While some political pundits are already predicting that Donald Trump will win re-election in 2020, possibly even by a landslide, according to a Politico analysis, one top political commentator examined the current polling data, as well as the political climate, and in a Friday column has presented what he called an “alternative” 2020 election scenario.
In that scenario, says TPM Media founder and editor Josh Marshall, “Trump loses and it’s not even close.”
Marshall acknowledges that Trump enters the race with some significant factors in his favor.
“He has big advantages in the electoral college. Incumbents usually get reelected. And let’s be frank: he already did once what many of us thought was all but impossible.”
But Marshall says that the “alternative” scenario is “not at all unlikely” and in fact, it is “pretty plausible” that Trump will lose to the Democratic nominee in a landslide defeat. Why? The first reason, Marshall says, is that Trump is the most consistently unpopular president in history, or at least in the history of presidential popularity polling dating back to 1945.
According to the FiveThirtyEight average of all Trump approval rating polls, as of June 7, Trump’s approval rating stood at just 41.6 percent, while 53.2 percent say that they actively “disapprove” of Trump’s performance.
— The Hill (@thehill) June 7, 2019
As Marshall notes, several previous presidents have seen their approval ratings dip as low as Trump’s, and yet they have won re-election anyway. But no previous president has seen approval ratings as low as Trump’s “for his entire presidency.” In other words, Trump appears to have a ceiling on his popularity that, no matter what he does, he cannot move above, Marshall says.
Marshall also cites the “intensity” of opposition to Trump. Not only do most voters say that they “disapprove” of Trump’s job performance, polls have repeatedly shown more than 50 percent saying that they will “definitely” not vote for Trump in 2020. A recent PBS News Hour poll showed a whopping 57 percent of voters — nearly six of every 10 — saying they have already made up their minds, and will refuse to vote for Trump.
While Marshall acknowledges that even those voters who say they would not vote first Trump under any circumstances could, in theory, change their minds. But the high number of Americans — a majority — who now say they “definitely” will not vote for Trump shows that he faces a steep uphill battle. Not only must Trump win undecided voters, he must also somehow change the minds of voters who say they would not consider voting for him.
2020 General Election Head -2- Head matchup:
Biden 47% (+13)
Sanders 44% (+9)
Warren 40% (+4)
Harris 39% (+3)
Buttigieg 37% (+2)
Reuters/Ipsos Pollhttps://t.co/52kpfrgasD … …
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) June 6, 2019
The TPM editor also takes into account the fact that Trump won the 2016 election in the Electoral College, without winning the popular vote. But as a round of polling by Morning Consult revealed this week, in many of the key “battleground” states that Trump won in 2016, allowing him to win the Electoral College victory, Trump’s approval rating is now deeply underwater — that is, his approval rating is well below his disapproval rating in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and others.
“These are again, massive warning signs for reelection defeat,” Marshall wrote.