BOSTON (CBS) – The numbers don’t lie – it was the suburbs that elected Donald Trump. Four years ago this morning he enjoyed a ten point lead over Hillary Clinton among suburban voters, and he wound up winning them easily, his margin of victory in key swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
So why is the president so intent lately on inflaming suburban fears by claiming the suburbs would be “obliterated by Washington Democrats” if he loses?
Dramatic slippage in his suburban support, that’s why. Four national polls in the past month show him losing badly to Joe Biden by an average of 17 points, margins unprecedented in the 50-year history of exit polling.
“The suburbs have to be with him in those swing states,” said Political Science Prof. Dante Scala of the University of New Hampshire. Swing states like New Hampshire, where Scala sees the president’s pandemic management – or lack of it – turning off former suburban Trump supporters.
“There’s a lot of reason for those suburban parents to say ‘I want some normalcy for myself and my family. I’ve been through this year, and I don’t have the sense that the president understands what I’ve been going through,’” Scala said.
“People on the far-left want to see the suburbs destroyed,” Trump insists. But can he successfully paint Biden as a radical leftist to New Hampshire voters who know the former vice president well?
“If it had been Bernie Sanders as the nominee then maybe we’d be having a different conversation,” said Scala. “But he’s not.”
We saw how important New Hampshire is to the Trump campaign strategy when they tried to pull off that rally in Portsmouth recently. And it was notable that the top Republican in the state, Gov. Chris Sununu, made it clear he wouldn’t be attending the ill-fated event.
After all, Sununu is up for re-election and winning high marks for his aggressive response to the virus. “He may win in November,” said Scala, “but it’ll be in spite of Trump.”