If the Next Presidential Election Were Held Today . . . .

I have always been interested in Trump’s job approval numbers and his ability to get historically low marks after being in office such a short period of time. And frankly, given his demeanor and non-presidential behavior, like many others I have been amazed that his numbers haven’t dropped even lower. Today, as I do almost every week, I looked up Trump’s job approval numbers and noticed that they have recently taken a one or two point up-tick, probably because he hasn’t been getting as much publicity lately due to the competition of recent national and international disasters.

Once I found the most recent poll results, I began wondering how those ratings would look on a state by state basis.  I engaged my old friend Google and searched for the information. I found what I was looking for in an article published by the Gallup organization on their website.  Gallup surveys for presidential job approval numbers on a national basis so no one poll provided enough samples for the data for individual states to be statistically accurate.  So what they did is combine the data from all of the polls they conducted for job approval numbers since Trump was inaugurated January 20th through June 20th.  This combination provided them with enough samples for every state.

The following were their conclusions taken from the Gallup article:   “Donald Trump, who has average 40% job approval since his inauguration, received approval ratings of 50% or higher in 17 states in the first half of 2017. Residents in an equal number of states gave him approval ratings below 40%. In 16 states, his ratings ranged between 40% and 49%.”

Of course my next question was, which states rated him with job approval numbers over 50%?  I had only to read on in the same article where I found this map:

As the article points out, the 17 states (in dark green) which gave Trump a more than 50% job approval rating are some of the reddest of red states in South, the Plains and Mountain West.  As you would also expect, states giving Trump job approval rating of 39% or (much) lower are among the bluest of blue states with the other 16 ranging anywhere from 40% to 49%.

The thing that struck me about the map was that the states which rated Trump the highest aren’t very populated, meaning that they don’t possess many electoral votes in a presidential election.  I thought that I would have to look up the electoral votes for each of those 17 states, but with a little more help from Google I found that a Huffington Post article  had again done that work for me for me using the Gallup numbers.

This is graph from that article:

So if we assume that Trump would have to win 50% of the votes to win a state’s electoral votes, using the Gallup poll data he would win only 99 electoral votes (18% the total of 538 votes) when 270 votes are needed to win a presidential election.  Last November he won the election with 306 electoral votes while losing the popular vote total by almost three million votes, so in the last 10 months he has lost the equivalent of 207 electoral votes.

However, Trump may get even fewer electoral votes if the election were held today.   Remember the Gallup data actually comes from an average of the state samples in polls from January 20th to June 30th.  Take a look at a graph from the first Gallup article of Trump’s job approval ratings over that time period:

Notice that Trump’s job approval rating (the light green line) was actually positive for about a week right after the inauguration before gradually declining over the five month time period from January 20th to June 20th.  That means that the Gallup data used the probably gave Trump a higher job approval rating in each state than he had on June 20th.  Since his job approval rating on June 20th is very comparable to his current numbers, we can conclude that if the next presidential election were held today, Trump might not even get 99 electoral votes.

Now admittedly a lot can happen between now and November 2020 and there are a lot of variables in a real election – the popularity of the Democratic opponent, the viability of any third party candidates,  etc.,  even another intrusion by Russian hackers.  However, one thing is clear – given that the Democrats would nominate a decent candidate to run against him, if the presidential election were held today, Donald Trump would  lose by a large margin.  In fact, given the current circumstances, I strongly suspect that he would take himself out of the running rather than be humiliated.

The only question is, can Trump improve his job approval numbers going forward?  Frankly I doubt that he can.

Cajun     9/20/2017

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