Outside Of His Core Constituencies, Trump’s Re-Election Prospects Look Grim

Brandon Allen

Brandon Allen is an attorney in Charlotte who writes and tweets about polls and elections.

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77 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    This doesn’t really say much. Back in 2016, we knew that Trump unfavourability ratings were the worst ever, but he still won. Ultimately, the maths is in the turn out in swing states. Will people in swing states who don’t like trump stay home, vote for third party or vote for whoever is on the democratic ticket (presumably Biden, but who knows). Will Biden’s nomination cause the base to stay at home or will it pull swing voters to vote for him instead? Those are the numbers we should be looking at. If the democrats screw this up, trump could win every state he won in 2016. His failure to expand his base is not a liability if we are looking to repeat 2016 because he still won the electoral college in the end.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Murali says:

      Back in the day, there used to be what was called a “Yellow Dog Democrat”. These were Dems who would vote for anyone, even a yellow dog rather than a Republican.

      I think John Cole at Balloon Juice coined the phrase “crawl over broken glass” where he said he would crawl over broken glass to vote for any Dem over a Republican.

      My sense is that Trump will drive Dems to the polls no matter who the nominee is.Report

      • Murali in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        you’re looking at the wrong numbers. If there were enough yellow dog democrats, we would be in a clinton presidency now. There weren’t in 2016 and there probably aren’t enough now. Maybe Hillary was so bad that lots of them just stayed home, but that sounds unlikely. Hillary may have been bad, but I doubt she was so much worse than our current stock of democratic candidates.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Murali says:

          I’ve said elsewhere that I alternate between bright “arc of the universe” optimism and dark “we live in the end times” pessimism daily.

          Optimism is thinking that Trump may be defeated.

          Pessimism is that even if he is, it will be a close election, turning on subtle shifts in a few key precincts and states.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Murali says:

          Yet somehow the Democrats got a 40-seat wave in the House in 2018, won the Presidency in 2008 and 2012, and HRC won millions of more votes than Trump in 2016.

          More people voted for Democrats than Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan in 2018 and those legislatures stayed Republican because of extraordinary gerrymandering.

          What is it with people who seem constitutionally incapable of granting Democrats any credit or belief that they have popular support? Will you break out in hives?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            See it as akin to not wanting to believe that Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate who would lose to Trump.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

              There were lots of people predicting the GOP would keep and possibly gain seats in the House in 2008. This turned out to be very wrong. What does it take for people to admit that Donald Trump is a dumpster fire for the GOP? He is turning off lots of people especially moderate suburban moms. The GOP lost a few strongholds in 2018. Some of which might not come back for a long time.Report

              • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                What’ll it take? He’ll have to lose in 2020. The speed in which the right turns on him once he’s out of office should be breathtaking.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Oh, I tend to not call Trump a dumpster fire as much as I call him a hammer. He swings around and breaks fragile things and hollow things ring out like a bell.

                He’s doing damage to the GOP and, more than that, he’s exposing their hypocrisies.

                He is, indeed, turning off a lot of people.

                I imagine that Generic Democrat would slaughter him.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            They have been raised to perceive the Republican Party as the natural party of government because it is the party of Real, True American Citizens (TM). Not being the party of Real, True American Citizens (TM), electoral victories by the Democratic Party do not count.Report

          • Murali in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I’m not saying that Trump will win. I think its about 50-50 at this point. And that is primarily because the democrats have about a 50% chance of screwing this up all on their own. More specifically, my point is that the fact that Trump has not expanded his appeal does not mean that he won’t win in 2020. He will probably lose the popular vote, but the way things are set up, losing the popular vote is somewhat disconnected from winning the electoral college. And the republicans look to be at an advantage in this situation. Popular vote advantages do not automatically translate into victoriesReport

            • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

              I don’t think that enough effort has gone into “how did we screw this up?” following 2016 on the part of the Democrats.

              It’s Russia’s fault. It’s White Supremacists’ fault. It’s Sexists’ fault. It’s Wikileaks’s fault.

              This communicates that they don’t think that they have to do anything differently which makes me think that they’re going to screw this up massively.

              That said, Trump *IS* pretty unfashionable…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                But as we have seen, you yourself can’t articulate a theory of how the Dems “screwed it up” and you can’t provide a hypothesis as to how they could avoid screwing it up next time.

                You assert that the driving variable was HRC; But we see plenty of races in 2010 and 2014 where HRC was nowhere to be found, and the Dems got thumped; Why?

                You assert that the Dems are doing it wrong, yet they won big in 2018, and came within a whisker of winning in improbable races like Texas, Georgia, and Alabama; Why?

