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Don’t Get Too Comfortable With Trump’s Bad Poll Numbers

Donald Trump smirks with his orange face.

Amidst the coronavirus and protests, there’s still other news, and some of it seems kinda … good? Yes indeed,  a new poll from CNN shows that Donald Trump’s approval rating has plummeted to just 38% amid the chaos of May and his continued mismanagement of everything. He’s also down double digits in a match-up against Joe Biden. Yay?

No. Don’t get too comfortable. As Trump himself points out, all the polls in 2016 told us it would be an easy victory for Hillary Clinton and we all know how that went.

The polls are not fake, but if we look at similar polls from June of 2016, the orange nightmare isn’t wrong. In June of 2016, Trump was polling at an average of 38% compared to Clinton, according to Real Clear Politics averages. That’s not calming. It is perhaps some consolation that Biden’s 55% lead in this newest poll is higher than any poll number Hillary Clinton ever managed in her campaign. (We can point the blame here to sexism or thank Trump’s terribleness).

What really matters, however, has never been national polls, but the electoral college. We don’t have a lot of state-specific polls at this point, but RCP is tracking the polls in swing states and that’s where the real good news might be. Biden is ahead in every poll in Michigan, but … so was Clinton at this point in 2016. There may be better news in Florida, where Trump and Clinton traded leads throughout the campaign. As of now, Biden has led in every Florida poll against Trump since April.

But the swing state map may be expanding. Trump and Biden are neck and neck in many polls in Texas of all places, and the push to “turn Texas blue” is gaining real steam. There’s hope across the board for flipping the Senate, but it’s way too early to get complacent or confident. We saw what complacency did for us in 2016.

There are other ways to look at history as well. While this is a bad job approval rating, it’s not Trump’s worst showing—but it’s still worse than most other presidents at this point in their first terms. It’s worse than that of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, who won reelection; but it’s still not as bad as the disapproval ratings at this point for George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, our most recent one-term Presidents. That’s horrifying, but also just another reason to not rest on any laurels right now.

With all Trump has done, literally no one should say they approve of his how he’s doing his job as president, but they do. He’s losing in polls against Biden. but this is the same man who manipulated and rigged the 2016 election and whose political party is committed to voter suppression.

Polls are a good tool but they don’t mean anything if people don’t actually get out there and organize and vote.

(via: Politico, Image: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.