Leaders of the Republican National Commitee say the potential damage to the GOP from the party's highly negative presidential race is being exaggerated.
"Remember: We've only been at this for two months," since the Iowa caucuses in January, says Sean Spicer, RNC communications director, adding: "In a few more months, the primary will seem like a distant memory. Ultimately, one of the four current candidates will be the Republican nominee. Our party will then unite 100 per cent around him. The momentum and enthusiasm of the primaries will carry us forward toward victory in November and on to the White House."
Spice argues that GOP enthusiasm is higher than that of the Democrats', according to the Gallup poll.
Spicer's comments are designed to counteract the common assessment of pundits and Democrats that the Republican candidates' attacks on each other are hurting the GOP brand and will damage the eventual presidential nominee.
But Spicer has a point when he says that the Democrats also had a divisive and in some ways bitter nomination fight in 2008 between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. "The fights got personal, and the internecine battle was waged publicly in debate after debate and in the endless news coverage," Spicer says. Yet Obama went on to defeat Clinton and win the presidency with a united party behind him, and the Democrats expanded their majorities in the House and Senate.
So perhaps more than a bit of caution is in order when the pundits say the GOP candidates are currently digging their own graves.