The political environment in North Carolina is not getting any better for Republicans. A poll out yesterday shows Donald Trump underwater and Thom Tillis drowning. Unless these numbers change by next summer, 2020 is likely to be a bad year for the GOP.

The PPP poll shows a majority of likely voters in the state disapprove of the job Trump is doing by a five point margin, 51-46. The voters are split evenly on the question of impeachment with 48% approving of it and 48% opposed. Those numbers could get considerably worse as more details emerge. In addition, Trump is losing to the leading Democrats. Biden leads him by five points and Sanders and Warren lead him by three. Those are worrying numbers in a state he carried in 2016.

We now know why Thom Tillis is already running ads. Nobody likes him. His approval rating is so far underwater they’ll need to send a diver after him. Only 22% approve of his job performance while 44% disapprove. Even among Republicans, his approval is only 40% approve, 22% disapprove, giving his primary opponent a lot of space to define him. 

There’s little doubt that Trump will dominate the 2020 elections. Every Republican on the ballot is tied to his fortunes. Unless he can turn something around, he’ll take a lot of Republicans with him if he goes down. The GOP base is solidly behind him but the Democratic base is equally opposed to him. Both sides will be driven to the polls by the intensity of their support or opposition to the president.

Right now, independents oppose Trump by a solid margin. That could shift, particularly if they start to believe that Democrats are overreaching. They oppose impeachment by about five points even if the disapprove of Trump by about the same margin. Expect Trump to continue resisting the impeachment inquiry and expect Republicans to continue to call it a witch hunt. Democrats, for their part, will claim to be doing their constitutional duty. We’ll see which narrative those independents believe. 

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