Let's start with the good news, and there's plenty of it in the latest polling -- beyond the top line results we discussed in our earlier post on the Washington Post/ABC News poll. Close your eyes for a moment and pretend you know nothing about the 2020 presidential election, aside from two facts: First, that there's an incumbent running for re-election. Second, that the mood of the electorate is reflected by these numbers on top issues. What would you conclude from this data? There's little wonder that Team Trump is touting Gallup's latest:
NEW POLL: On virtually every big indicator Americans say things are better today than they were at the end of the Obama-Biden presidency.— Andrew Clark ?? (@AndrewHClark) January 27, 2020
Economy is better (+22 points), country is more secure (+18 points), the military is stronger (+15 points), streets are safer (+9 points)... pic.twitter.com/T5Ee7yUE80
Public sentiment is up on every single metric, compared to when Barack Obama left office -- including substantial double-digit improvements on prosperity and security (voters approve of the Soleimani strike by a significant margin, despite loud media criticism). Even race relations and the standing of minorities in American society are being viewed more optimistically. Think about that. And juxtapose it with the conventional wisdom and the media's coverage of the Trump era. To say there's a disconnect is a distinct understatement. As for the thought experiment I posed above, the inescapable, obvious, unavoidable lesson one would reasonably draw from these across-the-board up-pointing arrows would be that the incumbent president is virtually a shoo-in, with nine months to go until the next election -- right? And there's no doubt that these conditions, should they remain roughly stable, will be very significant assets to the Trump campaign down the stretch. And yes, despite being mired in a wall-to-wall impeachment trial, the president's approval rating has been rather resilient. Also via the Trump headquarters:
??President Trump's average approval rating just hit 45.5%.— Andrew Clark ?? (@AndrewHClark) January 27, 2020
It's higher than it was the day Pelosi announced impeachment.
It's the highest it's been since the opening days of the Trump presidency.
The Democrats' political impeachment stunt is failing. https://t.co/pQuT5ksC5L pic.twitter.com/AvrvVzlIGG
ABC/WaPost General Election Poll Trend— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) January 28, 2020
13 point shift towards Trump vs Biden since last poll
12 point shift towards Trump vs Sanders
15 point shift towards Trump vs Warren
14 point shift towards Trump vs Buttigieg pic.twitter.com/tMKYPC4VOY
And those are national match-ups. It's a pretty safe bet that in the dozen or so states that will determine the 2020 victor, Trump is even more competitive. Including swing states like...Delaware?
It's not every day you see a Delaware poll (3 EVs), but these head-to-heads are noteworthy:— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) January 27, 2020
Biden 56%, Trump 40%
Sanders 47%, Trump 46%
Warren 49%, Trump 46%
Buttigieg 50%, Trump 45%
Trump's approval in DE is 45% pic.twitter.com/P3TMjFbnM4
The Biden blowout is no surprise, but peep those other numbers. Nobody should be under any illusions about deep blue Delaware going red in the fall, but if they're experiencing a purpling, that might suggest ripples elsewhere. Now, is it possible that looming impeachment developments could dent Trump and harm his prospects? Sure. But are people burned out on that entire saga? Several signs suggest so:
Impeachment coverage was a ratings disaster for CBS, ABC and NBC this week, who lost millions of viewers by pre-empting their usual daytime soap operas. https://t.co/VXQuev7wNu pic.twitter.com/rvkPk8sYI4— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) January 25, 2020
David Axelrod: even in a focus group of Democratic voters, "impeachment didn’t even come up, no one volunteered it, for 80 minutes...and we're right in the middle of the trial"pic.twitter.com/X7lskrjGCN— Tommy Pigott (@TCPigott) January 25, 2020
The bad news in all of this, from Trump's perspective? Roughly 70 percent of all voters are satisfied with the state of the economy and homeland security, the two pillars of overall political contentment. Yet the president presiding over these realities is stuck in the mid-40's on overall approval. That's not lethal to his chances, but he's much weaker and more vulnerable than he should be. The stupid, exhausting drama matters. The biggest obstacle to four more years for Trump, too often, is Trump himself. Democratic voters formally start the process of choosing his competitor in six days. And away we go...