President Trump’s re-election odds & the state of the Presidential race
Bottom Line: Coming into the Presidential Election cycle the odds were on the side of Donald Trump winning re-election. Why?
- 65% of Presidents who run for reelection win
There is a clear incumbency advantage. There are other numbers that come into play, based on a president’s approval ratings as we close in on Election Day. A Presidential reelection bid is first and foremost a referendum on the incumbent President. History has shown that if people are generally satisfied with the performance of the President – they'll vote to stay with him. That necessarily makes the relevance of the challenger a secondary consideration. In this story I've taken the historical approval ratings of incumbent presidents running for reelection and tracked the outcomes of those elections. In so doing I’m able to project historical reelection odds for President Trump based on his current ratings.
Here’s where we stand as of today:
- 41% based on a 45% average approval rating across all samples (flat vs last week)
- 67% based on a 48% average approval rating with likely voters (-2% vs last week)
President Trump’s approval polling has surged this week – especially among likely voters where he’s improved by 3 points over a week ago and climbed to his highest level over approval of the cycle. A key number to watch, as we advance towards Election Day is 47%. Most incumbent Presidents with at least a 47% approval rating win reelection. President Trump sits just above that level making him the favorite once again in this race. What’s more is that his current approval rating likely voters sits just above the average of incumbent presidents at this stage of their presidency. The momentum shift is reflected a bit in the betting odds this week as well. A week ago, gamblers favored Biden by eight points. That’s down to six points currently.
That takes us to this week’s takeaways.
For Biden:Given that President Trump continues to perform meaningfully better with likely voters, the opportunity and challenge, remains converting more adults who currently aren’t likely to vote into likely voters.
For Trump:This week’s polling shows the economy is the top issue for likely voters for the second week in a row. This plays to his strengths and is likely fueling his improved approval. Focus on economic successes while pressing full spend ahead on any and all policy to continue to speed up the recovery from the virus-induced recession. Polling has consistently showed Trump with a lead on the economy compared to Biden.
To be continued...
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