On Thursday, Fox News released the results of a poll conducted on 1,013 registered voters between August 11 - 13. According to the poll, each one of the top four Democratic presidential candidates would defeat President Trump in the 2020 election if it were held today.
The survey asks: "If the 2020 presidential election were held today, how would you vote if the candidates were..."
- Joe Biden (50%), Donald Trump (38%)
- Bernie Sanders (48%), Donald Trump (39%)
- Kamala Harris (45%), Donald Trump (39%)
- Elizabeth Warren (46%), Donald Trump (39%)
The survey also asked about favorability. While all four top Democratic candidates are performing well, President Trump’s favorability rating is underwater at 42% "favorable" versus 56% "unfavorable." The only Democratic candidate whose favorability comes close to negativity is Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-CA) at 41% "favorable" and 40% "unfavorable."
Since November of 2016, when Trump's net favorability was -22 in the Fox poll, his ratings have bobbed up and down, usually moving between the lower to mid-40s.
The survey also asked: "How satisfied are you with the way things are going in the country today – are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, not very satisfied or not at all satisfied?" A combined 40% said they are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied, while a combined 59% said they are "not very" or "not at all" satisfied.
The Fox News poll isn't the only one predicting a Trump loss if the election were held today. According to the RealClearPolitics average, the president would lose to Biden by approximately 8.6%, Sanders by 5.6%, Warren by 3.2%, Harris by 2.2%, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 0.3%.
Despite current polling numbers indicating a win for the Democrats on November 3, 2020, recent history tells us that when it comes to Donald Trump, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
In the months leading up to the 2016 general, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was consistently riding above President Trump in every major poll. While there were certainly outlier firms that appeared to have their finger on the pulse of real American voters, a vast majority of polling organizations showed Clinton with a lead of between 2% and 7% in the two weeks prior to the election.
Technically, on a votes-cast, popular vote basis, the polls were correct. Of the approximately 128.8 million votes cast for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the 2016 general election, 51.1% went to Clinton while 48.8% went to Trump – the difference of 2.3% being nearly identical to the RealClearPolitics polling average of 2.1%.
It's also wise to remember that while polls are a useful metric by which we can measure enthusiasm for political candidates, they should not be taken as gospel, and are merely a representation of a moment in time. Perhaps more importantly, as it pertains to this poll in particular, the open nature of the Democratic field may have an impact on voter excitement that could dampen over time, or as a single Democratic candidate remains standing to face President Trump in the 2020 general election.