President Donald Trump doesn’t pay much attention to polls, believing headlines extolling his unpopularity to be made up or part of the “fake news” apparatus he frequently rails against.
Speaking to reporters recently about polling data showing his re-election chances are slim, Trump explained that those weren’t the real polls to be looking at. “You’re looking at the wrong polls. I have the real polls,” Trump said, per a report from Deadline.
But polling data is actually close to accurate. As FiveThirtyEight has noted, even the 2016 polls were pretty spot on — they were just measuring the wrong thing. While Trump won the Electoral College, he lost the popular vote for president that year, and most major polls reflected that, with many coming within a point or two of being right on target.
With that in mind, Trump ought to be wary about new polls demonstrating, one year out from his re-election attempt, that he’s going to have an uphill battle to win again.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Tuesday morning highlights the challenges Trump is going to face. Most Americans aren’t happy with his job performance, with 58 percent saying they disapprove (his highest disapproval rating since August of 2018) and only 38 percent say they are satisfied with his work so far.
When it comes to his personality traits, the numbers are even worse: only 36 percent think Trump has the temperament to be president, while 62 percent say he does not.
On whether he’d win in hypothetical contests between the top Democrats vying to run against him, the numbers are clear: Trump is behind, in big ways, to all of them.
New Post/ABC poll shows all the leading Democrats beating Trump among registered voters nationally by wide margins:
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) November 5, 2019
Trump is 17 points behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. He trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 15 points. Both Sen. Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg lead Trump by 11 points. All four Democrats receive a majority of support in their respective matchups with Trump.
Among independents, Biden leads Trump by 17 points as well. This point is especially telling, because Trump won independents in 2016 against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Even among Republicans, it seems that Trump’s support might be tepid. The president frequently tweets out that he has close to 95 percent approval ratings among Republicans, Newsweek has pointed out, but in this more recent poll 3-in-10 Republican voters want to see someone else nominated to run for president in 2020 altogether.
If confronted about these poll numbers, Trump will likely stick to his regular mantra of calling them “fake.” But privately, it’s probably something that’s concerning his campaign — especially the numbers regarding independent voters and less enthusiastic GOP voters. Trump will need both of those individuals in his column to turn out if he wants to win another election, as they’re key to his Electoral College chances.