With Trump trailing, should down-ballot Republicans ready a ‘no blank check’ strategy?

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Throughout the fall, Dole gained a few points and then lost them, but the Republican challenger never changed the contest’s trajectory.

For example, on Oct. 14-15, the race allegedly “closed” to 9 points, 48 percent to 39 percent, with Perot at 5 percent. But just a few days later, Oct. 18-19, Clinton was back up by 19 points, 54 percent to 35 percent, with Perot at 6 percent.

Clinton maintained a double-digit lead all the way to Election Day, when he won by more than 8 points and buried Dole in electoral votes, 379 to 159.

But GOP strategists knew early on that Dole was an albatross around the neck of their congressional candidates, which is why the RNC bankrolled the “don’t give Democrats a blank check” message.

A Sept. 6-8 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed Clinton beating Dole 55 percent to 34 percent, but when respondents in the same poll were asked “If Bill Clinton is re-elected president in November, which party would you prefer to have in control of Congress — the Republican party or the Democratic party,” they preferred the GOP 47 percent to 44 percent.


Stuart Rothenberg

2020-07-07 05:30:02

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