Trump’s Declining Approval Ratings Show an Unexpected Path Ahead

Trump seems to have hit a new nadir on his rocky road toward reelection. According to a new Gallup Poll resourced from data recorded between May 28th and June 4th, Trump's latest job approval rating is 39%, his lowest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Gallup’s own interpretation, it was Trump’s own controversial response to George Floyd’s death that triggered his latest approval ratings drop. Even as this may not be the President’s lowest, that being attributed to his rating during the month of December 2017, hitting this low of percentage so close to the national election will be something that Trump will need to firmly revert in time in order to win the presidency again this coming November. Historical evidence, however, shows that it will be substantially hard for Trump to be able to do just that. With a majority 57% steadfastly disapproving of his response to the George Floyd case, Trump’s net approval currently stands at -18%.

Following the trends shown from Gallup’s polling since the 1940s, which includes 13 different presidents running for a second term, the average reelection presidential candidate only shifts his approval rating 3 points while net approval ratings, on the other hand, shift only on average 6 percentage points from this point toward the November election. In both scenarios, Trump’s net approval rating would still hold itself in the negatives, making it increasingly difficult for Trump to win his reelection.

According to calculations from FiveThirtyEight, a president with an approval rating of 40 only has about a 20% chance of winning reelection. This is backed up by the data that the only president in recent history to win reelection with an approval rating of less than 50% on election day, was George W. Bush, with a still respectable approval rating of 49% on election day.

With all this information, it seems unlikely that Donald Trump will give in into following the path set by predecessors. Trump and his presidency have rarely ever followed the “traditional path.” Both his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma and his increased spending on ads in key battleground states are a testament to that. How his camp and base react to this situation in the lead up to the election is what will ultimately decide his chances of getting reelected.


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