A new Washington Post-ABC News poll presents some troubling trends for Democratic presidential candidates, including President Trump's job approval reaching "the highest point of his presidency" and all of the candidates besides former Vice President Joe Biden falling within the margin of error in head-to-head matchups against the man Democrats are so desperate to see dethroned in 2020.
The apparent reason for Trump's improving 2020 prospects, The Washington Post suggests, comes down to the most essential of electoral issues: "a strong economy and perceptions that he has dealt with it effectively." With an all-time high 47% approval among registered voters, the Post admits, "Trump has a narrow but real path to reelection."
"Trump’s approval rating among voting-age Americans stands at 44 percent, edging up from 39 percent in April, with 53 percent saying they disapprove of him," the Post reports. "Among registered voters, 47 percent say they approve of Trump while 50 percent disapprove. In April, 42 percent of registered voters said they approved while 54 percent said they disapproved."
Though Trump continues to poll badly on most issues, and a majority say he's "unpresidential," he's increasingly getting credit for the improving economy — and that might be enough to see him re-elected, the Post posits. Even a fifth of those who fault him for acting unpresidential still approve of his handling of the job.
While Trump is in the red on taxes (42%), foreign policy (40%), immigration (40%), and health care (38%), he polls at 51% approval on the economy — and that's among U.S. adults; among registered voters, Trump scored higher on overall approval. The Post found that 42% of adults say they disapprove of Trump's handling of the economy, which is a 4% improvement for him since October.
"Asked how much credit Trump deserves for the state of the economy, 47 percent say a 'great deal' or a 'good amount,' while 48 percent say he deserves 'only some' or 'hardly any,'" the Post reports. "When asked the same question in a January 2018 survey, a smaller 38 percent of Americans gave him credit for the economy while 56 percent said he deserved little or none. In that 2018 poll, 19 percent said he deserved a great deal of credit for the economy; today that number is 30 percent."
Along with the positive development for Trump in his approval, particularly among registered voters, Trump has become increasingly competitive against prospective Democratic opponents: The poll found that only Biden now holds a lead over Trump among registered voters that surpasses the margin of error.
The survey found Biden leading Trump with a sizeable 10-point advantage, 53-43, among registered voters in a prospective head-to-head 2020 matchup. The other potential opponents didn't fare nearly as well: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders edged Trump out by the slimmest of margins, 49-48; California Sen. Kamala Harris, who has surged in the polls following the first debate, led Trump by only 2 points, 48-46; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren found herself tied with Trump 48-48, as did South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 47- 47.
Another problematic result from the poll: Asked to choose between a generic candidate they considered a "socialist" and Trump, 49% said they'd choose Trump, while just 43% said they'd choose the Democrat.