Pollyanna Calls


It’s always a pleasure to hear from Pollyanna. Tonight’s call was especially welcome. First, she pointed out that rightwing rang The Washington Examiner is shitting bricks: Democratic victory points to trouble for Trump in crucial Wisconsin.

And she was especially big on this from the National Journal: Why Trump’s slump is likely to last all year: The president is losing ground in polls, faces a worsening economy, and is watching Democrats unify behind Joe Biden ahead of schedule:

There’s an understandable tendency for pundits to hedge their analysis of the 2020 presidential race, given how Trump’s 2016 victory upended so much conventional wisdom at the time. But the reality is that, absent a speedy V-shaped economic turnaround by the fall, Trump is now a decided underdog for a second term.

The latest wave of national polling underscores the challenges that the president faces. All the surveys show Trump losing ground from a brief uptick at the beginning of the crisis, with his popularity dipping most noticeably among independents.

The latest Morning Consult tracking poll, conducted between April 10-12, shows Trump’s overall approval rating slumping to 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving. His approval on the coronavirus crisis slipped to 45 percent, down 8 points since it peaked in mid-March. He’s now underwater with independents, a reversal from last month.

The new Navigator Research tracking survey, a Democratic polling initiative, found similar findings: Support for Trump’s handling of the crisis hit its lowest level since the disease began spreading in the U.S., with 46 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. Deeper inside the poll lies another cause for alarm for Team Trump: Right now, a majority of Americans still approve of his handling of the economy, including a plurality of independents. But that number probably has nowhere to go but down: If the economic downturn worsens, Americans are likely to take out their dissatisfaction on the president.

And the Republican consulting firm Firehouse Strategies, whose surveys have generally been favorable to the president, had more sober news. Its poll from April 4-10 found Trump trailing Biden by 10 points (53 to 43 percent) among registered voters. All of this month’s national polls testing Trump against Biden have found the president stuck between 39 and 44 percent of the vote.

Trump’s latest performance in battleground states isn’t any better. In traditionally Republican Arizona, a must-win state for Trump, he trails Biden 52 to 43 percent in a new OH/Predictive Insights poll. He’s down by 6 points to Biden in Florida, in an April University of North Florida survey, despite his generally sunny track record in the state. Biden led Trump in a trifecta of Michigan polls conducted in March. According to the RealClearPolitics statewide polling averages, Biden is ahead in every swing state.

Even Wisconsin, one of Trump’s strongest battlegrounds on the map, isn’t looking like a safe bet for Republicans. This week, Jill Karofsky, the liberal candidate for the state Supreme Court, handily defeated conservative justice Dan Kelly by a 10-point margin in a contest that served as a proxy for competing partisan passions. Trump endorsed Kelly, while Republicans opposed delaying the election this month in hopes of capitalizing on lower turnout during the pandemic. Those tactics backfired in a big way.