According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump’s next 100 days — which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate — will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.
As Eten explains in a column for CNN, “His [Trump’s] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins.”
Noting that Trump currently has an approval rating in the low 40’s, Enten points out, “Since World War II, two presidents have had an approval rating at or below 45% in mid-March of an election year. George H.W. Bush had an approval rating at 39%, while Jimmy Carter’s was at 45% and falling fast. Both of them went on to lose reelection by greater than 5 points.”
“It’s certainly within the margin of error that Trump wins reelection even if his approval rating stays where it is by mid-March of next year,” he wrote, adding, “So what happens if Trump’s approval rating is the same in 100 days as it is now and the economy grows at the same rate it currently is through the election? Based on history, Trump would be forecasted to lose by a few points.”
Adding that, “It would be a race within the margin of error,” Enten continued. “Still, you can clearly see how history points to an uphill climb for Trump. Combine that with the fact that his approval ratings have been consistently low, and there’s no reason to believe the underlying political environment will change dramatically by Election Day if things hold over the next 100 days.”
The pollster does add the caveat, that Trump’s election prospects — providing he is not ousted by a GOP-controlled Senate after an impeachment trial — also depends on who his opponent is in the 2020 election.
“Who that is will ultimately help to determine whether Trump is able to beat his poor fundamentals,” he concluded.
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