As President Donald Trump's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on his popularity slumps. By the Nov 2020 elections, the Democrats will by sitting pretty.
A little over six months to the election, the most important American presidential contest arguably of modern times and the stage is set. This election will be about one thing: COVID-19, stupid.
Barring a miracle vaccine or cure Americans will be living in dread every day of their lives, scared they or a family member will fall ill. Unemployment will be in double digits, and the sky will be falling right at the time President Trump needs it to be sunny and bright.
How it happened, what should have been done differently, what critical signals were overlooked will all be debated. Although Trump denies it the buck does stop with him, and people so far are not impressed.
New York Times pollster Nate Cohn pointed to a remarkable fact,--- older voters according to several polls are turning to Biden after being a Trump bulwark in the last election.
They also disapprove of Trump/s handling of the virus issue. It is not hard to see why --they are most in the firing line yet Trump wants to expose them more by urging states to open up.
More Americans will lose their lives than the 50,000 who were killed in Vietnam, and there is still much to discover about whether the virus will come back repeatedly. Trump wants to disqualify the bad news but now fewer and fewer trust him. The wizard has run out of tricks.
The big winner is Joe Biden. He is out of the limelight -- by accident or design, I am not sure which -- but it is certainly not harming him. The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last weekend had Biden leading Trump by seven points and narrowly winning some key states.
Yet the oddsmakers insist that Trump is still favorite to win based on his incredibly tight hold on core voters and a view that he will stop at nothing.
I am convinced they are wrong this year. Trump is running against a microscopic virus that will kill at least 60,000 Americans, and so far the virus is winning.
From a public confidence perspective, the president is clearly mishandling the virus crisis. In a few weeks, he dropped six points in the Gallup Poll approval from 49 to 43 percent favorability.
In the same period, the average approval for Republican and Democratic governors alike was 72 percent, easily explained as a “rally round the flag” moment. There was no flag flying for Trump, however.
Across the world, leaders like Justin Trudeau, Leo Varadkar, Narendra Modi, Angela Merkel, and even Boris Johnson saw their approval numbers soar.
In contrast Trump, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, regarded as Latin America’s Trump, and Japanese leader Shinzo Abe have seen their polling decrease the more they bluster and discount the tragic events.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is another leader getting low marks with his disdain for the damage done by COVID-19. Allowing beaches to re-open was a direct slap in the face to health first responders still deluged with cases. He’s only at 51 percent approval, still six points better than Trump in the state the president spends most time in.
Florida is the rock which has dashed Democratic presidential contenders in recent years, never more famous than Al Gore losing by a sliver and Hillary Clinton also narrowly.
However, Biden may not need the state. Elsewhere there are some surprising numbers in his favor. Biden is up by nine in Arizona where the Dems have a superb Senate candidate in Mark Kelly, astronaut, and possibly future White House contender.
Countrywide in June 2016, Clinton was ahead by six over Trump, similar to Biden’s numbers today.
But the playing field could not be more different. Four years ago Trump made it by preaching hatred of big government. Now as big government bails out the country the landscape has changed dramatically.
Warren Buffet is fond of saying you only know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. Seems to me Trump is paddling furiously in an ebb tide.