US Election: Four worrying signals for Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump
Donald Trump's poll numbers are not looking good

Donald Trump remains favourite for the 2020 election at odds of 2.02 compared to Joe Biden at 2.28. Paul Krishnamurty, however, identifies some warning signals for his backers...

"This shocking story retains the potential to blow up during the election campaign. Trump does not need widespread public conversation about his relationship with Deutsche Bank."

Bad polling position seems to be worsening

Across the world, incumbent governments have received a boost during the coronavirus crisis. Many call it a 'wrap around the flag effect'. In the UK for example, the once marmite Boris Johnson has seen his approval ratings shoot up. So to the governing Conservatives. Last month, I wrote how Donald Trump was enjoying a small boost to his (usually entrenched) approval ratings.

No more. Gallup - who run the most frequent tracker - record a massive 7.5% swing against the president over the last three weeks. He's gone from +4 to -11.

On the more specific measure of how he is handling the crisis, results are mixed. The average according to RealClearPolitics is -2.5%. Note, however, two appalling recent surveys with Yougov and CNN, showing -10%.

His performances at daily press conferences are probably not helping but that effect is uncertain. What is clear is that picking fights with state governors such as Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer is counter to majority opinion in individual states. So too the anti-lockdown protests from his supporters.

Wisconsin victory bodes well for Democrats

Nor is there much good news to be found in national or key state polls. Arizona, for instance, is trending +9 to Joe Biden, compared to the four point advantage Trump enjoyed over Clinton in 2016.

One state the president must surely win to be re-elected is Wisconsin. I say that not because of the ten electoral college votes (there are other routes) but because he regularly fares better in the Badger State than in Pennsylvania or Michigan.

On Tuesday, the Democrats enjoyed a very important, surprise win there in an election for the state's Supreme Court. In electing the liberal Jill Karofsky, they likely blocked a planned purge of around 200,000 voters. Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000.

Moreover the turnout - whether from postal votes or defying stay home guidelines to queue for hours in socially distanced lines - pointed towards a marked surge in enthusiasm among liberal voters. That is in keeping with other special election and mid-term trends. In stark contrast to the depressed turnout on the Democrat side that cost Clinton dearly in 2016.

Obama joins the campaign trail

Where Trump might take some hope is Biden's potential inability to spark such enthusiasm. The 77 year-old former VP has other qualities - being a known mainstream figure, impossible to paint as extreme - but he lacks Trump's energy and many worry he will be unable to attract younger voters.

Help is at hand. In endorsing his former running mate, President Obama killed another ridiculous talking point that had been doing the rounds in Trump media. There had been a suggestion that he would refuse to endorse when, of course, he was merely waiting for Bernie Sanders to concede, in the interests of party unity.

There has also been much talk about the Obamas being desperate to get involved. Michelle is attracting support in the Democrat VP market at around 18.017/1. I do expect them to campaign hard and noted this tweet from Barack regarding the spread of fake news, specifically alluding to Vladimir Putin.

Deutsche Bank and Russia scandals are not finished

Having spent three years expecting the plethora of scandals, particularly his relationship with Russia and Putin, to sink Trump, I had been minded to think Covid-19 might actually save him. It certainly changed the news cycle.

There is more, however, to come. The Supreme Court will, after all, hear the cases regarding Trump versus his lawyers (Mazars) and bankers (Deutsche Bank). The audio evidence will be heard live on C-Span on May 12th.

Without predicting how the rulings will go or when the verdict will be delivered, this shocking story retains the potential to blow up during the election campaign. Trump does not need widespread public conversation about his relationship with Deutsche Bank - at the centre of a global scandal regarding money laundering for Russian organised crime.

Also the unredacted evidence from the Mueller Report is due to come out in the next few days, following a court ruling. Plus his long-term ally Roger Stone - at the centre of that report and the Russia scandal - has lost his bid for a new trial in court yesterday and is heading to prison soon. Stay tuned.

Follow Paul on Twitter and check out his website, Political Gambler.

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