A detailed post-mortem of former President Trump’s reelection campaign points to the president’s trustworthiness, handling of the coronavirus, and failure to capture “late deciders” as key reasons why he lost.
The 27-page report, written by Trump’s chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows how the coronavirus loomed large over the campaign – figuring as a “top issue” in the surveyed ten states – but was most pronounced in states that flipped for President Biden. It undercuts the former chief executive’s claims that Democrats stole the election via a voter fraud effort in a handful of swing states that he lost.
“The document clearly shows that the advisers around the president placated him into a loss,” a close Trump ally told the Washington Examiner on Monday.
The report was based on an analysis of exit polls from states Trump lost to Biden after winning them in 2016, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; and states Trump won twice, including Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.
According to the memo, a majority of voters across all states “prioritized stopping the spread of [coronavirus] over re-opening the economy.” Trump pushed GOP governors to do the opposite just a few months into the pandemic.
Trump scored negative marks on his coronavirus response, notably in states that shifted from Republican to Democrat after he won them in 2016. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House coronavirus adviser, held a “nearly 3 to 1 positive job approval” on his pandemic response.
And while “a majority of voters said they didn’t find either presidential candidate honest or trustworthy, Biden held a double-digit advantage over POTUS, especially in the ‘flipped’ states.”
Trump suffered a “double-digit erosion” among white college educated voters “across the board.”
A copy of the autopsy was obtained by the Examiner. It was circulated among campaign officials last month.
While nine in 10 voters settled on a candidate before the final month of the election, Trump “needed late deciders to break in his direction in the states we flipped, but that did not materialize,” according to the memo.
The Trump campaign canceled television advertisement buys over the summer following a change in leadership and in a bid to save resources for a date closer to Election Day.
Trump may have been hampered by his effort to place Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court before Election Day.
Nine in 10 voters said Trump’s nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court bench was a factor in deciding their vote. “Ironically, those who said it was a factor voted for Biden,” the report reads. “Those who said it wasn’t a factor voted for POTUS by large margins.”
The former president fared better on the economy, which voters ranked second to the coronavirus as their top issue. On this, “POTUS crushed Biden … by a 6-to-1 or better margin.”
Politico first reported the memo.