Vice President Mike Pence would narrowly fare better against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden than would Donald Trump, according to new polling.
YouGov, in some of the first polling conducted since Mr Trump contracted the coronavirus, found Mr Pence would lose nationally to Mr Biden 42 per cent to 49 per cent. That is a smaller margin than the same survey found for a Trump-Biden matchup, with the president trailing 43 per cent to 51 percent.
Mr Trump u sed more dramatic stagecraft on Monday evening, flying aboard Marine One from Walter Reed military hospital along Washington’s Rock Creek Park with the Maryland and Virginia suburbs in the background as he returned to the White House after being treated for coronavirus. His sickness has prompted some to speculate he might be too unwell to finish the race.
Should Mr Trump, however unlikely, drop out, 65 per cent of Republican voters want Mr Pence to replace him as the party’s presidential nominee. Mr Trump’s illness could bring more attention to Mr Pence’s one and only debate with the Democratic VP nominee, California Senator Kamala Harris, slated for Wednesday night.
Eighteen per cent of GOP voters said they are unsure who would be the best candidate to replace Mr Trump, and 7 per cent identified Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He was a 2016 primary rival of the president, and their feud got bitter and personal. Since, however, Mr Cruz has become a close ally of the president, and even made his most recent Supreme Court nominee candidate list.
Oddly for a party that has so coalesced around Mr Trump, 4 per cent of GOP voters said Utah Senator Mitt Romney should replace the president. He was the lone Republican senator to vote for Mr Trump’s removal during this year’s impeachment trial.
The president, however, is back at the White House and in full campaigning-from-home mode. He rose early Tuesday morning and fired off a number of tweets aimed at Mr Biden.
“Biden and Democrats just clarified the fact that they are fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond - which would be execution,” he wrote in one. “Biden even endorsed the Governor of Virginia, who stated this clearly for all to hear. GET OUT & VOTE!!!”
Polls continue to suggest Mr Trump is on pace to lose in November: A NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday showed Mr Biden with a 14-point lead nationally; and RealClearPolitics’ average of surveys gives the former VP at least a 5-point lead in battlegrounds Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Hampshire.
As Mr Trump tries to campaign virtually, his top military doctor, Sean Conley on Monday told reporters of his Covid infection: the president “may not entirely be out of the woods yet.”