Donald Trump’s former campaign pollsters released a postmortem report showing that the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a failure to capture late-deciding voters were the decisive factors that led to the president’s defeat.
The 27-page report, written by Trump’s chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows the outsized effect the coronavirus had on the campaign overall, and how the issue impacted states that flipped from Trump to Biden.
The report analyzed exit polls from states Trump lost to Biden after winning them in 2016, as well as states that Trump won twice, including Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.
According to the memo, a majority of voters across all states “prioritized stopping the spread of [coronavirus] over re-opening the economy.” Trump pushed GOP governors to do the opposite just a few months into the pandemic.
Trump scored negative marks on his coronavirus response, notably in states that shifted from Republican to Democrat after he won them in 2016. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House coronavirus adviser, held a “nearly 3 to 1 positive job approval” on his pandemic response.
I guess when the media hammers away at your “inadequate response,” these things have an effect on the vote. Who would’ve thunk it?
The media decided very early on that this was going to be the issue to hang Trump on. They had a problem, though. How do you hide the fact that no other big country on planet earth was doing any better than the United States in combatting the coronavirus? The “second and third waves” of the pandemic — which are really just continuations of the first wave — have shown how terribly inadequate the response has been in every other industrialized nation.
But Democrats figured if they made their charges loud enough and long enough. they would take a toll on the voters. It worked.
Trump suffered a “double-digit erosion” among white college educated voters “across the board.”
A copy of the autopsy was obtained by the Examiner. It was circulated among campaign officials last month.
While nine in 10 voters settled on a candidate before the final month of the election, Trump “needed late deciders to break in his direction in the states we flipped, but that did not materialize,” according to the memo.
Biden had the airwaves virtually to himself over the summer when Trump’s people canceled TV advertisement buys to save resources for the stretch run of the campaign. That proved to be a strategic error but not entirely of Trump’s making. He replaced Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien in July after the campaign was surprised to learn it was burning through money faster than it was coming in.
No one knows how much that tactical error cost Trump. Nor is it clear if Trump’s bout with COVID-19 played a role. It certainly took him off the campaign trail at a critical time. But beyond that, it’s impossible to say.
Trump did well on the economy as an issue, burying Biden by a 6-1 margin. But for once, the economy was not the top issue that people decided their vote on. If it had been, Trump would almost certainly have won in a walk.