As much as he's been hobbled by the fallout from the lewd "Access Hollywood" video, Donald Trump's remaining support would evaporate if running mate Mike Pence were to leave the ticket, said a former aide to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
"[Pence] is the Republican on the ticket," Ed Rogers told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Wednesday. The Indiana governor provides "reassurance to the rank-and-file Republicans that Trump isn't crazy," he added.
The chairman of Washington-based consultancy BGR Group said Pence's validation of Trump within the Republican Party is "irreplaceable." He added: "If something were to happen to Pence, they would be fleeing Trump like a burning building."
Rogers, who'd like to see Trump quit the race, said: "Just about everybody I talked to wishes we had something different," a candidate who could clearly contrast how Republicans would break two terms of Democratic status quo in the White House.
"If Republicans had a candidate that could articulate change ... [we] would be winning right now," he said. "Instead we have Trump. We have the opposite of discipline. We have the opposite of somebody with a clear ... conservative point of view."
"This is a change election. And Hillary Clinton is not the change candidate," Rogers said.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Trump cut into Clinton's advantage slightly after the second presidential debate but trails by 9 points, just weeks before Election Day.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 8-10, the weekend after Friday's leak of the 2005 video that showed Trump joking about groping women. The margin of error for the 806 interviews of likely voters from Saturday through Monday was 3.45 percentage points.