Trump Is Wildly Unpopular — So Why Are People Predicting He’ll Be Re-Elected? [Opinion]

A number of factors could foreshadow an electoral outcome in 2020 that most Americans might not be expecting.

President Donald Trump, smiling.
Andrew Harrer / Getty Images

A number of factors could foreshadow an electoral outcome in 2020 that most Americans might not be expecting.

Pollsters Chris Jackson and Clifford Young, both from Ipsos Public Affairs U.S., wrote an opinion piece for the Daily Beast this week in which they both state their belief that President Donald Trump has what it takes to win re-election.

Their analysis may be surprising to some — Jackson and Young believe that, as it stands right now, Trump is destined to be re-elected. In fact, they’re putting the odds at 70 percent that he’ll be president for another four years.

Their prediction is based off the study of 500 other elections in history, and is based — in part — on his current approval rating of 44 percent. But should his numbers dip lower still (as they have in the past few months), Trump’s chances of winning in 2020 are still high.

“[E]ven with an approval rating at 40 percent, Trump would still have better than a 50/50 chance of winning,” the pair wrote.

How is this possible? You would think that with the low approval ratings which Trump has garnered over the past two years, his chances of winning the White House again would be slim-to-none. Trump has never had a Real Clear Politics approval average that was a net positive since becoming president, and according to reporting from Business Insider, his approval rating going into the midterms last month were the worst of any president’s first midterm elections in modern history.

Those midterm results also indicate that Americans want a different direction, right? Well, not so fast. Most presidents, in fact, have faced losses in their party’s numbers in Congress in their first midterm races — and most of those presidents went on to win re-election years later. Republicans lost about 40 seats in the House this year. Under former President Barack Obama, however, the Democrats lost 63 seats in 2010, and Democrats also suffered a loss of 52 House seats under former President Bill Clinton, according to reporting from ThoughtCo.

Both Clinton and Obama went on to win re-election to the presidency.

All-things considered, the outcome of the midterms in 2018 are not demonstrative of a president in big trouble. Yes, Trump will have difficulties in the next two years — particularly in passing parts of his agenda — but as far as electoral history goes, the results last month don’t indicate that Trump is going to lose two years from now.

Another factor to consider is that Trump doesn’t necessarily need a strong approval rating to win the presidency — he just needs to make himself look like a better option than his Democratic opponent.

Trump is, if anything, a notorious mud-slinger, someone who is able to come up with catchy (if sometimes derogatory) nicknames for his political opponents. Said nicknames have staying power within the lexicon of American linguistics, according to reporting from Roll Call. It’s probably his strongest trait as a candidate for office: he’s capable of saying something, and having the media repeat it ad nauseum, even if it’s something that’s inaccurate or distasteful.

Those who believe Trump is unlikely to win re-election in 2020 need to take a step back and reconsider the historical trends. Trump’s unconventional style won’t assure him a loss in 2020. If anything, it’s his best bet to win.