Trump as law-and-order candidate works in suburbs, say GOP strategists

by Katherine Doyle, White House Correspondent

Republican strategists say the continuing unrest in major cities is causing suburban voters, a critical voting bloc, to move into President Trump’s column.

In North Carolina, Charles Hellwig, a former chairman of the Republican Party in Wake County, said that suburban voters were taking stock of the chaos that has erupted after protests this summer and that some can be expected to move toward Trump.

“Republicans certainly, but voters here are seeing the insanity of just abdicating any responsibility that our government should have,” Hellwig said. “Public safety should be job No. 1 and not just hoping that by being nice to the rioters, suddenly, everything’s going to go away.”

Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday, traveling to Wilmington to meet with veterans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and to declare the city as the first “World War II Heritage City,” after signing legislation in 2019 to designate one city as such each year. Vice President Mike Pence and campaign surrogates, including the president’s son, Eric Trump, will also visit the battleground state this week.

“Roughly 60% of people are visual learners,” said Arizona-based Republican strategist Chuck Warren. “They just have to watch what is on television with businesses being looted or burned. The justification by cable news pundits simply becomes white noise versus the picture. At the end of the day, suburban voters care about good jobs and security for their families.”

A Morning Consult poll conducted on Friday found Biden’s standing against Trump eroding among suburban voters after four days of law-and-order messaging from the Republican Party convention. Before the convention, Biden held a 14-point lead in the suburbs over Trump at 54% to 40%, but this fell by 6 points on Friday, putting Biden ahead of Trump by 8 points at 50% to 42%.

“In spite of Biden’s attempts to place the blame for the violence at Trump’s feet, voters are very aware it is coming from overwhelmingly left-wing groups, in Democrat-run cities,” said Republican political consultant Constantin Querard. “So, of course, voters are going to react because no one wants that happening where they live.”

Trump’s support among white voters also improved by 6 points from 2 points earlier in the week, now leading Biden by 8 points at 51% to 43%. Among white voters without a college degree, Trump leads 57% to 36%.

The survey queried 4,035 likely voters and had a 2-point margin of error, while the Aug. 23 poll of 4,810 likely voters had a 1-point margin of error.

Women’s growing concerns about their security can be seen through the recent increase in firearms sales, particularly among first-time gun buyers.

Warren said he was told by an assistant manager of a national sporting goods chain store recently that of the approximately 1,200 guns sold in July, about half were first-time buyers, “and over two-thirds of that were women.”

“Gun ranges and sporting goods stores can’t keep ammo in stock,” he said. “Don’t think that translates into votes?”