Friday, July 24, 2020
Some pundits have written off Trump's reelection chances due to his handling. They often point to the results of one poll to reinforce that conclusion. I would argue that it is better to look at the aggregate of polls to see trends.
The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls includes Republican polling firms like Rasmussen, neutral firms like Politico and Quinnipiac, and Democratic firms like Change Research. In the graph above we see that the RCP average for Trump's approval rating has steadily declined from an all time high of 47.3% at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic to 42.2% today. This number is still higher than Trump's all time low rating of 37.1% on December 17, 2017.
Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com website estimates his current approval rating to be 40.4%. This number is still higher than their all time low estimate of 36.4% on December 17, 2017. Silver's group uses a different than RCP that you can read about here. In both poll estimates, Trumps approval rating has never been above 50%.
FiveThirtyEight also provides a comparison of Trump's approval rating the past 12 Presidents at the same point in their Presidencies (1282 days) going back to Harry Truman. Of these past 12 Presidents, only three had approval ratings lower than Trump's and this point: Truman (39.6%), Carter (33.9%), and George H.W. Bush (36.7%). Truman managed to win his election bid while Bush and Carter lost. Ford was in office for fewer than 1282 days and he lost as well. The other Presidents either won their reelection bids or left office before running again.
RCP's poll average of national polls has Biden leading Trump 49.6% to 40.9% while FiveThirtyEight has Biden up 50.0% to 42.0%. One should always be careful about making predictions about the outcome of the November election this early. However it is pretty clear that he faces a tough bid to win this year. In the month of June 2016, Clinton had a lead of 5.7% over Trump while Biden had a lead of 7.7% over him in June 2020. He could still eek out an electoral college win with his loyal supporters.
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