Trump's re-election is approaching the danger zone, polls show
The election is less than five months away and the President's job approval rate drops to 42 percent on the Real Clear Politics average, the lowest it has been since last year. He is an average of 8 points behind Joe Biden.
Donald Trump is in a dangerous position in every way.
Of course, Trump is no stranger to the political crisis, and he won the 2016 elections despite all of this. How much trouble is he having right now?
One way to address this issue is to compare Trump's reputation to the status of his predecessors, who were in their re-election campaigns at the time. Looking back over the past 40 years, there are three categories:
Picture: Ronald Reagan (AP file)
1. Roll out: Ronald Reagan 1984, Bill Clinton 1996
Reagan sought reelection, with the recession giving way to a lively recovery in the early 1980s, and his approval rating rose steadily in 1984 to reach 55 percent in early June. At that point, he was comfortably running ahead of Democrat Walter Mondale and his position would only strengthen in the coming months, with Reagan ultimately posting a landslide of 49 states.
Similarly, Clinton's Gallup approval rating was 58 percent in early June 1996, and he had a solid lead over Republican Bob Dole, which he would not give up for the rest of the race. Although not on the '84 scale, the election was wrong when Clinton won 379 votes.
Image: Obama (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images file)
2. Assert yourself: George W. Bush in 2004, Barack Obama in 2012
Bush's approval rating was 47 percent the same week in 2004 - low enough to put him at risk of losing to John Kerry, but high enough that the race was essentially polled.
Because the country was deeply divided over the Iraq war, the campaign promised to be tight, and it was. The early September Republican assembly, strongly reminiscent of Bush's post-September 11 leadership and attacks on Kerry, raised the president's approval rating by a few critical points and won a narrow November victory.
Likewise, Obama's approval rating was 48 percent at that point in 2012, and not much would change until election day. A successful Congress and ongoing attacks on Republican Mitt Romney helped Obama prevail with 51 percent of the vote.
3. In big trouble: Jimmy Carter 1980, George H.W. Bush in 1992
A profound rally-around-the-flag effect after the siege of the American embassy in Tehran had brought Carter to new heights of popularity. But at that point in 1980, his numbers dropped quickly.
When the hostage crisis dragged on and double-digit inflation strangled the economy, Carter fell to an approval rate of 38 percent in June 1980, lagging Republican Ronald Reagan. Carter's slide would only go on, and his approval would fall into the low 30s in the coming months. He would only wear six states on election day.
At that point in 1992, Bush also saw his Gallup poll drop to just 37 percent in early June, a sharp drop from his post-Gulf War high of nearly 90 percent the year before. The declining economy caught up with him and his numbers would drop even further in the summer.
Bush hoped that public discomfort with Democrat Bill Clinton would give him the chance to hold on to it, but Clinton moved on after the July Democratic Congress and never looked back. In a three-way race, Bush won only 38 percent of the vote - the worst for an incumbent in 80 years.
In order to...
Where does Trump belong on this list?
Obviously, he's not in the first "cruise" category. And his current average approval rating of 42 percent is about 5 points too low to put him in the second "own position". In addition, Trump's approval rate has rarely reached the high 1940s when both Bush was in '04 and Obama '12 during their re-election campaigns.
If Trump has anything to comfort him here, it's that his numbers aren't quite as bad as Carter's in '80 and Bush's in '92, at least not yet. But they are getting closer.
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