History says Trump’s low approval rating is unlikely to move

What is the point: We have five more months until the general election, which, in theory, is enough time to race for a change of president. Indeed, the choice of choice for horses has sometimes shifted considerably between this point and Election Day.

However, the presidential assessment of approval has historically not shifted much from the June election year to Election Day.

It seems likely at this point that Trump’s rating will approve the south of 50%, and his net rating (approval – disapproval) will be negative when people vote. This should be of deep concern to Trump, given the strong link between approval ratings and chances of re-election.

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There were 13 presidents running for another term in the election era (since 1940). For each of these presidents, I compared their average Gallup (or, in the case of 1944, the Office of Public Opinion Research) June approval and theirs estimated approval rating on election day.

The average president from now until the election records a shift in the rating of only 3 points. That would have put Trump at his best only in the mid-40s. Trump’s approval rating was similar during the 2018 semester, when his party lost control of the House.

Net approval ratings tell the same story. The average president had a net shift in the approval rating by just 6 points from this point forward. Given that Trump’s net approval rating is negative in his low to mid-teens, a 6-point improvement would accrue a net approval of about -7 to -10 points on election day. Again, that’s roughly where he was during the 2018 halftime.

Take a look at the 2020 presidential election

Trump, however, is not over yet. It is possible that the president’s assessments will change. In the last five months of the 1948 campaign, Harry Truman rose 20 points in the net approval rating. On the other hand, Lyndon Johnson’s net approval rating fell by about 15 points in the final months of the 1964 election.

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Still, we’re only talking about two of the 13 presidents whose net score was approved by more than 10 points in the last five months of the campaign. One of the two went in the wrong direction for president. Trump needs his net approval rating to climb more than 10 points to achieve a positive net approval rating.

Trump’s fate against former Vice President Joe Biden will not be perfectly related to his assessment of approval, but it will be strongly correlated. In our last CNN / SSRS survey, more than 90% of Trump approvers said they would vote for Trump. More than 90% of disapprovals said they would vote for Biden.
One previous estimate from Nate Silver. FiveThirtyEight is Nate Silver he suggested that a president with a rating of 40% approval in June before the election has only about a 20% chance of winning the upcoming election. These are largely jibes with more sophisticated models which take into account a number of indicators.

Can Trump be one of the 20%? Obviously. Do not round 20% to 0%.

Remember, however, that Trump rating of approval he was more measured than any president before him. There is no particularly strong reason to think that they will get higher than average reinforced in the approval rating, and therefore the chances of re-election.
Trump’s inability to move his own numbers is probably the reason he goes so far after Biden. Biden is less defined than Trump, and Biden’s withdrawal may be the only chance Trump must win.
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