President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is in a deep hole. The RCP average of national polls shows he’s down 9.8 points to former Vice President Joe Biden. While state polling has been limited so far, FiveThirtyEight recently showed he is down to Biden in every swing state. If we look at Trump’s favorability, he’s -12.8. Biden is -1.6. Even betting markets don’t like his odds. Predictit betting markets think Biden has a 58% chance to win.
Trump can still win but any reasonable person recognizes the predicament. Trump won in 2016 because he beat Hillary Clinton by less than 0.8% of the vote in three states. His margins were incredibly thin to begin with and with his lead among senior voters slipping and suburban women are breaking even more for Biden than they did for Clinton. The election is getting out of hand.
But Trump can still win. It’s only June. There are 133 days left. Both parties still have their convention and there will be multiple debates. And it’s 2020—anything and everything could happen. Who knows what will happen between now and November 3? But if Trump wants to win one thing must change.
We all know Trump is a grandstander. As Ross Douthat recently observed, “once you leave the sphere of petty corruption for the sphere of policymaking, Trump clearly lacks both the facility and the interest level required…” Trump doesn’t want the responsibility of governing a country– just the spotlight that comes with it. And that’s his downfall.
Early in the pandemic, Trump got a crisis boost. In the RCP average, Biden’s lead fell to only 4.4 points. Earlier in the crises, Trump’s approval-disapproval gap was the lowest of his Presidency. But since then, the “rally ’round the flag” effect of a crisis has worn off. Biden has been hiding in his basement avoiding any public attention while Trump has made every effort to monopolize it. As I mentioned earlier, Trump is now down 12.8 points. That’s a decline of 8.4 points in just six weeks. A similar trend can be seen in his approval-disapproval. When people see Trump, they don’t like him. Yet, he still wants to be seen.
The same applies to Biden. While he’s been surging, he’s been conspicuously absent. The only recent news he’s made is his meeting with black community leaders in a church and whispers about his VP search.
The key to winning for either Trump or Biden is simple: Stay out of sight and out of mind. Do that, and you’ll rise in the mind of the American electorate.
Exit quote: Since the start of the pandemic in the US “Biden disappeared into his basement like a political prisoner and Trump produced a score of televised Covid-19 briefings…”