“We’re going to win so much, you’re going to get tired of winning,” then-candidate Donald Trump said in February 2016. “You’re going to say: ‘Please, Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ You’re gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said: ‘Nope, nope. We’re gonna keep winning.’”
Republicans may still like President Trump, but they aren’t yet tired of winning — not even close. In fact, more Republican and GOP-leaning voters say their side is losing on the issues that matter to them, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center poll shows that 42 percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters say their side has been winning more on the important issues, while 46 percent say their side has been losing.
That’s better than Democrats, of course, who control nothing in Washington. Just 15 percent of them say they are winning more; 79 percent say they are losing more.
The share of Republicans who say they are winning is pretty subpar. Back in September 2015, 40 percent of Democrats felt they were winning more, vs. 52 percent who felt they were losing — that was when much of President Barack Obama’s agenda had stalled and the GOP had gained control of Congress. So with full control of Washington, barely more Republicans feel they are winning (42 percent) than Democrats who said the same when they had only the president and four-plus years of Washington gridlock.
I know, I know: When Trump talked about winning so much, he wasn’t necessarily talking about in a partisan sense. Republicans may feel that America as a whole is winning even if the GOP agenda isn’t necessarily notching a bunch of victories, legislatively speaking.
But asking the question in this way is a bit more revealing than asking whether people like or approve of Trump or think the country is winning. Responses to those questions tend to be dripping with partisanship and draw pretty predictable answers. People don’t want to look like they are criticizing a president with whom they share a party affiliation and for whom they may have real affection.
This is more of a measure of bona fide political progress for your side of the debate, and Republicans clearly aren’t tired — or even a little drowsy — of the winning that they’ve been doing.
And as Philip Bump pointed out this week, there are signs that the GOP base is souring, ever so slightly, on Trump. Just more than half — 53 percent — of Republicans had a strongly favorable view of him in a new Quinnipiac poll; that’s down from a previous low of 62 percent in Quinnipiac’s regular polling.
Absent a win on health care or any other major piece of legislation, it’s hard to claim that the GOP side has truly been winning much of anything in Washington, at least as far as the issues are concerned.
The question is increasingly when Republicans will get tired of losing. And that seems to be setting in, at least to some degree, when you dig a little deeper into the polling numbers.