For all of the controversy over his leadership during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s worth noting that America seems pretty confident in Donald Trump — confident enough that the president’s average approval rating numbers are 10 points higher than when he won back in 2016.
That’s not to say Democrats aren’t panicking. They are.
Just look at any of Joe Biden’s livestreams. I mean it, please do; the man is so lonely that only a few thousand people tuned in live to a “virtual happy hour” with a man who is a) a teetotaler and b) basically the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee.
The lack of engagement might be one reason why Biden and his surrogates are now busy tweeting that Trump eliminated a key pandemic preparedness office (he didn’t), that he silenced a key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official who “was the first to raise the alarm” about the seriousness of the alarm (he didn’t) or that the president called coronavirus a “hoax” (we’ve been here before, haven’t we?).
So that could be one reason behind the invective. Another, theorizes Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, is because of the president’s approval numbers.
“Here’s an explanation for why @JoeBiden Democrats & the media are in full-scale attack mode against @realDonaldTrump,” Parscale tweeted Friday.
“His RealClearPolitics average approval rating today is 47.3. On Election Day 2016 it was 37.5. And he won. He’s almost 10 points higher now.”
His RealClearPolitics average approval rating today is 47.3.
On Election Day 2016 it was 37.5.
And he won.
He’s almost 10 points higher now. pic.twitter.com/v04CumMRRN
— Brad Parscale – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@parscale) March 27, 2020
This is the highest job approval rating from the RealClearPolitics aggregate of Trump’s presidency, higher even than when he took office. (Before now, his highest rating was 45.9 percent on Feb. 2, 2017.) Furthermore, it was a lot higher than it was on Election Day 2016.
Trump was helped by the fact that Hillary Clinton was an unusually unpopular candidate. According to the RealClearPolitics average, even at the closest point between the two, on May 25, 2016, the difference between their popularity-unpopularity gulfs was 2.8 points in favor of Clinton.
On Nov. 7, 2016, meanwhile, that gulf was 8.4 points in Clinton’s favor. Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable numbers were 41.8 percent to 54.4 percent, a -12.6-point gap. Trump’s, meanwhile, were 37.5 to 58.5 — a -21-point gap.
And yes, this person had an 8.4-point advantage on Trump:
He did promise “America First.” https://t.co/bzks3hqCUE
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 27, 2020
Why did she lose? I cannot possibly, dear reader, think of any reason.
Lest we think that Trump is going to have a rougher go of it this time around — Biden, after all, is up by a 7.1-point margin in the RealClearPolitics polling average — don’t forget that Trump will be facing off against this man:
Biden was just asked if the cure could become worse than the problem itself.
“We have to take care of the cure, that will make the problem worse no matter what”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 24, 2020
Unless he was talking about protecting the mope-rockers behind “Disintegration,” this doesn’t augur well.
All of which is to say that if Trump comes through this having comported himself well, it’ll be difficult to beat him.
That’s not terrible when you consider you could probably get 44.9 percent of voters to express their revulsion at Donald Trump building an orphanage and funding it in perpetuity. “Sure,” they would say, “what kind of egomaniac funds an orphanage in this day and age?”
Those voters would probably be chagrined to learn that, when you consider the percentage of voters who said they approved of Trump ahead of Election Day four years ago, you get the feeling they won’t be quite as important to Donald Trump as they suspect they are. That’ll be doubly true if his approval rating stays this high.
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