Wednesday, April 1, 2020

If Trump's Approval Rating Is Going Up, Why Isn't He Doing Better Against Joe Biden?

As Trump has experienced a modest approval rating rally effect due to the coronavirus crisis, Trump's deficit against Biden in trial heats stubbornly refuses to improve. Why is this?
Yesterday I featured Nationscape data, so I'll do the same thing today, courtesy of Rob Griffin's and John Sides' analysis on the Post's Monkey Cage blog. According to their analysis, the answer to this question is rather simple: the folks who have recently moved from mild disapproval of Trump to mild approval are mostly the kind of voters who are very unlikely to actually vote for him.
"[M]ore notable is exactly who is becoming more favorably disposed toward Trump. In the Nationscape surveys, it is both Democrats and the small fraction of registered voters (11 percent) who say they are independent and do not lean toward a party. Of course, most Democrats disapprove of Trump but his current net approval rating is better than it was in December before the coronavirus first emerged.
This helps make sense of a puzzle: Why has Trump’s approval bump not helped him in his probable November matchup again former vice president Joe Biden? The Nationscape shows no clear movement toward Trump in the past few weeks.
This [pattern] makes it clear that Democrats remain firmly in Biden’s camp, even as a few more of them say that they approve of Trump. And while independents have gravitated somewhat toward Trump relative to Biden, there are simply not very many of them in the electorate as a whole. This explains why Biden’s national lead over Trump has been so stable.
In other words, Trump’s approval bump may be concentrated among voters who are unlikely to support him in November."
Sometimes puzzling political developments turn out to have simple answers.
The voters who increasingly approve of Trump aren’t actually the ones likely to vote for him in November.

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