Voters increasing disappointed in Trump and say US is 'pretty seriously' off course, poll finds

'If past is prologue, unless he can raise his job approval significantly during the next four months, he cannot win,' expert says of president

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Wednesday 01 July 2020 16:25
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Kayleigh McEnany says Donald Trump is the 'most informed person on the planet'

Voters are increasingly disappointed with Donald Trump's performance as president and stunningly pessimistic about the state of the country, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

Mr Trump's disapproval rating stands at 59 per cent just over four months before Election Day, according to the newest Politico-Morning Consult poll. His job approval rating again failed to crest 40 per cent (39 per cent).

The president's unfavourable rating is also high, at 56 per cent (39 per cent favourable). His expected general election foe, former Vice President Joe Biden, fared much better, with a 46 per cent favourable rating against a 47 per cent unfavourable mark.

Americans are remarkably down on the health of the country, with 75 per cent of those polled saying not just that the United States is on the wrong path, but that is is "pretty seriously" off course. That is always bad news for an incumbent chief executive who is running for a second term.

But Mr Trump and his top campaign advisers continue to dismiss most independent polls, saying they were wrong four years ago when he won the Electoral College easily. They claim their internal surveys show a close race in the six or seven swing states that experts say will decide the election.

"Sorry to inform the Do Nothing Democrats, but I am getting VERY GOOD internal Polling Numbers. Just like 2016, the @nytimes Polls are Fake!" Mr Trump tweeted on Monday. "The @FoxNews Polls are a JOKE! Do you think they will apologize to me & their subscribers AGAIN when I WIN? People want LAW, ORDER & SAFETY!"

The president is scheduled to remain out of sight from reporters – and out of range of their questions – on Wednesday for the fifth consecutive day as his administration continues to deny he was briefed about alleged US intelligence reports that Russian spy units paid bounties to Taliban-linked militias to kill American and coalition troops inside Afghanistan.

Mr Trump in recent weeks has typically spoken publicly at least once a day during the workweek, as his White House has attempted to portray him as almost single-handedly rebuilding an economy hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic while also casting him as a "law-and-order" president who is standing up to "anarchists" who have taken over protests over racial inequities.

Amid a raft of questions about what he knew and when about the bounty reports, Mr Trump again has no public events on his schedule, and has not been seen since being photographed following a round of golf at his Northern Virginia club on Sunday.

Mr Trump – already dealing with a flailing re-election campaign that lacks a coherent message, a resurgence in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations, and the racial inequities protests – appeared to describe his own mental state in a Tuesday tweet, calling himself "THE LONE WARRIOR!"

The Politico-Morning Consult poll is just the latest piece of bad news for Mr Trump's re-election effort. An average of several polls tabulated by RealClearPolitics gives Mr Biden a 9.5 percentage point lead nationally. Its calculations also show the former VP leading the president by at least 6 points in four key swing states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, that Mr Trump won in 2016.

"In modern political campaigns, job approval is a good indicator of the popular vote percentage the incumbent president is likely to receive. The closer the contest gets to election day, the smaller the gap between these two metrics. During the past six elections involving incumbents ... the difference between the president's final pre-election job approval and his share of the popular vote has averaged about 1 percentage point," according to William Galston of the Brookings Institute.

"In 2020, this convergence has already occurred. As of June 26, President Trump was averaging 41.4 per cent of the vote in head-to-head contests with Joe Biden, just 0.8 per cent higher than his job approval, and these numbers will be tightly linked between now and the election," the former Clinton White House aide wrote recently. "If past is prologue, unless he can raise his job approval significantly during the next four months, he cannot win."

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