Opinion by Jennifer RubinColumnistJuly 1, 2020 at 7:45 a.m. EDTAdd to list
President Trump’s reelection chances are slim if you take the polls seriously and think there is little he can do to improve his standing by November. Indeed, with the recent revelation of Russian bounties placed on the heads of U.S. troops, there is reason to believe his numbers could get even worse. The Lincoln Project already has an ad skewering him:
Two national polls show the problem Trump’s campaign is up against.
The latest national poll from Pew Research Center reports that “the share of the public saying they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country has plummeted from 31% in April, during the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, to just 12%.” Worse for the president constantly touting the false claim that 96 percent of Republicans support him (89 percent do in this poll): “Just 17% of Americans — including 25% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 10% of Democrats and Democratic leaners — say they feel proud when thinking about the state of the country.” His approval rating has plummeted to 39 percent. Trump’s personal qualities are regarded negatively. “A 54% majority describes [former vice president Joe] Biden as caring about the needs of ordinary people; only 41% say this phrase describes Trump very or somewhat well. And more voters say Biden is a good role model and describe him as honest than say that about Trump, by 15 percentage points and 12 points, respectively.”
The president’s handling of issues is likewise viewed negatively. Once a strong suit, his handling of the economy wins only 51 percent approval, with handling of race (35 percent) and ability to unify the country (31 percent) even worse.
No wonder Trump trails Biden by 10 points (54 percent to 44 percent). Remarkably, Biden has closed the gap among male voters to within two points of Trump, while sailing ahead of Trump among women by a 57 percent to 41 percent margin. Biden also leads handily in battleground states 52 percent to 46 percent. It should be noted that the poll was taken before news of the Russian bounties broke; it is quite possible his numbers are now even worse.
The story is much the same in the latest USA Today/Suffolk poll, where Trump’s approval rating clocks in at a shabby 40 percent and Biden leads 53 percent to 41 percent. Moreover, “The findings have a warning flare for Republicans down the ballot. Asked about their vote for Congress in November, 51% of those surveyed say they are inclined to support an unnamed Democratic candidate; 37% say they are inclined to support an unnamed Republican.” In addition, Biden leads on six of seven issues — “race relations, the COVID-19 pandemic, health care, immigration, national security and dealing with China” — while Trump barely leads on the economy (47 percent to 45 percent). On personal qualities, Biden receives positive ratings on bringing the country together, having a vision for the country, caring “about people like you,” getting things done, keeping his promises and being honest and trustworthy; Trump rates negatively on all but having a vision and receives split marks on getting things done. Subtitle Settings Font Font Size Font Edge Font Color Background Opinion | Joe Biden’s biggest 2020 competitor may be … Joe Biden Former vice president Joe Biden must prove that he isn’t a politician of a different era. (Danielle Kunitz, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)
One point deserves emphasis: Biden is over 50 percent in head-to-head match-ups while Trump is stuck in the low 40s. To turn this around, Trump would have to convince some current Biden voters — not merely undecideds — to vote for him. Considering the way he has been going, the chances of that happening seem small.