Back when polling outlets first started surveying Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, Palmer Report warned everyone to ignore the initial numbers. When a crisis is unfolding, plenty of people will say the support the President even when they don’t, under the belief that it might help the nation’s chances of rallying through the crisis.
Donald Trump’s initial bump was actually quite small in comparison to the crisis spikes that other modern U.S. Presidents have gotten. Trump’s coronavirus crisis approval number peaked in the mid-fifties, and his overall approval rating peaked in the mid forties. Now the numbers are already coming down – quickly.
A few days ago we saw that Trump’s coronavirus crisis approval rating number had plummeted thirteen points and was underwater. Now a new Morning Consult poll also says Trump is way underwater in his handling of the crisis, with 40% approving and 47% disapproving.
You’re surely scratching your head and asking yourself how anyone out there at all, let alone 40% of the country, can somehow believe that Donald Trump is doing a good job with this crisis. But that’s a conversation for another day. The reality is that these numbers are absolutely terrible for Trump. In reelection terms, an approval rating of 40% is the rough equivalent of zero. He has no path to reelection if only 40% of Americans thinks he’s handling this crisis well, and only 40% of Americans approve of the overall job he’s doing.
As Palmer Report has been pointing out from the start of this crisis, the one number to watch is the 2020 election matchup. Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump in the polling averages is about as large as it’s ever been. It doesn’t really matter how many or few people say they approve of Trump’s handling of the crisis. What matters is how they’re planning to vote.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report