Even more bad news for the disintegrating reelection campaign of Donald Trump: His base is deserting him.
“The decline in the president’s standing has been particularly pronounced among white voters without a college degree, helping to explain why the Trump campaign has felt compelled to air advertisements in Ohio and Iowa, two mostly white working-class battleground states where Mr. Trump won by nearly 10 points four years ago,” says election poll analyst Nate Cohn over at The New York Times.
“In the most recent polls, white voters without a college degree back the president by 21 points, down from 31 points in March and April and down from the 29-point lead Mr. Trump held in the final polls of registered voters in 2016,” Cohn writes, suggesting that the have-nots are increasingly having had enough of Trump’s lies and failure to deliver on promises.
The coronavirus pandemic, a severe economic downturn and the widespread demonstrations in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in police custody would pose a serious political challenge to any president seeking re-election. They are certainly posing one to President Trump.
His approval rating has fallen to negative 12.7 percentage points among registered or likely voters, down from negative 6.7 points on April 15, according to FiveThirtyEight estimates. And now a wave of new polls shows Joe Biden with a significant national lead, placing him in a stronger position to oust an incumbent president than any challenger since Bill Clinton in the summer of 1992.
He leads the president by around 10 percentage points in an average of recent live-interview telephone surveys of registered voters. It’s a four-point improvement over the six-point lead he held in a similar series of polls in late March and early April. Since then, Bernie Sanders has left the Democratic race, the severity of the coronavirus pandemic has become fully evident, and the president’s standing has gradually eroded.
In the mythology that holds sway over President Trump’s political imagination, the massive crises rocking the country — pandemic, depression, the worst civil unrest in 50 years — are all being alchemized by the president’s magical reality-bending powers into political gold.
Trump has hoped to use these events to solidify his grip on his base, by vowing to protect Trump country from a disease ravaging urban America, by harnessing the supposed populist rage of Real American workers against Democratic elites locking down economies, and by repurposing “law and order” race-baiting to transform Joe Biden into an ally of crime and urban mayhem.
A new Post/Schar-School poll reports “a very large shift underway in how white voters view the issues underlying the protests on America’s streets.
Only 35 percent of Americans overall approve of Trump’s handling of the protests, the Post poll finds. Meanwhile, 74 percent support the protests and 69 percent say the killing of George Floyd shows broader problems in how police treat black Americans.
But note these findings among whites: Only 39 percent of them approve of Trump’s approach, while 57 percent disapprove; 69 percent of them support the protests; and 68 percent of them say Floyd’s death reveals systemic police mistreatment of blacks.
It looks plausible that a broad cultural shift may be underway throughout white America on these issues. Biden could directly benefit from this if he is perceived as striking a much saner balance. He has condemned violence while calling for broad reforms to address grievances that large swaths of white America now see as legitimate and demanding of action.
Sargent notes that Trump’s tweet claiming that the 75-year-old man slammed into the ground by police was an ANTIFA setup is pissing off a lot of people, black and white.
As Trump’s floating of this despicable conspiracy theory shows, it is highly unlikely he can be persuaded to even ask himself whether his magical demagoguery might be failing him. So this derangement will continue.
But, with some signs showing the protests are settling into a calmer, more quietly resolute longer-term posture as grievances appear to be getting heard throughout society, this nonsense will likely make Trump continue to look more unhinged and out of touch. Including among white voters.
The Trump Travesty Train is derailing and it is not happening soon enough.