                The Dems have virtually exterminated the GOP in places like California, using the exact same messaging as they do nationally; How come this works here, but not there?

                Right now this theory that the Dems are “screwing it up” and that “Its all HRC’s fault!” explains exactly one data point, the national 2016 election; But its contradicted by every other data point.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, at the time, I argued about stuff like how the “we’re gonna put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of work” had a tin ear, how her attacks on the deplorables demonstrated a tin ear, and so on and so forth. Want me to find the comment threads?

                The arguments, at the time, were that Hillary had it sewn up tight and people who didn’t think so were concern trolling. I was one of the people arguing that she was screwing up and Trump was doing surprisingly well.

                Looking back with perfect hindsight, we can say “hey, of *COURSE* Clinton was destined to lose! LOOK AT THE TRENDS!” but when you look back at what people were saying at the time *BEFORE* (rather than after) the elections? They weren’t demonstrating that they were seeing the things that are oh-so-obvious *NOW*.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Your theory only explains one data point.”

                “Yes, but look how perfectly it explains it!”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I also had a formula. Remember my formula? I had to abandon it because we had Sam Wang as our Official Numbers Guy and his numbers were… well. Anyway. I had a theory at the time as well.

                Should I bother finding comment threads from the time? Because those might provide excellent snapshots of what people at the time were thinking, better than people wearing rose-colored glasses and doing the Nietzsche thing:

                “I have done that’, says my memory. I cannot have done that—says my pride and remains unshakeable. Finally—memory yields.”


              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Using the google I found one poll from 2018 which had Dem and Repub favorable effectively even in a national poll (45%, 44%) and a 2017 poll with the headline “Poll: Views of Democrats hit lowest mark in 25 years”.

                True, Dems gained seats in the 2018 midterms, so there’s that.

                Let’s be honest here, Dems are a mess right now, with traditional institutionalists trying to fend off the insurgent progressive wing. What’s worse is that Dem leadership – Pelosi and Schumer (spit) – are fixated on so many politically incoherent and (frankly) stupid messages and signals it’s hard for even *me* to figure out what the hell the party stands for anymore.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                The GOP leadership – Trump and McConnell (spit) – are fixated on so many politically incoherent and (frankly) stupid messages and signals it’s hard for even *me* to figure out what the hell the party stands for anymore.

                All snark aside, this is why I get so tired of this horserace/ color commentary.

                The ideas and theories put forward here are a mix of unfalsifiable hypotheses and goal post shifting and personal intuitions presented as universal truths.

                What are the Dems doing wrong?

                No one can say, but boy howdy, they are a mess if they don’t listen to my unspoken and inchoate proposals!

                What evidence do we have? Well, look over here at those election returns! No, don’t look at those over there, they don’t count.

                And I gotta tell ya, the American people are tired of this thing here I am also tired of, and they really want that other thing which I also happen to want.

                But I’m just a disinterested neutral observer, without any bias or preferences.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                What are the Dems doing wrong?

                They’re losing elections!Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Except for the ones they win. They don’t count.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No, they *do* count. That’s the problem.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Maybe elections don’t matter and all that happens is a pendulum swings and sometimes Democrats are on the upswing and sometimes Republicans are on the upswing and it does’t matter what anyone does because all that matters is the pendulum.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’ve always been about 80% on “The Dems don’t have to do anything different other than *not* run Hillary Clinton whose complicated history neutralizes or mitigates a lot of Trump’s obvious and glaring weaknessesReport

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                I don’t know if I’m looking at Trump and seeing a strong candidate because he’s a strong candidate or because I am overcompensating for getting the last election as wrong as I did.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, Trump was a weak candidate. But the other 20% is that everyone, and I mean everyone*, even within the Trump campaign, believed that Trump couldn’t win, and so acted accordingly.

                *everyone includes me but does not include Scott Adams or Bill Mitchell.

                eta – a very underappreciated fact is that if Trump didn’t have about 40 million dollars of personal liquidity to tap into around July 2016, the campaign would have been totally and irrevocably screwed.Report

        • North in reply to Murali says:

          Umm none of the current crop of candidates have had 30 plus years of focused Republican muck slinging and especially not muck slinging that originated prior to our current message -jaded electorate. As was demonstrated with Obama the right wing machine can’t replicate what they did to the Clintons (they tried and failed with Obama).Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Definitely not. The GOP hasn’t been focused on him, well, ever really. Even when he was veep their focus was on Obama and in the 90’s their focus was the Clintons. I mean you can see em trying to re calibrate and take aim but it sort of feels like they burned out on Clinton in 2016.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North says:

