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Trump's Supreme Court nomination may have just hurt his chances with the voters he needs.

By Curt Anderson
September 27, 2020 10:40 pm
Category: Politics

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Paradoxically, now that Donald Trump has nominated a third person to the Supreme Court, people who are pro-life, single issue voters, who Trump is trying to win over, may have less of a reason to vote for Trump.

A dedicated voting bloc
Some voters crystallize abortion as the defining criteria for their vote. A recent poll of more than 40,000 Americans shows that pro-life voters are significantly more likely than those who support legal abortion to say they will only vote for a candidate who agrees with them on that issue (27% to just 18%).

A Marist Poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus found "by a margin of 10 percentage points (45% to 35%), those who identify as pro-life are more likely to say abortion is a 'major factor' in their vote for president than those who identify as pro-choice."

A 2012 Gallup poll found that 21% pro-life voters would vote only for a candidate who shares their views. Another 49% of pro-life voters in 2012 said they would consider a candidate's position on abortion as one of many important factors in arriving at their vote choice.

Many undecided voters had one reason to support Trump. That reason is disappearing.
In an interview with three undecided voters NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro, one of those voters, Mark Miller, said:

So, like Matthew, it sounds like we share the same identity as being Christians. And that - for me, that least - that really drives a lot of my political views. And I like a good amount of what Trump has done, but I think that his mouth and just his style of leadership has just really caused even more division in the country. For me, why I'm undecided primarily is that I think that it's such a significant amount of lack of leadership and lack of being able to speak to the country, to unify the country...And then, like Matthew said, the abortion issue as a Christian is extremely important to me...

...I feel like Trump almost doesn't care what the people around him are telling him. And I feel like Biden won't come across like this [Coronavirus pandemic] isn't that big of a deal and that it's going to go away. I feel like he's going to give it the sense of urgency that it needs to. And he would - he's going to make us feel like he's taking it seriously.


Trump needs to win over the undecided 7% and then some.
Look at FiveThirtyEight.com or RealClearPolitics.com: the presidential election race stabilized a long time ago. The gap of about 7% between Trump and Biden has not changed in the past month. Biden is at 50% and Trump is at 43%.

There are about 7% of poll respondents who so far can't commit to either of the two major-party candidates. A few of these people will vote third-party. Some won't vote at all. Some will finally get off the fence. I predict Biden will earn the votes of most of these undecided voters.

Once the undecided pro-life voters consider that the balance of the Supreme Court is to their conservative liking, that is the high court is likely to side with pro-life arguments, I expect they will have little use for Trump.

Likewise any concerns pro-life voters have about Biden possibly appointing pro-choice SCOTUS justices is minimized, as the court will have a six-to-three conservative tilt and current justices are relatively young and unlikely to leave the bench soon.

Pro-life voters might also consider that with more than 200,000 deaths, Coronavirus is a "pro-life" issue. Trump has a famously cavalier attitude toward COVID-19. At a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump said Coronavirus "affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that's what it really affects. That's it."

He also doubled down on previous claims that young people are "virtually immune," this time saying "take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system."

Trump briefly paused before adding, "It affects virtually nobody."

When the election results are tabulated, Trump may find that coronavirus affected his hopes for re-election.


Cited and related links:

  1. usatoday.com
  2. news.gallup.com
  3. npr.org
  4. cnn.com

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