A great deal of ink has been spilled about how strongly President Donald Trump performed among white voters without a college degree in 2016. But there is another, smaller group of voters that went for him by enormous margins that may well have been enough to give him Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania: voters who hated both candidates.
And this time around, a new poll shows that same group of voters is preparing to throw him out of office.
"As it turns out, while people who liked Trump and didn’t like Clinton voted heavily for Trump (as you’d expect), the current president also had an edge among people who disliked both him and Clinton," wrote Philip Bump in the Washington Post. "He won those voters by 17 points nationally — and by margins in the closest states that were likely enough to hand him the electoral college victory he needed." He additionally won "cynical" voters by 37 points in Wisconsin, 25 points in Pennsylvania and 21 points in Michigan — all of which had extremely close final results.
Per a new Quinnipiac poll, a very similar breakdown could occur in 2020. Voters' opinion of Trump is broadly unchanged from then, and all of the major Democratic candidates, including frontrunner Joe Biden, is underwater as well. But this time, they aren't breaking for Trump.
"The split between those who like or don’t like the candidates is remarkably similar to 2016. Trump is the only candidate liked by 36 percent of respondents, same as the percentage of voters three years ago. Biden is the only one liked by 41 percent — the same percentage of exit poll respondents who said the same of Clinton. The group of like-neithers is slightly smaller, at 12 percent," wrote Bump. However, Quinnipiac now shows that "cynical" voters prefer Biden by 33 points nationally — nearly twice the amount Trump won them by three years ago.
Trump, it seems, benefited with these voters from being in the out-party. But now he controls the White House, his prospects with them — and with the country at large — look worse.