                I remember them jumping all over him in… was it 88? The Plagiarism thing.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the boot prints on his hide from that instance were democratic brand (his primary rivals). But in all honesty it’s before my time. I was 9.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                There’s a new GOP Sheriff in town, North. The old GOP died when Hillary lost/Trump won. Biden will be *exposed*. (Whether it sticks is another question.)Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes the sticking is the whole point. I don’t doubt for an instant that the right will accuse whomever the Dem nominee is of every horrible thing under the sun. The electorate is much more jaded and inured to the current means of hurtling such accusations. So unless they find sins Biden is actually guilty of (I would think they their most fertile ground would be on #metoo issues, if the right has two brain cells to rub together they should researching every woman the man has ever met for the past 30 years) I don’t think it’ll stick.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                I expect something different, much more cynical. FBI investigations and so on. The attacks on Biden will run on multiple tracks – retail political attacks, journalistic exposes, formal investigations – just like with Hillary and Bill. IOW, the tactics will be the same but this time will utilize the power of the executive branch.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Breaking news: Apparently that Lewendowski guy is saying Biden is behind the Steele Dossier. So i guess that proves something.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Exactly that. Trump will put word out to find questionable relationships or business deals Biden has been a part of, amplify the findings, imply some nefarious intent, demand that DOJ investigate those connections, Barr signs off on opening investigation.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’d be depressed but unsurprised by such attempts. It’d be interesting to see if any of that persuades anyone outside the Trump true believer circles though.

                I suppose that’s one of your factors in favor of impeachment? Keep him so busy with congress that his clown posse has less bandwidth to stir up mischief along these avenues?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Not really. I expect Trump to ramp up his obstructiony corruption in response to Dems opening an impeachment inquiry. My argument is that Trump has committed multiple impeachable offenses – and that he’ll continue to do so, engaging in untold new and exciting impeachable offenses for as long as he’s in office – and that the politics is better for the Dems, short and long term, if they formally open the inquiry.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to North says:

            None of the current crop of candidates are facing the twin pillars of “How bad could it really be” and “Of course Trump can’t win” either.

            Trump won. And everyone knows that means Trump can win, and exactly what that means (for good or for ill) in terms of a Trump Presidency.

            Judging by every election since (special or otherwise), there appears to be a rather sizable case of buyer’s remorse.Report

          • Murali in reply to North says:

            Hasn’t Trump been going after Warren for a while now? That native american heritage bit is going to affect her polls. Trump has the instinct of a bully for these kinds of things: the thing that sticks in my mind about that whole thing is that she claimed she was 1/8 native american but she really wasn’t (If I concentrate, I can recall that the actual facts may be somewhat different, but the right wing narrative is the more immediate association and that spells trouble) and Pocahontas.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

              The current kerfuffle (on twitter, anyway) was that there was an article talking about how she charged some ungodly amount per hour as a lawyer. (Up to $675/hour!, Google tells me.)

              The responses to this line of attack weren’t particularly robust, it seems to me.

              (Personally, I think that something like “sure, she charged that much but she gave away 10% of her billable hours to the poor!” would exonerate her, given that those numbers are commensurate with Big Law at the time.)

              I *DO* understand that it’s kinda unfair to look at that number and think “I only make $X/hour! She charged an order of magnitude higher than I do!” because billable doesn’t equal take-home and all that and most people probably haven’t had to deal with lawyers beyond wills or real estate issues so something like Warren’s area of expertise is far outside of their day-to-day interactions.

              But, man, the responses to this information coming out was stuff like “the media is helping Trump! Again!” rather than seeing this as something that, yeah, happens when a candidate gets investigated when they’re running for something.Report

            • North in reply to Murali says:

              Yes, he has and he’s had some success with it because there is some fact within it. Warren did claim to be native american, verbally mostly, but they also found at least one document where she also claimed native american heritage. Warren has defenses about this but Trump has latched onto the reality of it and has also demonstrated that Warren has somewhat of a tin ear on the matter. It has definitely hurt her.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Murali says:

          Well, for starters, what percentage of left-leaning voters thought some variation of “Clinton is a foregone conclusion/Trump can’t possibly win”. (In fact, judging by his expression election night, Trump himself was a “Trump can’t possibly win” man).

          That doesn’t even get into the difference between “How I imagine Trump-the-President will go” and “How Trump the President has gone” (it’s like generic politician X versus a real one. One is an imaginary construct that agrees with you 100%, the other…does not).

          Thirdly, there’s the fact that demographic trends continue to move against Trump (his primary demographics are generally shrinking), so his 2020 is smallerr than the exact same voting pool, voting the exact same way, is in 2016, which is not a problem the Democrats face.

