June 12, 2019


Why Trump Isn't Likely to Win a Second Term: Democrats can lower expectations all they want, but polls show the president facing a decisive defeat. (Josh Kraushaar, June 11, 2019, National Journal)

Trump is in the weakest political shape of any sitting president since George H.W. Bush. Despite a historically strong economy, his job approval ratings are still badly underwater. He's never hit 50 percent job approval in any reputable national poll throughout his presidency. At least 40 percent of voters are fired up to vote against him, no matter what happens in the next year. He's already lost ground with the working-class voters who defected from the Democrats to support him in 2016, with his favorability rating dropping 19 points among that critical Obama-Trump constituency in the last two years.

The latest wave of polling is even more alarming for Trump. His campaign's own internal polling reportedly shows him trailing in many of the must-win battleground states. A new Quinnipiac survey shows Trump trailing all six Democrats tested against him; what's more, he couldn't win more than 42 percent of the vote against anyone. He's running 13 points behind Joe Biden, 9 points behind Bernie Sanders, and 7 points behind Elizabeth Warren.

In the latest Morning Consult tracking survey, Trump hits 50 percent disapproval ratings in North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa--all states he carried in 2016. Two recent polls show Trump trailing Biden in reliably Republican Arizona (by 5) and Texas (by 4), while holding only small leads against weaker competition. He trails Sanders by 12 points in Michigan, matching his deficit against Biden.

Meanwhile, Trump isn't acting like a president seeking to build upon support from his base. His threats to impose tariffs on Mexico particularly alarmed Senate Republicans in states that he needs to win next year. Any economic downturn before the election would all but doom his already precarious prospects. His unwillingness to work with Democrats, given their aggressive oversight of his administration, makes it all the more difficult to tout any bipartisan accomplishments on the campaign trail.

Trump's clearest path to victory relies on Democrats making a series of self-destructive decisions. But even if Democrats turn leftward and nominate a weak challenger, they'd still have a credible chance at unseating Trump. The country's rampant polarization guarantees that anyone--no matter how extreme--would be well-positioned against the president.

Posted by at June 12, 2019 12:00 AM