Q&A of the Day – Raid Beneficial for Trump Politically?  

Today’s entry: If u voted for Trump in 2020, why wouldn’t u vote for him in 2024? I would imagine he would gain Dems & Independent votes after seeing the abusive FBI/DOJ and who knows what else next. Those RINOS that voted for Biden will have a RINO to vote for and feel good about themselves.  

Bottom Line: There are seemingly countless stories which have been written online and discussed on opinion shows attempting to discern whether the Mar-a-Lago raid will prove to be beneficial for the former president politically. Obviously, it’s all conjecture at this point. Now, you’ve specifically introduced questions that are the most important ones if we’re talking about this in the context of 2024. Why would someone who voted for him in 2020 not vote for him in 2024? As you suggested – you believe this is highly unlikely. But then you’ve also introduced the idea that some democrats and independents would peel off in Trump’s direction out of concern of potential corruption/overreach by federal agencies. That’s important, because if turnout were to be similar to 2020’s levels in 2024 – that'd most likely be necessary for Trump to carry a win (as the only other variable would be first time voters). I’ll offer up a couple of potential rebuttals to your assertions before diving into some data that might provide an indication about the view of the possible. First, regarding Republicans who voted for Trump in 2020...  

In theory (as we’ve been told), Liz Cheney falls into the category of a Republican who voted for Trump but never would again. Notably, Liz Cheney was one of Trump’s most reliable policy supporters in Congress during his term – voting in favor of his position on policy 93% of the time. A number that was nearly 100% until votes related to January 6th and the subsequent impeachment of him. I don’t know exactly what the universe of Liz Cheney’s within the Republican realm is (it’s no doubt a small number of some sort), but it’s not a given that just because they supported him last election, they would in the next one. Trump’s response to January 6th, independent of what may come of the current DOJ investigation, has the potential to slightly cloud that calculous. That takes me to democrats and independents.   

It might be somewhat obvious at this point, but if a small segment of Republicans who voted for Trump could peel off, there’s no doubt the same could be true for those who don’t align with a political party or are Democrats. That said, your thought is that perhaps government overreach could be such a concern by some of these voters that they’d decide to vote for Trump, presumably knowing he’d clean house given another opportunity to do so. Possible? Yes. Likely...highly questionable. First, consider that government abuse and overreach against Trump isn’t anything new. It was well known by the 2020 election that DOJ and FBI officials used a fraudulent dossier to obtain FISA court support to surveil on Trump creating the entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative that this country was subjected to in the news cycle daily for about three years. It begs the question, if voters didn’t defect to Trump after that government abuse situation, why would they after this one – should the end result of what’s happening right now (and that’s assuming there’s not a smoking gun of some sort that sticks coming out of all of this) backfire?   

One of the hardest things to do is to see the world through the eyes of others. But for some perspective I’ll ask this question. If you’re a Trump supporter today – is there anything President Biden could do to win your support in the future? The either-or conversation used to be more common, because the political parties used to be closer ideologically than they are today. Gallup has studied this over time. About twenty years ago the difference between Democrats and Republicans on a given issue was about 20%. Whatever the issue happened to be, Republicans tended to be about 20% more conservative than Democrats. Today, the average divide has grown to about 40%. That makes it much less likely for partisans to view their political opposition as palatable. Now, what we do have in hand is some additional data on what overall perception is of Donald Trump since the raid, in comparison to where he was before it.   

RealClear Politics keeps a running tab of favorability ratings for national political figures. Donald Trump is currently the most favored of any of them – though that’s as much of a statement of how poorly we view all national politicians as opposed to generally warm and fuzzy views of Trump. He currently has a net negative favorability rating of negative 11.5%. So, what’s changed in our collective view of him since the raid? Not much. Prior to the raid Trump’s favorability rating was 42%. Today it's 41.8%. So yeah, to the extent it’s moved the needle beyond his base...perhaps not so much. For that matter consider this.  

  • Trump’s favorability rating on Election Day 2020: 41.8%  

No kidding. For everything that’s happened since Election Day 2020 – our collective opinion of him is exactly where it was. Conversely, consider this:  

  • Biden’s 2020 Election Day favorability rating: 51%  
  • Biden’s current favorability rating: 40.8%  

So, to the extent that Trump’s performing better head-to-head against Biden in polling conducted these days, it’s most likely a result of Biden’s fallen status as opposed to more people being won over by Trump regardless of the reason. This context is key as we advance further into that conversation as we’ll advance past November’s midterms.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com   

Gettr, Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio   

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.  


Photo: Getty Images

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