Since the first time that Donald J Trump, Pestquire blustered and clanked his way down that schlock gilt escalator in Trump Tower, to the adoring applause of paid shills, it’s been like the guy in that hotel chain commercial with the deep voice, “How low can you go?” The reference of course being to the “floor,” or lowest limit of his popularity. As far as I’m concerned, that debate is now settled.
Trump’s ceiling has been well known for quite a while, it’s 46%. That’s the national percentage of the vote that he received was on election night of 2016, and you’d have a difficult, almost impossible time of finding a respectable poll, either before or after the election that shows him above that mark. To my knowledge, Trump is the first president in the history of polling to have never obtained a 50% popularity or approval rating, not even in the normal halcyon days of his post inauguration “honeymoon cruise.”
But “how low can Trump go?” That has never been conclusively proven. Most polling post election tend to show a rather narrow band of a 44% average in most respectable polls, to an extreme low of 38% in one possibly outlier poll during a particularly rough patch. But those are popularity, or job approval polls, and those are questions about whether or not you like a person or their performance. Those can be affected by anything from the stock market to the fact that your brother-in-law likes Trump, and you’re pissed at your brother-in-law right now.
Much more indicative of the seriousness of intent are polls based on whom you would vote for in a future election. And based on that kind of polling criteria, as far as I’m concerned, Trump’ floor of support is a truly pathetic 42%. Here’s how I tie this one up, with a pretty pink bow on top of it.
In the last couple of months, the well respected Quinnipiac University has released two spaced out polls, each pitting Trump in hypothetical “head-to-head: polls against the top Democratic contenders. In both polls, Trump received an identical 42% share of the vote against almost every opposing candidate. The only exceptions were a 43-42 lead against Pete Buttigieg in the previous poll, and a 53-40% trouncing to Joe Biden in the current poll. That means that over two separate polls, from candidate ranging from Warren to Sanders, from Buttigieg to Booker, Trump gets an identical 42% support percentage. And just to put it in some context, a couple of these candidates, namely Booker and Harris, are running in single freakin’ digits in current Democratic primary polls!
The point is this. You flat out can’t win with 42% support. Hell, the only way that Trump won in 2016 is because he ran against a flawed enough candidate to drag her down to his own level of unpopularity, or even just below. And that is highly unlikely to happen this time. The simple fact that when presented with a binary choice between two names, 6 different Democratic candidates are all beating Trump outside of the margin of error for the poll, indicates that whomever emerges from the Democratic primary mosh pit, they will have the support of the majority of voting Americans.
The caveat here is that these are national polls, and we all saw what happened in 2016. But the fact of the matter is that this is a specious argument. In fact, the final major national polls in 2016 were almost dead spot on. Most polls showed Clinton winning by 2-2.5%, and in fact she won by 3 million votes, almost 2.5%. Trump won in the electoral college, by squeaking out three critical votes by a grand total of 77,000 votes. And in all three of those states, WI, MI, and PA, “head-to-head_ polls show Trump losing to multiple Democratic candidates, many outside of the margin of error.
Look, it ain’t over until the rather obese human of the female gender warbles an aria, but let’s not go overboard on all of this “specter of 2016” shit either. Trump got 46% of the vote in 2016, including a critical margin of disaffected Democratic Obama voters and independents. Reporting seemed to indicate that a significant number of them were fleeing Trump after it became clear what an obnoxious barbarian he was, but how many? As far as I’m concerned, we now know, 4%. That’s the difference between Trump’s vote tally in 2016, and what appears to be his hard core “base” of 42%. And it shouldn’t be anywhere near enough. So, let’s put the pedal to the metal, and git ‘er done.