Trump’s unpopularity is not new. It is his normal state.


The average poll puts Trump’s approval and disapproval rating in roughly the same position as the New York Times poll.
What is the point: Much ink has been spilled on how Trump’s position has deteriorated significantly in recent months. In fact, his net approval rating (approve – disapprove) has dropped about 10 points since the end of March. It is at its lowest point of the year, and there is certainly a case to be made that its scores will return to a long-term average.

However, for Trump to actually return in the 2020 election against former Vice President Joe Biden, it cannot be just his average self. You have to do much better than normal.

He has averaged just a 42.5% approval rating among voters for his entire presidency. Trump’s disapproval rating during that same period has been approximately 53%, making him a net approval rating of -10.5 points.

There is very little chance that Trump will win reelection if his net approval rating is negative two digits. We know that, basically, in all of this year’s polls, Trump is winning around 90% or more of those who approve of his job performance, while Biden is taking around 90% or more of the voters who disapprove of Trump.
Trump’s net approval in the 2018 exit poll was -9 points, a touch better than his long-term average. The Republican Party lost the popular vote of the House by 9 points. They also suffered a net loss of 40 seats in the House.
View 2020 Presidential Election Polls

The idea that Trump will somehow get his net approval rating into positive territory seems like a long shot. His net approval rating has only been positive for 1% of his entire administration and all those days were at the beginning (i.e. his honeymoon period).

In fact, Trump’s net approval rating has not exceeded -4 points since mid-March 2017. That was about 1,200 days ago. Even when he benefited from a flag-effect rally at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, his highest net approval rating was -4 points.

Would a -4-point net approval rating be good enough for Trump to win another term? It would be far from a guarantee. A net approval rating of -4 for Trump was not good enough to take the national lead in polls against Biden in late March through early April. No set of polls I know of has Trump within 3 points of Biden.

Now, such a close run in national polls would at least give Trump a fighting opportunity. There could be a voting error that allows Trump to win the popular vote. Chances are you can carry out the popular voting / polling station division, as you did against Hillary Clinton.
But note what we are talking about here. Trump would need the country to unite behind him as they have only once in the past three years. And it would have to take place since the coronavirus image is getting worse in many places.

That is a lot to ask.

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