          Lastly, of course, is we have several hundred data points since Trump was elected — every special election between November 2016 and November 2018, and of course the 2018 mid-terms themselves, which all show the same thing — an 8 to 10 point turn against the GOP relative to their 2016 numbers.

          I don’t know what numbers you’d prefer to look at, but it seems the most on-point numbers would be, of course, all those elections in the interim.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:

            I think there is a lot of polling that shows Bernie’s performance in the 2016 primaries was because there were a lot of anti-HRC democrats (many of whom ended voting for her in the general so they are not too anti-HRC). Bernie is second place right now but not climbing above because he lost a lot of anybody but Clinton primary voters.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              I think there is a lot of polling that shows Bernie’s performance in the 2016 primaries was because there were a lot of anti-HRC democrats

              A lot of anti- *institutional Dem* Democrats, seems to me. Bernie’s numbers are lower this time because lots of other candidates (Warren in particular) are taking his support.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        My sense is that Trump will drive Dems to the polls no matter who the nominee is.

        I can think of *ONE* nominee who might not inspire turnout.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        My sense is that Trump will drive Dems to the polls no matter who the nominee is.

        Pelosi is doing her best to ensure that doesn’t happen Chip!Report

  2. JoeSal says:

    Not as full-throated “Trump is Doomed!” post as we have had in the past, I guess it’s a “Trump is kinda, maybe, Doomed!”

    I was wondering when these would start up.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to JoeSal says:

      Well, objectively speaking, Trump’s numbers right now look bad. This post could have been written by someone on Trump’s campaign team, seems to me.

      Also, when have we ever had a “Trump is doomed” post? Not saying there isn’t one, but I don’t recall reading it.Report

      • North in reply to Stillwater says:

        What is interesting for me is that the economy continuing to chug along through all this is the one silver Trump lining and this is what his approval ratings look like. I wonder what would happen if the economy swooned? My counter intuitive hunch is that he wouldn’t dip terribly much further.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

          Bold counter intuitive… I like it. My counter-counter intuitive would be that the numbers might not change much (owing to negative partisanship) but the voter turn-out would dip for soft-Trumpers resulting in a pretty big win for the D’s. I’m talking an actual “swoon” though, not a trumped up 1.8% growth is really a swoon sort of thing.

          On the counter-counter-counter intuitive take, it does still depend upon the Democratic nominee and the campaign message… I’m sensing its going to be a mostly vanilla hopey/changey/competency plus M4A candy campaign… but if it turns into a Hold my Beer while I Burn the Villages, rout our foes and take their video games campaign, then…

          I’d like to think I’m a negative bellweather of some sort… not likely to vote Dem under the current philosophy… 99.9% certain to sit this out (or vote for one of my boutique candidates) but if I feel compelled to vote R, man you guys are gonna lose bigly.

          Unfortunately I’m only really a disaster bellweather… not much good in a 45% to 45% slug fest.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

            A more straight up view is that Trump is playing with fire in the heartland. The tariffs are killing some of those farming communities (not to mention that the Chinese hoax created to take American jobs is ravaging those same communities with massive flooding…) and bailouts may not be what those folks view as making America great again.

            Add: I read something this morning on the last bailout. The average amount recieved was ~ $7800, which was a small fraction of those farmers losses.Report

          • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

            Last I checked Biden and the centrists haven’t pushed M4A yet and if the left stays divided up to the primaries then it’s likely they won’t embrace M4a at all.

            Of course it hinges on what kind of candidate the Dems choose. They could muck it up but other than Bernie I’d think most of the front runners could beat Trump.Report

  3. Aaron David says:

    I am reminded of the Kevin Bacon scene at the end of Animale House:

    • North in reply to Aaron David says:

      Nah, I don’t think Trump’s on a track to get flattened like that as long as the economy doesn’t downshift and he doesn’t let Bolton’s moustache start a war with Iran. His passionate base should contain the damage to just a defeat rather than a route.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    OT but we have Mayxit! Almost all of her successors are likely to be worse and she was pretty badReport

    • Murali in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      She had a shit hand dealt to her. The country is too divided about brexit for any feasible brexit plan to go through. The DUP will not accept a hard irish border and there aren’t enough hard brexiteers in parliament to push a deal through without the DUP. As corbyn continues to waffle on brexit, he will bleed remain voters to the Lib-DemsReport

      • North in reply to Murali says:

        And deserves to. I hope the Lib-Dems absolutely thump Labor.Report

        • Murali in reply to North says:

          The Lib-Dems will do relatively well (at least better than the conservatives and Labour) in the european elections. Whether they become nationally competitive after that is an open question. I don’t see them becoming a major party unless the tories and labour screw up majorly*

          *Which may very well happen if Johnson is prime minister. If the brexiteers are in charge of the tories, more of them might leave to join the independent group. So far, the independent group has not joined the lib-dems, but that could changeReport

        • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          The Lib-Dems were ripped apart along time ago.Report

      • J_A in reply to Murali says:

        She had a shit hand dealt to her

        I respectfully disagree.

