Donald Trump spent the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign investing significant time in battleground states where he held crowded rallies, with many of his days filled with multiple stops. A new analysis shows that this may have backfired at the polls, turning off a larger number of voters than it motivated and potentially contributing to thousands of new COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths.
As NBC News reported, a new analysis showed that Trump underperformed in counties where he held rallies over the final two weeks of the race. During that period, Trump held 30 events that each drew thousands of people, with the president bragging about the size of his crowds and mocking opponent Joe Biden for his smaller, more socially distanced gatherings.
But the enthusiasm among Trump’s supporters did not translate to a boost at the polls, the analysis found.
“There were 30 Trump campaign stops in that period, according to an NBC News tally, in states from Arizona to Nebraska to Pennsylvania,” the report noted. “In five counties that Trump visited he saw better results than he did in 2016, but in the remaining 25 his margins of victory got smaller, his margin of defeat grew or the county flipped Democratic.”
The outlet added that while the large crowds led to some positive media coverage for Trump and his campaign, it may have backfired among other local voters who saw the events in a negative light. Many public health experts spoke out at the time, warning that the gatherings presented a danger for spreading coronavirus as many venues did not have rules for social distancing like wearing masks or maintaining distance between attendees.
Previous studies had already connected these crowded events to an increase in coronavirus infections. As CNBC reported at the end of October, close to a week before Americans took to the polls, researchers from Stanford University found that stops taking place between June and September led to an increase in infections and deaths. Trump’s re-election outfit was largely off the road starting in March as infections began to rise, but began making appearances again in late June, starting with a controversial event in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
As The Inquisitr reported, local health officials in Oklahoma said the appearance was likely the source of a surge in positive cases across the state, and the Stanford researchers found the same for other areas where the gatherings took place.
“The researchers found that the rallies ultimately resulted in more than 30,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. They also concluded that the rallies likely led to more than 700 deaths, though not necessarily among attendees,” the report noted.