The biggest elections in the country this year are the ones for Governor of New Jersey and Virginia and recent PPP polls of the Republican electorate in those states, conducted for the DGA, make it clear that GOP voters remain firmly under the spell of the Trump cult. That imperils the party’s chances for the wins it has become accustomed to collecting in these states whenever there’s a Democratic President.
Donald Trump has an 87/8 favorability rating with Republican voters in New Jersey and an 84/8 one with them in Virginia. While a lot of attention gets paid to anti-Trump forces within the Republican Party they’re basically nonexistent- pretty much the entire party base continues to be on board with him even after he presided over losing the White House, Senate, and House.
There was a lot of speculation that the insurrection at the capital in January might be the event that finally led the GOP to try to distance itself from Trump. But by margins of 75-9 in Virginia and 73-10 in New Jersey Republican voters in those states see the events of January 6th more as a false flag operation by Antifa rioters than they see it as a violent insurrection encouraged by Donald Trump. That event really didn’t inspire any soul searching among Republican voters at all.
One of the most telling findings about what the Republican Party has become today is the party base’s utter hatred of Dr. Anthony Fauci, first chosen for his position during the Reagan administration. He has a 13/73 favorability spread in New Jersey and an 11/73 one in Virginia. Going hand in hand with that is the finding that 78% of GOP voters in Virginia and 69% in New Jersey think that COVID-19 was ‘overblown by liberals to restrict our rights and undermine Donald Trump.’
GOP candidates for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia were forced to run far to the right during the nominating process to appeal to the extremist base that has become the reality of the modern Republican Party. And they’re paying a price. Over the last 50 years the GOP has gone 8-2 in gubernatorial races in these states when there’s a Democrat in the White House. But the most recent public polls find Republicans Jack Ciattarelli in New Jersey and Glenn Youngkin in Virginia trailing by 15 points and 4 points respectively, upsetting the historic trends. Who you have to be to be a Republican nominee these days is a serious impediment to winning a general election.