Is impeached president Donald Trump really sticking with his “Keep America Great” campaign slogan? Because you have to be a special kind of deluded to want to keep this rank incompetence around. There’s nothing about this that is great right now:
He did promise that we’d be tired of all that winning, didn’t he? Still, all that incompetence is finally catching up to Trump, as we’re seeing the first signs of real damage to his standing among independents.
As you can imagine, Republicans have decided to go down with the Trump ship. They’re all pretending things are great and Trump is awesome and about half even claim that the economy is staying the same or getting better!
But not everyone is in a bubble. Democrats have always seen through Trump. But independents—that eclectic grab bag of Greens and Tea Partiers, the politically apathetic, and who knows what else—have been more evenly split. That is, until now.
It all stems, predictably, from standing by helplessly like a moron during our global mass death event, then bungling it up worse than any other country in the world.
In the last two weeks, independents went from disapproving of the federal government’s coronavirus response from 44-53 to 39-58—an 11-point drop. Nationally, this is hurting him the in the key battleground map:
Independents disapprove of Trump’s coronavirus performance in every state, and by large margins in the key battlegrounds of Arizona (36-62, or a -26 net approvals), Florida (-8), Georgia (-23), Michigan (-13), North Carolina (-18), Pennsylvania (-17), and Wisconsin (-24). In every one of these states, those numbers have fallen in the last two weeks. It’s a uniform nationwide realization that maybe, just maybe, the country isn’t going in the right direction.
Speaking of, we actually ask that question: “Do you think things in this country are headed in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?” And again, it’s moving away from Trump—from 40-55 right track-wrong track two weeks ago, to 37-56 today. Even more concerning to Team Trump is the national map:
How are you going to visit those key seven battlegrounds and argue you’re going to “Keep America Great” when people think things are on the wrong track in Arizona (39 right track-55 wrong track), Florida (41-53), Georgia (41-53), Michigan (39-55), North Carolina (41-53), Pennsylvania (37-47), and Wisconsin (39-55)?
Now, anyone who has tracked Civiqs’ job approval numbers for Trump knows that they barely move. Public opinion is static. Mixing and matching other public polling gives the illusion of movement. (Trump is up three points! He’s down four!) Crappy pollsters accentuate that perception. But in reality, we’re locked in as a country. Think about it: You don’t know anyone who changes her or his mind regularly about Trump. It’s a big deal when anyone changes their mind about Trump.
Our partisan preference has become a deeply ingrained part of our own identities. Geographic polarization makes it even more so. Imagine someone in Manhattan declaring they were now a Trump supporter. His entire social circle would recoil in horror, leaving that individual isolated. Well, the same dynamic plays out in a rural town. It’s tough going against the grain. No one wants to lose their friends or social standing. No one wants to admit that they’ve been living a lie. That’s why conservative media exists—to allow conservatives to step outside reality and continue believing the unbelievable.
So this movement matters:
Yes, it’s a tiny uptick in disapproval, from 44-53 to 43-54. Just two points! But look at how steady that line is. That’s hundreds of thousands of respondents.
Also remember, Republicans are locked-in in support (90-7 approve), and Democrats are locked-in in opposition (95-4 disapprove). Those numbers haven’t moved in ... forever. And they won’t, no matter what. Remember what Trump said? “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.” He was right. He’s actually helped kill thousands in New York and he won’t lose any of his supporters. So that necessarily limits the ability of Trump’s overall numbers to shift.
But check out independents:
That’s a shift from 45-51 approvals to 42-54—a 6-point drop. This line isn’t as steady as the overall line; this is a more erratic population. But again, Trump is already suffering these drops, and we haven’t even seen the full effect of his disastrous coronavirus policy—from the prospect of tens of thousands of new deaths, to the economic devastation the pandemic has already wrought. And it’s not as if his daily airing of grievances is giving him a boost anymore. Quite the opposite.
Six of the seven battleground states are balanced on a razor’s edge, and Georgia has a slight Trump lean. He can’t afford to be losing a single voter in any key state. And yet independents are looking sketchy in all seven of them:
The more orange the state, the higher the disapprovals, and that’s a lot of orange in the battleground states. Trump is losing independents in Arizona 36-60! In Florida it’s 42-54, in Georgia 39-55, in North Carolina 38-59, in Pennsylvania 46-50, and in Wisconsin 44-53. The lone anomaly is Michigan, where Trump is winning independents 49-46—but even that is down from 51-44. Presumably, Michigan independents are more Tea Party-flavored. (Checking in on the 2016 exit polls, and yeah, it tracks. Trump won Michigan independents 52-36 while winning them nationally by only a 46-42 margin.)
Anyway, that’s a lot of words and graphs to show that yes, independents don’t seem to be into Trump’s inaction in the face of our mass death event, and it’s affecting his standing in the key battleground states.