Trump’s ratings recover from crisis lows

Joe Biden’s national lead over Trump narrows even as a terrible jobs report is released. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

In the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate, Donald Trump’s ratings with all polls are 43.6% approve, 51.9% disapprove (net -8.3%). With polls of registered or likely voters, Trump’s ratings are 44.3% approve, 51.9% disapprove (net -7.6%). Since his lowest point of the coronavirus crisis, Trump has recovered about two points on net approval.

In the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Biden’s lead over Trump has fallen to 4.5%, down from 5.9% three weeks ago. In the one recent poll of a key swing state, Biden leads Trump by three points in a Wisconsin Marquette poll. The previous Marquette poll, in March, also had Biden leading by three.

On Tuesday, by-elections occurred in two federal House seats. While the Republicans won by 57-43 in Wisconsin’s Seventh, this was positive for Democrats as Trump won this district by over 20 points in 2016. The Republicans’ win by a big 56-44 in California’s 25th is much worse for Democrats as the district voted for Hillary Clinton by almost seven points. This was the first gain of a Californian seat for Republicans since 1998. The 2016 presidential figures are from a Daily Kos downloadable spreadsheet.

During the 2016 campaign, whichever candidate drew the most attention would generally suffer in the polls. Clinton’s lead widened after Trump’s “grab em by the pussy”, but narrowed after her own “deplorables”, and when the FBI reopened its investigation into her emails.

Until recently, Trump was conducting daily coronavirus briefings. The media focus on these briefings may have contributed to his ratings slide. Recent media attention on Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Biden from 1993 could have damaged him.

In the 2016 exit poll, those who disliked both Clinton and Trump voted for Trump by 17 points. CNN analyst Harry Enten says that in 2020, Biden is crushing with “double haters”, but Trump is crushing with those who do not dislike either candidate. In 2016, double haters were a larger portion of the electorate than now, while those who dislike neither candidate has grown.

There has been a recent decline in US coronavirus cases and deaths. If much of the economy can be reopened without a renewed surge in cases, that would be good news for Trump, enabling him to brag about a strong recovery before the November election. I cannot see Trump winning if the current terrible economic situation continues until the election.

A terrible US jobs report

The April jobs report was released on May 8. 20.5 million jobs were lost and the unemployment rate jumped 10.3% to 14.7%. That is the highest unemployment rate and the biggest one-month change in the history of this series. This data goes back to January 1948, so it does not include the Great Depression. The previous highs for unemployment were 10.8% in November 1982, and 10.0% in October 2009.

The employment population ratio – the percentage of eligible Americans that are employed – crashed 8.7% in April to just 51.3%, far lower than in the global financial crisis, during which the lowest employment ratio was 58.2% in June 2011. As the unemployment rate excludes those not participating in the workforce, I prefer the employment ratio as a summary statistic. In Australia’s April jobs report, the employment ratio was 59.6%, much higher than the US.

In January, before the current crisis, the US employment ratio was at 61.2%, the highest since November 2008.

The one positive in this jobs report was that hourly wages rose $US 1.34 to $US 30.01. But this was the result of so many low-income jobs being shed. The aggregate weekly payrolls (weekly wages times number employed) fell 10.9% in April.

7 comments on “Trump’s ratings recover from crisis lows”

  1. A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 23% of Republican voters think their party should find someone other than Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee.

    Jennifer Horn@NHJennifer
    @23% of GOP wish @realDonaldTrump wasn’t their nominee.

    We only need about 4% to vote that way to win this.

    We won’t back down.


    @ProjectLincoln@gtconway3d@TheRickWilson@SteveSchmidtSES@jwgop@reedgalen @madrid_mike@RonSteslow

  2. “A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 23% of Republican voters think their party should find someone other than Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee.”….

    But at least another 23% are Tea Partiers who would not vote if Trump is not the GOP’s nominee…

    So, it looks like that Biden is going to be the next POTUS….

  3. “Talking about The Donald: Latest brain fart nonsense from Trumpality”…

    Yep, poor Don: half of his brain is scared on Obama…. the other half is scared of Biden….

  4. “I cannot see Trump winning if the current terrible economic situation continues until the election.”…

    The terrible economic situation is just starting…. and it won’t snap-back to the pre-coronavirus situation any time soon… It’s not that businesses have just gone into “temporary hibernation”…. Many businesses have gone bankrupt, closed down and they have been vanquished….

  5. One of the most extraordinary things of this year’s election season has been the extraordinary stability – Biden has led Trump by between 5 & 9 points since it became apparent that was the likely match up, about a year ago.

    The reason for this is Trump – about 30-40% love him, love what he stands for, and will vote for him no matter what. 45-55% of people hate him, and want him gone at any cost, and Biden is just a means to an end.

    It seems more than likely that the Trump-haters will win out in November, if only because there are more of them, but turn-out in the battleground states will be key.

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