Most Republicans want former President Donald Trump to have at least some influence over their party’s direction even as many who side with the GOP say they are uneasy about its future.
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds about 6 in 10 conservative Republicans say former President Donald Trump should have a lot of influence on the GOP, compared with about a third of moderate and liberal Republicans. The poll captured widespread unease among Republicans over everything from the direction of the country to the state of American democracy and, in particular, President Joe Biden. Only 15% of Republicans approve of the way Biden is handling his job, and 66% continue to say the Democrat was illegitimately elected.
Republicans have plenty of concern about their own party, too. Fewer than half of Republicans, 41%, say they are optimistic about the GOP’s future. Just 13% say they are “very” optimistic. And one third, 33%, say they are pessimistic. The Republicans are only a few seats shy of majorities in the House and the Senate, and Republican leaders hope they are within striking distance of retaking control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections.
The findings about the party’s lukewarm optimism could be an early warning sign of lagging enthusiasm among Republican voters, particularly without Trump on the ballot after he helped lift congressional candidates in 2020. This is despite the fact history has shown the president’s party almost always loses seats in the midterm elections and despite the general enthusiasm about the party’s long list of potential 2024 candidates.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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