All three of the most hotly contested Senate races are deadlocked — more or less — within the margin of error with rather little movement either way.
In Arizona, Republican Blake Masters has consistently trailed Democrat Mark Kelly by two points. In Pennsylvania, Republican Dr. Oz has run about even with the Democrat John Fetterman for a week. In Georgia, Republican Hershel Walker has been pretty much tied with Democrat Rafael Warnock since their debate last week.
But these same surveys show that:
1. Republicans, in general, are more trusted than Democrats to deal with the key issues of inflation, crime, and immigration. Abortion appears to have faded and become a second-tier issue.
2. After months of Democratic hammering at the Republican candidates – fueled by an at least two or three to one advantage in the amount of paid media — the favorability of the three Republican candidates is less than that of their Democratic opponents.
Pennsylvania is the starkest comparison. According to the AARP survey of 10/4-12, Oz has a dismal favorability rating of 38-50, a twelve point deficit compared with Fetterman’s favorability at 46-45.
In Arizona, according to a survey by John McLaughlin, John Jordan, and me, taken on Oct 12-13, Masters’ favorability is underwater by 45-52 while Senator Kelly is even at 49-49.
And, in Georgia, according to an AARP poll, Warnock’s favorability is at 47-50 while Walker trails at 46-51.
To break out of these deadlocks, Republicans need a new strategy: Disregard the personal favorability of the candidates and focus instead on their relative impact on key issues if they win.
In Arizona, for example, point out that either candidate would be the 51st vote in the Senate. Kelly would be the 51st vote to continue Biden’s spending and inflation, to keep the border open and porous, and to handcuff the police and spring criminals from jail. On the other hand, Masters would be the 51st vote to rein in spending and bring down inflation, to rekindle oil and gas production to lower gas prices, to finish the border wall, and to give the police the respect and resources they need.
In other words, stress the political math and the effect of each outcome on key national issues. In Arizona, make the issue how Kelly will cast the 51st vote not Masters’ personality or record. Republicans can dismiss the Democrats’ campaigns and render irrelevant their character assassination.
Trying to rehabilitate our good candidates from the pounding and slanders they have endured is a fool’s errand two weeks before the election but focusing on where the race factors into our national policy as the 51st vote is the right way to go.
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