His campaign knows the polls have been bad news. It fired three of its Republican pollsters for alleged media leaks of in-house bad polling numbers. Trump hates bad news, and tends to deny it exists. But, it will frame the coverage surrounding his campaign start-up.
Four years ago, Trump had the element of surprise and used his shockingly incorrect announcement to capture the center spot in the first debate (Megyn Kelly debate), with the support of 25 percent of Republicans.
- Escalator Announcement – June 15, 2015
- Megyn Kelly First Debate – August 7, 2015
But now, Trump is commanding the Republican Party and has a worldwide audience of his announcement in front of 20,000 admiring fans and for most of his international activities and high drama domestic political actions. Hence, it is especially disconcerting to Trump to be behind in key states and tied in some must-wins.
For many of his campaign advisors and much of the Republican establishment, the weak polls are not surprising. Trump is committed to a scorched earth, base reinforcing campaign. Many in the Trump campaign would like to expand the base, and also believe the President’s strategy is responsible for the current polling malaise. It attracted 63 million votes in 2016, located in just the right states, but it will be short of what’s needed in the higher turnout 2020 election.