Trump Kicks Off 2020 Bid With Record-Low Approval Ratings

Trump Kicks Off 2020 Bid With Record-Low Approval Ratings

Donald Trump enjoys a strong economy, a nation at relative peace, the advantage of incumbency and a well funded campaign — assets that make him a good bet for re-election, even though most voters say they don’t like him.

Trump will formally kick off his 2020 re-election bid in a prime-time speech to as many as 20,000 supporters in Florida on Tuesday, beginning a contest that serves as a referendum on both his job performance and his personal conduct in office.

Set aside his sagging approval ratings, the Mueller report and other controversies that have surrounded Trump’s Oval Office. The bottom line is that incumbent presidents seldom lose re-election, especially with a peacetime economy as strong as the U.S. presently enjoys. And Trump has made clear that he wants voters thinking only of dollar signs when they go to the polls.

Sustained economic growth and low unemployment have failed to bump Trump’s low approval rating, just 40% in the most recent Gallup poll. But his most ardent supporters — including rural areas where farmers have been hit hard by his trade war with China — are as enthusiastic as ever.

“Right now, Trump is much better positioned than the Democrats or the conventional wisdom would have us believe,” said Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University in Washington who has predicted eight of the last nine elections, including Trump’s 2016 victory. “The Democrats, just like in 2016, are making the immense mistake that the way to win in 2020 is to play it safe.”

Still, no president since 1952 has been re-elected with a Gallup job approval rating below 48%, the last reading for George W. Bush before his 2004 re-election. Trump has never exceeded 46% in the poll since he took office.

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