Gallup's polling data has been relatively friendly to President Trump in recent months on several fronts, but his standing took a fairly dramatic dip in mid-April, amid the Coronavirus pandemic: "Gallup has recorded its sharpest approval rating dip to date since President Trump took office, currently standing at 43%, per recently released polling," Axios reported midway through last month. "Americans' approval of Trump's presidency has dropped six percentage points since March 24." But a fresh batch of numbers released recently point to a significant rebound:
Gallup: Trump job approval soars *thirteen net points* all the way back into positive territory at 49-47 (was 43-54)— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) April 30, 2020
Gallup has now gone from one of Trump's worst polls during his presidency to his best. pic.twitter.com/uReqywuDje
Trump gets bump in latest Gallup Poll:— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) April 30, 2020
49% approval (+6, tied for his best)
47% disapproval (-7)
Trump is also slightly above water on handling the crisis (50/48), down ten net points since March, due to double-digit drops among Democrats and independents. But unaffiliated voters have a sunnier view of Trump's presidency as a whole, with Trump's overall job approval among independents ticking back up to 47 percent. From Hot Air's review of some of the crosstabs: "The President is still having trouble winning back the women’s vote, however. He still does well among men (53/44) but that number flips on its head among the ladies (44/51). He’s also holding fairly steady on the racial front, with white voters supporting him 58/40, but non-white voters still come up considerably short at 31/61." If Trump is anywhere near a +2 approval rating on election day -- and wins the male vote by nine points, while losing women by seven -- he will almost certainly be re-elected.
But the incumbent's average approval rating is five points lower than what Gallup measured, and he hasn't led in a single head-to-head national poll against Joe Biden since February (the best he's done recently is a tie). Part of the reason I'm dubious that Trump's true standing is reflected in Gallup's most recent survey is internal GOP numbers showing Georgia in play, and public data showing Biden ahead in Arizona. There's just no way Trump is above water on job approval nationally if he's in real danger of losing a pair of traditionally red states in the fall. This behind-the-scenes blow-up suggests the president and his re-election team are seeing numbers that have them nervous:
Mr. Trump, according to multiple people familiar with the exchange, erupted during a phone call with his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, two days after he was presented with polling data from his campaign and the Republican National Committee that showed him trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, in several crucial states. He lashed out at Mr. Parscale and said it was other people’s fault that there had been fluctuations in a race they had all seen as his to lose just two months ago. At one point, Mr. Trump said he would not lose to Mr. Biden, insisted the data was wrong and blamed the campaign manager for the fact that he is down in the polls.
The president has been overexposed and many voters haven't liked what they've been seeing, which is why the daily briefings have been drastically pared back. And this doesn't seem like much of a denial from the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee:
Ronna McDaniel: "I don't really rely on polling this far out..." @ThisWeekABC— Rick Klein (@rickklein) May 3, 2020
Translation: The polls are real, and they're painting a rough picture right now. Under normal circumstances, I'd say that an incumbent with Trump's numbers in May of his re-election year is in very dire trouble. And Trump may be. But these aren't normal circumstances, to say the least. Joe Biden's invisibility has clearly helped him, though his re-emergence into the national glare to fend off a credible sexual assault allegation probably wasn't what his campaign was hoping for. If the country is still in serious pain, both in terms of the public health issue and the economic fallout, by the end of the summer, Trump will need a miracle to win. But if people are feeling better about things, and optimism is growing on jobs and the economy, public opinion could absolutely swing back in his favor. Events, events, events. I'll leave you with an analysis suggesting that Democrats may also be ever so slightly favored to take back the Senate, as things stand:
A year ago I wrote that Republicans were favored to hold the Senate. Based on my modeling of past years, the Senate now slightly tilts towards the Democrats. A fairly major reversal. https://t.co/ZXX5B5tszK— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) May 2, 2020
The prospect of unified Democratic control is realistic, at the very least. Conservative voters need to understand how plausible that scenario is and mobilize accordingly. There's a reason why Mitch McConnell told me last week that the GOP majority is in jeopardy and that control of the Senate will come down to a brutal dogfight in which Democrats have a spending advantage.
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