President Trump is now 7.8 percentage points behind Vice President Joe Biden in RealClearPolitics' polling average, and when you scratch deeper than the national head-to-head polling, his numbers have "turned from mixed to bleak," Axios reports. He and Biden are statistically tied in Texas, per a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday, and in Ohio, according to a new Fox News poll. Fox News' pollsters also have Trump losing badly in Wisconsin and modestly in Arizona, both states he needs to win.
Top Republicans say "Trump's handling of the nation's civil unrest, including his hasty photo op at St. John's Church after the violent clearing of Lafayette Park, make them much more worried about his chance of re-election than they were one week ago," Axios reported Thursday morning. And "yesterday, advisers admit, was inarguably brutal," with Defense Secretary Mark Esper dissenting from Trump's use of active-duty troops and Esper's predecessor, James Mattis, excoriating Trump as divisive, immature, and a violator of the Constitution who must be held to account.
Trump is sending a clear, consistent signal "that in the five months remaining between now and Election Day he will be singularly focused on his core supporters — and whatever energizes them most," Gabby Orr writes at Politico. "The base-only strategy is a gamble for Trump, whose campaign spent much of the past year trying to build up good will with suburban swing voters — knowing their disapproval alone could cost him re-election. But the base is also his safe space." And given his slumping poll numbers with independents, senior citizens, suburban woman, and even his core white evangelical base, it may be his best option.