Tuesday, January 29, 2019


It's temting to believe that Donald Trump is doomed when the numbers are as bad as the ones in a new ABC/Washington Post poll:
A third of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents oppose President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination to a second term and 56 percent of all adults said they wouldn’t consider voting for him....

Thirty-two percent of Republicans and Republican leaning-independents said they’d like the party to nominate someone other than Trump as the GOP candidate for president in 2020.

Among mainline Republicans -- excluding independents who lean toward the party -- 27 percent want someone other than Trump. Opposition to Trump runs as high as 41 percent of women, 42 percent of independents and 49 percent of moderates within the ranks of Republicans and GOP leaners.

We're told that the "wouldn’t consider voting for him" number is "signficantly higher" than what Barack Obama faced in his first term, but Obama's worst number was quite high, and his support within his own party was more tentative:
Opposition to a second Trump term is significantly higher than former President Barack Obama encountered, peaking at 46 percent in Oct. 2011. Trump’s support in his base is more solid, with 70 percent of Republicans who said they’ll definitely vote for him, compared with 58 percent of Democrats for Obama in 2011.
In late November 2010, a Marist poll found that 48% of voters would "definitely" vote against Obama. (Mitt Romney would go on to win 47% of the vote.) In a Quinnipiac poll from November 2010, 49% of voters said that Obama had not earned reelection, while 43% said he had.

On the subject of a primary challenge, the 32% number among Republicans right now seems high, but the number for Obama was 27% in that November 2010 Quinnipiac poll. In September 2010, Gallup found that 37% of Democrats would back Hillary Clinton over Obama in a 2012 primary (52% backed Obama). And here's an odd item for the time capsule: an April 2010 NPR story speculating on possible primary challengers to Obama. Names included Clinton, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich(!), Mike Bloomberg, Harold Ford(!), and Claire McCaskill.

It's possible that Trump's support will continue to weaken, especially after we learn what Robert Mueller knows. But for now, he's at 65%-32% within his party, so the nomination seems locked up at this moment. And his general election numbers aren't much bleaker than those of Obama at his lowest point. (Remember, in the short term Trump's numbers are likely to rise now that the shutdown is over, unless he starts another one.)

And, of course, the possibility of a three-way race might mean that Trump can win even if 56% of voters vote against him. (He needed only 46% of the vote last time, in a race that had no third-party billionaire, so a ceiling of 44% in 2020 might be enough for him.) Don't rule out a second victory for Trump just yet.

No comments: