News and Commentary

POLL: Trump Now More Competitive Against Democrats Than He’s Been In Months
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Democrats set the rules for their impeachment of Trump, but once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicks the process over to the Senate for a trial the advantage and leverage will be with the president and Republicans. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Donald Trump is now more competitive against his Democratic opponents in the 2020 presidential election than he’s been in three months, since before the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry started.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll, released Monday, found that Trump is now in a better position against nearly every competitor for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination than he was before becoming subject to a full-on investigation and, later, an impeachment inquiry and vote.

Now, as his Senate impeachment trial enters its second week, buoyed by a booming economy, Trump’s chances of winning re-election are looking better and better — though his re-election is, by no means, guaranteed.

The best news for Trump is on how voters feel about the economy. Only 43% of Americans say they’re currently worried about how they will maintain their standard of living, down from 63% from 2016, just before President Donald Trump first took office. And voters are crediting Trump with the strong economy: “56% approve of his handling of the economy, up 10 points since early September to a career high,” ABC News reports.

The impeachment trial also may have something to do with it, though ABC News and the Washington Post seem reticent to touch the issue. Trump’s overall approval rating ticked up as the impeachment inquiry wore on, first in the House and now in the Senate, and he’s now pulling some of the highest approval numbers of his presidency, even as Democrats take to the airwaves with new, potentially damaging information almost daily.

Generally speaking, Trump has been competitive with most of the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders all along. According to a New York Times/Siena College poll taken late last year, only former Vice President Joe Biden posed any challenge to Trump in battleground states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Florida. Only Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) presented a challenge to Trump in some of the western states where the Democratic population is growing, like Nevada and Arizona.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll focused on Trump’s national numbers, though, which have been less rosy than his outlook in battleground states.

“Among all adults, Trump trailed top Democratic candidates by double digits in the fall; he’s now cut those margins in half. Among registered voters, moreover, he’s now running essentially even in head-to-head matchups,” ABC News reported. “Registered voters divide closely, 50-46%, between Joe Biden and Trump, for example, compared with a 56-39% Biden lead three months ago. Among all adults, including those not registered, Biden’s ahead, but now just by 7 points, 51-44%.”

In fact, the poll found, Trump now fares well across the board against the 2020 Democratic contenders. Against former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren, Trump runs within the margin of error. He trails Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and former New York City mayor by more “statistically significant” numbers but, ABC News points out, spreads of 7 and 8 points are good news for the president when he was down nearly 20 points to some of the same contenders just three months ago.

This all comes as Trump’s opponents engage in a national ad blitz, largely focused on attacking the president and not each other. Bloomberg, Biden, and Sanders are all planning multi-million dollar ad buys in key states and, in Bloomberg’s case, those ad buys have already begun. Trump’s re-election campaign, now solidly in the black, is just beginning its own offensive.

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