Image Credits: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.
According to a just-released national poll, an astonishing 51 percent of Americans approve of the job Donald Trump is doing on the Covid-19 pandemic. But the survey also found the Trump is perceived as doing a worse job than every single governor in the country. On top of that, the president’s modestly positive results are fueled by areas that aren’t expected to be competitive in November. For example, he has 59 percent approval in Wyoming, 57 percent approval in West Virginia, and 55 percent approval in Nebraska.
When we go into the swing states, the story is much different. The three most critical states for Trump’s victory in 2016 are not looking so hot: Pennsylvania (40 percent), Wisconsin (39 percent) and Michigan (36 percent).
In the next tier, there is little encouragement for Trump: Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia are all at 47 percent, and Arizona and Iowa are at 45 percent. These are all better than Texas, however, where he’s at 44 percent approval. It’s consistent, however, with the most recent Public Policy Polling survey out of Texas, which shows Biden leading Trump there by one point.
Thing looks difficult both in states Trump is defending and in one’s he’d like to pick up. He’s at 39 percent approval on the pandemic in New Hampshire, at 41 percent in Nevada and 42 percent in Colorado and Minnesota.
He’s even showing some weakness is supposedly safe states. Both South Dakota and South Carolina give him 45 percent approval, and he’s negative in Utah, Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri as well.
In addition to Texas, the number that really sticks out is Ohio, where he has 51 percent approval. It just so happens that the Republican governor there, Mike DeWine, leads all the nation’s governors with an 83 percent approval rating of his handling of the virus. That 32 percent gap is bigger than the distinction in most blue states, and if it might still look like Ohio has become a solidly red state there’s a Marist poll out showing Biden up there by four points and Trump with net-negative approval numbers.
Only 11 percent of Republican want an immediate reopening of the economy and bipartisan majorities strongly disagree (88 percent) with opening it up prematurely. They are also leaning more toward experts to get their advice. For example, 88 percent of the people trust the Centers for Disease Control to do the right thing, compared to just 54 percent who say that about Congress.
Based on presidential polling in prior crises, Trump’s numbers are almost certainly inflated, as people generally become less willing to express dissent when the country is in trouble. Objectively, it’s hard to see why anyone would genuinely be satisfied with the job Trump has done on Covid-19, and that applies to both the past and the present.
Reports that Trump lost his temper with Brad Parscale last week after seeing the internal polling numbers are not surprising.
As he huddled with advisers on Friday evening, President Donald Trump was still fuming over his sliding poll numbers and the onslaught of criticism he was facing for suggesting a day earlier that ingesting disinfectant might prove effective against coronavirus.
Within moments, the President was shouting — not at the aides in the room, but into the phone — at his campaign manager Brad Parscale, three people familiar with the matter told CNN. Shifting the blame away from himself, Trump berated Parscale for a recent spate of damaging poll numbers, even at one point threatening to sue Parscale.
Those internal polling numbers must be atrocious. The public polls are certainly bad. In addition to the already mentioned Ohio and Texas, recent surveys have shown Trump trailing in North Carolina, Arizona and Florida, tied in Georgia, and up by only five points in Utah.
Aaron Blake describes the current state of play this way:
Even if we allow that Arizona, Georgia and Texas aren’t about to go blue just yet and maybe Biden’s slight edge in Ohio won’t hold up — which seem to be legitimate assumptions — Biden is still winning in states accounting for 323 electoral votes, compared with 215 for Trump.
All of this is also bolstered by new data from the Public Religion Research Institute, which has been surveying a series of swing states and showed Trump’s favorability rating in them dropping from 53 percent in March to 38 percent today.
Again, Trump is strong in areas with few Electoral College votes, like Wyoming, West Virginia, and Nebraska, but this is really doing little to boost his chances. What’s it’s really doing is boosting his overall approval numbers on a national level without making it any more likely that he’ll win.