by Aaron Blake
President Trump hasn’t seen many good polls these days, but he might have just seen his worst of the 2020 election cycle.
A new Quinnipiac University poll has plenty of bad news for Trump — from his 2020 matchups with Democrats, to his own personal image, to his biggest asset in the 2020 race: the economy.
The poll shows him trailing all five Democrats tested by between nine and 16 points. He trails Joe Biden 54 to 38, Bernie Sanders 53 to 39, Elizabeth Warren 52 to 40, Kamala D. Harris 51 to 40 and Pete Buttigieg 49 to 40. These represent his biggest deficits to date against all five candidates, according to RealClearPolitics’s compilation of polls.
The poll also shows his approval/disapproval declining to 38/56, with just 27 percent approving of him strongly and 50 percent disapproving strongly. That’s the worst those splits have been in Quinnipiac polling since February 2018.
He earns the approval of just 32 percent of independents and the disapproval of 60 percent. In every matchup with a Democrat, he trails among independents by at least 18 points. This is a demographic that he won in 2016 by four points.
The bad news extends, perhaps most significantly, to the economy. While six in 10 registered voters still regard the economy as “excellent” (18 percent) or “good” (43 percent), for the first time since June 2016 more Americans say the economy is getting “worse” (37 percent) than say it’s getting “better” (31 percent). As recently as one year ago, more than twice as many people thought the economy was getting better as thought it was getting worse.
The poll also shows, for the first time, slightly more Americans say Trump’s policies are “hurting” the economy (41 percent) than say they are “helping” (37 percent).
The economic findings may be the most ominous of the entire poll for Trump. While we have yet to see a significant downturn in the American economy, there are increasing signs that it’s a possibility, and analysts are tying those growing odds to Trump’s trade war with China. The economy is by far Trump’s best issue: His approval is 38 percent or less on every other issue tested, including immigration and trade, but 46 percent on the economy. If it does decline, he’ll lose his most compelling case for reelection on an issue that is generally the most important to voters.
This is but one poll, and we’ll have to see if other polls suggest a similar decline for Trump. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll also released Sunday showed Trump’s approval remaining at 44 percent, and Trump has yet to trend downward in RealClearPolitics’s polling average.
But a new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan on Wednesday also showed Trump trailing every Democrat in that crucial state, which Trump narrowly won in 2016, by between three and 10 points. And pretty much every high-quality national poll, including a Fox News poll earlier this month, has shown Trump trailing his top would-be 2020 opponents, including by large margins with the better-known ones.
There’s plenty of time, and polls aren’t predictive, but for now it appears he’s starting from behind.
Aaron Blake is senior political writer for Washington Post’s The Fix. Follow Aaron