President Donald Trump is losing badly to Joe Biden in one key voting block who helped sweep him to an unlikely victory in 2016.
Voters who hated both Trump and Hillary Clinton backed the former reality TV host over the former secretary of state, but this time the "haters" hate the former vice president much less than the incumbent president, reported Politico.
“People like [to] choose the devil they don’t know,” said Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Republican consultant.
Nicholas described Clinton, who had served under President Barack Obama and had also been first lady and a U.S. senator, as something as an incumbent four years ago.
“What’s different in 2020?" Nicholas said. "He’s the incumbent. So, he’s the devil you know … That’s why those numbers have flipped so precipitously from ’16 to '20, and there’s nothing inherent you can do about that, because Trump is the incumbent.”
In 2016, Trump outperformed Clinton by about 17 points among the nearly 20 percent of voters who disliked both candidates, according to exit polls, but polls now show that same group prefers Biden by more than 40 percent.
“It’s a huge difference,” said Patrick Murray, who oversees the Monmouth poll. “That’s a group that if you don’t like either one of them, you will vote against the status quo. And in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton represented more of the status quo than Trump did. In this current election, the status quo is Donald Trump.”
Trump's weakness among those voters worries Republicans, who must find a way to make Biden less likable than the deeply unpopular president, but the former vice president and longtime senator goes into the election much more popular than Clinton did.
“You disqualify Biden, and then there’s so many factors outside of his control," said GOP strategist Greg McNeilly. "If the country is kind of the way we started the year … you get back to that, with Biden’s negatives up high, [Trump] can pull this off.”
But that strategy still carries risk during a global pandemic that has destroyed the economy.
“If you run Biden’s negatives up and everybody’s super dour on the country," McNeilly added, "they’re still going to be willing to try something new.”