A majority of American voters don’t believe President Donald Trump deserves to win reelection in this year’s presidential race, according to a poll published this week.
The Gallup poll finds that only 43 percent of registered voters think Trump deserves a second term, while 56 percent of voters say he should not be sent back to Washington.
The 13-point net-negative rating on the question is the lowest the poll has seen, during a presidential reelection year, for an incumbent commander-in-chief seeking a second term since 1992, when George H.W. Bush had a 14-point net-negative rating.
It’s also a stark dropoff for Trump from the start of this year. Shortly after articles of impeachment were issued against the president in the House of Representatives, polls found respondents split 50-50 on whether Trump deserved to have a second term.
The split rating was an anomaly for the current president, as Gallup generally returned poor numbers for Trump on the same question when it was mentioned in polls in 2018. Nevertheless, the positive numbers from earlier this year suggested Trump was seeing an upswing in his chances for reelection months ahead of November — that is, until the coronavirus pandemic struck, and American voters witnessed his disastrous response.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll from earlier this month found Trump’s inept handling of the virus has damaged how Americans see him as a leader. Just 37 percent of voters approve of his management of the crisis, while 59 percent say they disapprove in the poll. The net approval rating of negative 22 points this month is Trump’s lowest since the crisis began.
The deadly pandemic is a top issue for Americans, as a separate Gallup poll from earlier this month demonstrated. More than three-quarters of voters described COVID-19 as an “extremely important” or “very important” issue in that survey (conversely, just 5 percent said it wasn’t important to them when considering their vote).
Those numbers appear to be hurting Trump’s chances against his main opponent in the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden. According to an aggregate of polls collected by RealClearPolitics, Biden is currently leading Trump by a margin of 7.7 points nationally.
Trump has one last shot to make a strong appeal to the American people during the final presidential debate scheduled for Thursday evening. His strategy, according to the president’s campaign advisers, is to come off as congenial in front of the cameras.
“All Trump has to do is give people permission to vote for him,” one adviser said to Axios.
However, in the past week, he has attacked the integrity of the moderator for the debate, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, and abruptly ended an interview with venerated CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl for a segment that was set to air on “60 Minutes” this Sunday. Both actions have caused a stir, resulting in negative news headlines for the incumbent.