… Falling assessments of a party or president’s competence have important electoral consequences. For one thing, it limits the range of issues that a party can campaign on, since voters are unlikely to find persuasive promises from a party that has proven it can’t deliver. Voters punish governments for poor performance on a range of issues — not just on the economy, as some claim. It also can contribute to an accumulation of bad news stories over time, which can dog a party’s election efforts and lead to “costs of ruling” — the downward trend in support for incumbents over their time in office.
These are all reasons that Trump’s failure to deliver on his flagship promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and his declining ratings on key issues are troublesome for the GOP. Unless there is significant rebound in public opinion, it will be difficult for Republicans in 2018 — or Trump himself in 2020 — to run on a record of policy accomplishment. CONT.
Jane Green (U. of Manchester) & Will Jennings (U. of Southampton), Monkey Cage