlight the president’s enthusiasm advantage over the presumptive Democratic nominee.)
While the president and his campaign push back vehemently against the narrative that he’s losing to the former vice president with just over four months to go until the November election, however, some of Trump’s allies from the donor class are starting to ring alarms.
“The poll numbers are definitely concerning,” Dan Eberhart, a major donor and bundler for the president and other Republicans, told Fox News.
Eberhart said that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, “what’s really cause for concern for me is the slipping with the poll numbers with seniors. That’s something that I’m personally watching.”
The oil industry chief executive and managing partner of the investment firm Eberhart Capital warned that “donors that are focused on metrics are increasingly concerned that the president is slipping further and further behind.”
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And he argued that “it’s time to break glass and pull the fire alarm and completely reconsider the messaging and the plan moving forward.”
The RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Trump down 9 points to Biden. He’s down in key swing states as well. Fox News polls released last Thursday also show Biden with a slight edge in Texas and Georgia, two once reliably red states that were not considered up for grabs at the beginning of the 2020 presidential cycle.
Another major GOP donor pointed to the smaller than expected crowds at the president’s rally a week-and-a-half ago in Tulsa, Okla. The Trump campaign had touted that 1 million people had requested tickets for the rally, which was Trump’s first since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the nation in March.
With large portions of the upper deck of the 19,000-capacity arena empty as the president addressed the crowd, the underwhelming size of the rally quickly became a major story.
But Trump aides pushed back, noting that the event attracted more than 4 million viewers “across all of the campaign’s digital media channels” and spotlighting that Fox News — which carried the event live — had its best Saturday night ratings in its nearly 25-year history.
“Obviously, you look at what happened in Tulsa and you’ve [got] to be like, ‘you gotta be kidding me,'” the donor, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News.
“That was an unforced error and a significant one, particularly you’re saying your digital game is vaunted and if it’s about turning out the base, our guys are more energized than their guys. That’s been the default message when numbers aren’t as publicly strong in the horserace category. So that hurts you there,” the donor added.
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The donor emphasized that “not being able to do the rallies has been a problem because that was your data operation. You’re getting anywhere from 15-20 percent new people who hadn’t voted before. And your strategy is to find new voters who are predisposed to your guy. If that’s not going to be part of your arsenal, what’s your plan?”
But David Tamasi, a leading D.C.-based lobbyist and GOP donor who’s raised money for the president, dialed back on the warnings.
“On the money side, I haven’t seen any drop-off,” he told Fox News. “If the election were held today, I think it would certainly be a lot closer than what the public polls say right now.”
And pointing to the calendar, he emphasized that “we have a long way to go. I’m not overly concerned at this point where things are.”
Getting past the top lines in the latest surveys, Tamasi said, “It’s interesting that the president still has a little bit of an advantage on the economy. I think the question is how important is the economy going to factor in people’s votes vis-à-vis some of these other issues. I would argue that there’s probably a little bit more long -term intensity in the economy because money in your pocket tends to be a constant.”