Republicans in swing states would like to see the president focus on an economic recovery message in the final days of the campaign, a strategy that requires discipline that Mr. Trump has never been able to demonstrate.
Recent polling shows that Mr. Trump trails on all of the pressing issues of the election. Voters are now evenly split on whom they trust to manage the economy, according to a national poll of likely voters conducted this month by The New York Times and Siena College.
Kellyanne Conway, a former White House official and Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, argued that the president had, in fact, articulated a second-term agenda, based around economic recovery and vaccine development. In contrast, she said, Mr. Biden’s entire “raison d’être” appears to be, “I’m not Trump.”
“That is a big question for the voters — is the antidote to uncertainty more uncertainty, or a ‘don’t rock the boat’ stance that keeps intact the big-ticket items like oil- and fracking-related jobs, energy and manufacturing jobs, and trade deals?” Ms. Conway said.
Some supporters say that they just want more of what the president has already delivered.
“He’s making sure the Americans, not the illegal immigrants, are getting what they deserve,” said Diana Converse, 55, a janitor from Westerville, Ohio. “He’s going to continue doing what he is doing: his job.”
Democratic voters have filled Mr. Trump’s policy blanks with their own theories about his plans.
“His agenda, in my mind, can be based on what will be his own financial best interests, whether that’s doing the bidding of Putin or somebody else,” said John Tanoury, 69, a lawyer from Upper Arlington, Ohio, who is backing Mr. Biden. “How that manifests itself in programs, I’m not that sure.”
Patty Jordan, a retired social worker from Westerville, said she didn’t expect to see any change from the president.