FBI Search of Mar-a-Lago Has Amped Up GOP Voters for Midterms

Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms

Polls: FBI Search of Mar-a-Lago Has Amped Up GOP Voters for Midterms
A sign reading “Vote Here” is seen Tuesday outside a polling place at the Old Wilson Schoolhouse in Wilson, Wyo. Voters in Wyoming headed to the polls to pick their candidates in the state primary to run in the November midterm election.

After former President Donald Trump said the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago residence would boost Republicans in midterm elections, new polls are showing just that.

Republican voters’ enthusiasm edge on Democrats in these midterms increased 5 points after the search, according to the latest YouGov poll. And the latest Trafalgar Group poll found that 83.3% of voters surveyed are more motivated to vote in the midterms because of the Mar-a-Lago search.

The Interactive Polls Twitter account tweeted the findings Thursday:

“YouGov Poll: Republican Enthusiasm lead INCREASED by 5 points after FBI RaidCompared to 2018, are you more enthusiastic or less enthusiastic about voting in this year’s election?

More Enthusiastic – Aug 7:

GOP: 45% (+10)

DEM: 35%

Aug 16:

GOP: 51% (+15)

DEM: 36%”

“Republicans could win many additional seats, both in the House & Senate, because of the strong backlash over the raid at Mat-a-Lago,” Trump wrote Monday on Truth Social. “Polls are showing that some lost Republican territory over the last number of weeks has been more than made up with the unannounced break in by the FBI, which should never have happened!”

The YouGov polls were conducted Aug. 7-9 and Aug. 13-16 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens each time, and saw a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points in both polls.

Based on the economy alone, Democrats face a big problem in the midterm elections.

Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms
Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms

Inflation has been extremely high and economic growth has been weak or even negative. That is a toxic political combination — bad enough for the Democrats to lose the House of Representatives by a substantial margin.

That, at least, is the forecast of an econometric model run by Ray Fair, a Yale economist. He has used purely economic variables to track and predict elections in real time since 1978, with fairly good results, which he shares with his students and which are available on his website for anyone who wants to examine the work.

The party in power always starts off with a handicap in midterm elections, and a bad economy makes matters worse, Professor Fair said in an interview. “At the moment, the Democrats definitely have an uphill climb.”

Yet Professor Fair acknowledges that his model can’t capture everything that is going on in the country.

November midterms are Trump’s make-or-break moment

According to John Hudak of the Brookings Institute

This November Donald Trump faces an existential test. He has spent the primary season throwing around his political weight by endorsing candidates all over the United States. The midterm elections will serve as a true test of his power, and the outcomes will determine his future strength in the party.

Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms
Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms

Donald Trump’s record of success in primary endorsements has been mixed, as my colleagues have written extensively about in previous posts. He has padded that record, in part, by offering last minute endorsements—or in the case of the Missouri Senate race with a vague endorsement. Some of Mr. Trump’s endorsements went to candidates who were incumbents or were widely expected to win. In other races such as for governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland and for Senate in Connecticut, Ohio and Arizona, those endorsements were important to the outcome.

Trump’s endorsement strategy is bold—to an extent never before in modern politics he has put his reputation on the line in the midterm elections. But winning primaries is only half the battle. While any politician or former elected official likes to tout a win-loss record (when it is flattering) of their endorsements, the former president faces a second and bigger battle in the general election. In some cases, his endorsements were seen as supporting less electable candidates [i.e., Doug Mastriano (PA-GOV); J.D. Vance (OH-SEN); Herschel Walker (GA-SEN); Mehmet Oz (PA-SEN); Josh Gibbs (MI-03); etc.)

Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms
Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms

With the sitting Democratic president entering the midterm cycle with low approval ratings, the environment is ripe for Republicans to dominate at all levels of government. Mr. Trump’s endorsement of candidates in deep red states or districts will surely pad his win-loss record. However, if Senate candidates like Walker, Oz, Vance, or Blake Masters (AZ) ultimately lose in numbers that maintains Democrats’ Senate majority, Mr. Trump will be widely blamed. Many expect Democrats to lose their majority in the House. However, if they manage to keep it or if several Trump-backed candidates lose, narrowing Republicans’ potential majority, Mr. Trump will take another hit.

Finally, in governor races, where Republicans could have been or should be competitive in places like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Trump’s endorsements could backfire if Democrats net a pickup in those races. The potential for Republicans to sweep Democrats across the board exists, but it may not ultimately happen, and that possibility is starting to worry Republican strategists. If Democrats hold off historic losses, and especially if they are able to maintain or even expand control in the U.S. Senate, the GOP blame game will begin.

Dream scenario for President Trump…

Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms
Mar-a-Lago Has Enthused GOP Voters for Midterms

The dream scenario for the former president is one in which Democratic Senate incumbents in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada lose to Trump-endorsed Republicans, and Trump-endorsees hold Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Pair that with a large GOP House majority and flipping governors’ seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Donald Trump will look to the Republican Party like a political genius and a powerful kingmaker. If Trump-backed candidates push the GOP over the finish line in terms of control of the Senate and an expansion of Republican control of statewide offices, it will be hard for other Republicans to challenge the former president in his path to the nomination in 2024.

Donald Trump is not on any ballot in 2022, but his political future is. Mr. Trump could have sat quietly in the political shadows during the midterm campaigns, rebuilding his political operation and strategizing a path to return to the White House. Instead, he opted to stay engaged and continue his work of reshaping the Republican Party in his image. The risks and rewards are both significant—an unsurprising wager a man who cut his teeth in big-city real estate would be willing to take. But, ultimately, the midterms will likely either make Donald Trump an also-ran or the commanding force in party politics for years to come.

Midterm elections in the United States