Trump's electoral prospects are so bad even Alaska and Montana are in play

Trump's electoral prospects are so bad even Alaska and Montana are in play
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News & Politics

It was bad enough when polling showed impeached coward Donald Trump lagging in must-win core battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. It was even worse when states like OhioIowaAlaska, and Montana joined the list. But now, Trump’s flagging fortunes in hard-hit coronavirus states like South Carolina and Texas threaten to utterly annihilate him this November.

There is rough one to two-point correlation between Trump’s approval numbers and his percentage of the head-to-head vote versus presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. That is, whatever his approval number is, add a couple of points. Here, compare Civiqs presidential poll numbers versus his approval rating at the time the state poll was released:

NORTH CAROLINA, 5/1-34546-49
GEORGIA, 5/15-174747-48
SOUTH CAROLINA, 5/23-265152-42
KANSAS, 5/30-6/15152-40
IOWA, 6/6-84446-46
MONTANA, 7/11-134849-45

That correlation between Trump approvals and his share of the head-to-head vote is pretty strong. And it’s not just Civiqs. Public Policy Polling’s recent poll of Montana had Trump approvals at 51%, and the head-to-head versus Biden at 51-42. Their poll of Alaska had Trump approvals at 46% and the head-to-head at 48-45. A Sienna poll of New York had Trump’s approvals at 33% and the head-to-head at 32-57. This system is not perfect across all pollsters: A Fox News poll of North Carolina had Trump approvals at 48-51%, but his share of the head-to-heads was only 43% (with Biden at 45%).

Still, when it comes to Civiqs polling, the correlation is strong. So … that means we can look at the national Trump approval numbers to get an idea of what the overall battleground looks like:

Any state painted blue still likes Trump and is not quite in play. Any deep orange state is solid-Democratic. It’s the light orange states that are of particular interest when it comes to the presidential race.

It was looking at this picture that told us early on that Georgia was in play, something that no one believed me about when I started making the case. It’s what told us that Alaska and Montana were in play when no one else would’ve ever guessed it. It’s what tells us that Texas is in play (something CBS/YouGov just confirmed in a big way, at 46-45 Trump). It’s what told us that Iowa and Ohio are back in play and that Republican hopes to contest Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Minnesota were dead-dead.

In fact, here’s the new battleground playing field ranked by Trump’s job approval numbers:


Looking at that list, it is literally a ranking of the states most likely to flip. Michigan is all but lost to Trump. Arizona is a reaaaaaach state. If Texas flips, all of those other states have likely flipped and we’re looking at 400+ electoral votes for Biden. I certainly wouldn’t count on Texas at this point since according to our rough formula, Trump’s share of the head-to-head versus Biden is likely 48%-50%. It needs to be lower than that for Biden to have a chance to squeeze out the victory.


Look at the trends:

The pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have had an impact on Trump’s approval numbers, flipping what was once a net-positive rating. What happens now that Texas is a pandemic hot spot, state hospitals are overflowing, refrigerated trucks are starting showing up to take the strain off overflowing morgues, and the death toll and resulting economic devastation are climbing?

We don’t even have to guess! Dissatisfaction is already growing at the government responses from both the state and federal governments. Here’s how Texas feel about the federal response:

And now the state response:

Those trends won’t reverse as long as Texas is slammed by Hurricane COVID-19. And presumably, that should erode Trump’s standing in the state (as well as that of Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who faces an increasingly strong challenge as well this year).

That is what Trump and the GOP face. And if Texas is looking increasingly bleak, you better believe all those states on the chart above do as well.

Now looking at that chart of Trump approvals, there are four more states that could get interesting in the coming months:


What makes these states interesting isn’t just the top-line Trump approval numbers, but the trends. Look at South Carolina:

Trump is getting hammered in all sorts of places where he should've remained blissfully popular. The pandemic and his response to it are having an effect. Whether the summer’s death toll brings more states into contention remains to be seen, but the ingredients are certainly there. States like Alaska, Iowa, Ohio, and Montana are already part of a conversation we wouldn’t be having under normal conditions. This year is not a normal election year. Prepare for the unexpected, and work hard to keep expanding this map.

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