        The referendum results were 52-48, with really no one in the 52 side being able to articulate what Brexit meant (besides Brexit means Brexit)

        She could have cobbled together a soft Brexit plan (more or less what Labour is proposing NOW) as a multi party grand bargain that delivered Brexit somehow, while minimizing the impact and disruption that Remainers were (rightfully) concerned about.

        That she decided that catering to the Conservative Party Brexiters was more important that uniting the country, and delivering an OK Brexit, is fully on her. She was the one that didn’t do her homework about what the EU would accept before triggering Article 50. The red lines were not painted by the EU, or by the voters and the language of the referendum. She was the one that painted those, without considering that the only way out, without stepping on those red lines, was No Deal.

        As an original Remainer, May had the credibility to craft a different Brexit that would deliver something to everyone, including to the EU. Instead, she decided that she needed to show Brexiters that she was one of them, that she will deliver the Hard Brexit that they were salivating about, without understanding the costs.

        At the end, May’s saving grace, and what history will remember, was to realize, at the 11th hour, that “No Deal is better than a bad deal” might be a catchy slogan, but that it was a lie. And she preferred to walk away in humiliation rather than succeed in throwing the country over the No Deal cliff.

        That will be Boris’ jobReport

        • Murali in reply to J_A says:

          I’m not sure I’ve heard of any prime minister bucking their own party (brexiteers form a majority of the conservative party last I heard) and working with the opposition instead. To say that she didn’t do so this time seems to put an unfairly high standard on her.

          Labor may be proposing a soft brexit plan now, but I doubt that they would have worked with May if she had proposed anything like it over the past three years.

          Corbyn may be an asshole, but he knows how to play hardball politics.Report

          • J_A in reply to Murali says:

            That might explain failing to reach to other parties. If does not explain while she wrote the red lines the way she did.

            After all, the Tories also included a significant number of Remain voters, including, at the time of Lancaster House, the then Prime Minister, the then Chancellor, the previous Prime Minister and Chancellor, and probably the majority of the Cabinet.

            If she had designed a softer Brexit from the start, I doubt that she would have had much push-back from her own party constituents, who just wanted to check the box of being “out of the EU” without caring for details. And with a larger majority, she would have been less beholden to the fringes to the parliamentary party.

            One of the reasons the Tories lost their majority is that, by 2017, there was little space for Remainers or soft Brexiters in the Conservative Party. If you are a Remainer, or someone who’s worried about No Deal, who would you vote in 2017? Who would you vote in a General Election today? Not the Tories.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

          Actually, the red lines were painted by the voters and the EU.

          I mean her primary red lines were:

          1. Out of the common market. The UK had to be, if they wanted to control immigration from the EU. There is no world in which the EU allows the UK to remain in the common market, but not subject to free movement. And you can’t tell me that “Stop all those immigrants from taking our jobs” wasn’t a huge talking point for Brexit.

          2. Out of the customs union. Again, this was predicated on yet ANOTHER big pro-Brexit talking point — the UK making their own trade deals and tariffs. Again, there is no world in which the EU agrees to let the UK be in the customs union, but still make their own tariffs and trade rules.

          3. No money to the EU — which of course, was definitely a pro-Brexit talking point, but does mean the UK is out of a lot of EU institutions. (Which seemed to shock an amazing number of people).

          Of course, if you’re not in the customs union or the common market that does screw the GFA, which led to another red line (the GFA has to be respected), which of course is diametrically opposed to other red lines — but again, that’s not really her fault.

          May actually worked based on what the loudest, most influential Brexit voices wanted — control over immigration, control over trade, and out of any ‘onerous’ EU regulations. However, the natural consequences of those demands (out of the common market, out of the customs union, and the mess that’s the border) were things they also hated.

          The pro-Brexit crowd promised a cheese submarine, and May delivered a cheese submarine that would, of course, sink immediately. But that’s what you get when you demand a cheese submarine. Any cheese submarine will sink. There is no magic working cheese submarine. If you want it, you need to understand that it lives it’s life on the bottom of the ocean. Which is great if you want a large mass of soggy cheese.

          Not so great if you want to explore the seas.Report