Trump's push to reopen schools part of bid to boost suburban standing
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s demand for U.S. schools to fully reopen this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic is central to an emerging re-election strategy that seeks to resuscitate his flagging support in the nation’s critical suburbs.
Trump in recent weeks has taken stances on hot-button issues his campaign hopes will appeal to suburban voters, particularly women, who have soured on the Republican president since his 2016 election and continue to move away as the virus rages across the country and the economy sputters.
Along with aggressively pushing for students to return to classrooms - “Schools must be open in the Fall,” he tweeted on Friday - Trump has warned of rising urban crime rates and threats to civil order in the wake of protests over racial injustice while pointing to the vibrant stock market as a marker of economic health.
The messaging amounts to a fresh effort to position Trump as the candidate of public safety and social and economic stability, several people close to the campaign said.
So far, there is little sign the approach is working. Trump trails his presumptive Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Joe Biden, in both national and battleground state polls.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last week found that in the nation’s suburbs, just 36% said they approve of Trump, while 59% disapprove. Among suburban women, three in 10 approve of Trump, while four in 10 men support the president.
Suburbs in key election states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida are filled with affluent swing voters, and many feature large, robust public school systems.