One of the ways President Donald Trump secured an Electoral College win in 2016 was that he outdid expectations in a number of rust belt, Midwest states that the Clinton campaign had presumed would go in their favor.
Three states in particular — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — surprised all of the pundits when they went “red” for Trump. To secure a re-election win, he’ll likely need those states in his column again. However, it’s going to a difficult road for him to navigate, considering some of the latest polling numbers from the region.
Within four Midwest states, voters are saying they’re more likely to vote against Trump later this year than they are to vote for him.
Results from a Baldwin Wallace University 2020 Great Lakes Poll that were recently published show that, if it were between a generic Democratic candidate for president versus Trump in Ohio, for example, the incumbent president would only secure 39 percent of the vote, with the challenger getting 44 percent.
Those numbers remain roughly the same in three other states:
- In Pennsylvania, Trump garners 37 percent of support, with 47 percent saying they’d prefer the Democratic challenger;
- In Wisconsin, it’s Trump 34 percent, the challenger 47.5 percent;
- and in Michigan, Trump gets 34 percent, while the generic Democrat defeats him with nearly 47 percent support from the electorate.
Trump has two reasons to not be in complete despair about those numbers right now: first, we’re still 11 months away from the general election, and a lot can change between now and then; and second, in none of the states listed does the generic Dem beat him with an outright majority vote.
More Ohioans are 'almost certain' to vote against Trump than for him in 2020, new poll shows https://t.co/mvWGWK5C1V
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) January 22, 2020
However unlikely it may be, the “undecideds” could trend for him, depending on who the eventual candidate ends up being.
But there’s more bad news for him, too, on that front. In the same poll, respondents who said they were “undecided” were asked which way they were leaning. A majority of respondents still said they couldn’t make up their minds, but sizable chunks did say they were leaning toward or away from Trump at this moment.
With the exception of Pennsylvania, where 30 percent of “undecideds” split evenly one way or the other, the Democratic “leaners” in the states listed above outnumbered those who said they prefer Trump.
In other words, if Trump’s strategy is to court the undecided voters, who may help him overcome the wide gap he’s behind by in those four states right now, he’s already failing to do so. He needs to do better than tie, and definitely not lose, those undecided voters.
Trump won all four states listed in 2016. They represent 64 Electoral College votes between them in total, which, if Trump won the same states he did in 2016 but lost those states, would mean the Democratic challenger would likely win the presidency in 2020.
As other states in the country like Arizona and Texas are starting to become more “purple” (swing-state status), it’s looking more and more difficult for Trump to accomplish what he pulled off just three years ago.