August 27, 2020/Media, Press

On Final Night of RNC, Tillis’ Base Problems Are on Full Display

Non-partisan analyst: “A substantial contingent of Trump voters just don’t trust Tillis”

On the final night of the Republican National Convention, a new non-partisan analysis highlights Senator Tillis’ inability to coalesce his base and points to it as a unique reason for his weak standing across the state.

This week, we’ve profiled Senator Tillis’ consistent base problems — from being snubbed when Trump came to his hometown, to new polling showing him underperforming Trump, to national analysts noting that Tillis’ weakness has left him “stuck in another political vise grip.

Now, on the final night of the RNC, a deep dive into the state from UVA’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball found that Tillis “must also work to shore up his right flank,” while separately noting that, “A substantial contingent of Trump voters just don’t trust Tillis.” Yet while Tillis is forced to spend time and money on base voters that could be spent fighting for unaffiliated voters, he’s running behind with independents and stuck in “a tough battle for their support.”

“This week’s RNC has put a harsh spotlight on Senator Tillis’ weakness with base Republican voters, a persistent weakness he’s been unable to shore up since his humiliating flip-flop last spring,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “These voters don’t like Senator Tillis for the same reason voters of all ideological stripes don’t like him — he’s a Washington politician who puts wealthy special interests before North Carolina.”

Here’s a full look at Tillis’ weakness with base voters:

Polling Continues to Show Tillis’ Weakness with Base Voters
New polling and reporting from Morning Consult shows Tillis underperforming Trump by 15% among Republicans and across key demographics — women, independents, and suburban voters. That’s a familiar position for Tillis, one that reveals he’s still “missing [a] piece of the coalition he’ll need to win re-election in November: unity in his party’s base.”

“A Snake”: Tillis Continues to Face Backlash from GOP Base
After his flip-flop on the emergency declaration, Tillis “lost credibility with North Carolina Republicans” and has spent a year trying — and failing — to earn it back. Here’s just some things base voters have said about Tillis:

  • “A snake don’t turn into a puppy just because he puts a flea collar on.” (WSJ)
  • “He flip-flopped on a number of issues at the last second to save his own butt to keep from getting voted out. He switched his opinions, he doesn’t support Trump. He’s a fair-weather friend.” (Vice)
  • “[I’m] disgusted by Thom Tillis’ flip-flopping and inconsistency on issues that are critical to conservatives” (Fayetteville Observer)
  • “Don’t like him” (Vice)
  • “He’s wishy-washy… It’s whatever is good for him.” (Vice)

Non-Partisan Analysts Confirm Tillis Still Has to “Shore Up His Right Flank”
Tillis served as “a wake up call” for other Republicans, who told each other, “be careful; you saw what happened to Tillis.” And he’s been booed at three different Trump rallies, forcing him to bearhug the president and take unpopular positions out of step with the state.

That’s left non-partisan analysts to conclude that Tillis must still “work to shore up his right flank” because “voters of all ideological stripes simply don’t trust Tillis.