The midterms show Trump does not defy political gravity

First things first: The theme song of the week is ...

Posted: Nov 11, 2018 2:13 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2018 2:13 PM

First things first: The theme song of the week is CNN's America's Choice.

Poll of the week: The network exit polls found on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's approval rating was just 45%. His disapproval rating was 54%.

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This was in line with pre-election polling pegging his approval rating in the mid-40s among voters.

What's the point: It turns out that Trump does not walk on political water. He does not defy political gravity. This is very bad news for him heading into the 2020 campaign.

Trump was elected President with the worst favorable rating ever. This led many to speculate that traditional measures of gauging a politician's popularity had been rendered obsolete by him.

Such a view ignored a key factor of the 2016 campaign: Hillary Clinton. Clinton was the second least liked major-party nominee of all time. Nearly 20% of 2016 voters held unfavorable views of Clinton and Trump. Among these voters, Trump won overwhelmingly. That is, he was seen as the lesser of two evils.

The 2018 midterm elections were the key test over whether the Republican Party could do well with an unpopular Trump and without an unpopular Clinton in the political arena. The answer was a resounding no.

House Republicans' projected national House margin (-7 points) matched Trump's net approval rating in the exit polls (-9 points) nearly perfectly.

Indeed, as I pointed out on Wednesday, the exit polls showed that voter choices this election were more highly correlated this midterm than in any midterm dating back to the first time the exit poll asked about the president's approval rating.

There has also been a question as to whether there is hidden Trump support not picked up by the polling. There wasn't on Tuesday.

The President's approval rating in the exit polls matched those of the pre-election polls of voters. At least nationally, there were no shy Trump voters. This would help to explain why the national congressional generic ballot average before the election predicted the national House vote well.

The good news for Trump is that the pre-election polls among adults that had his approval rating in the low 40s did not come to fruition in the exit polls. That's not surprising given that the voting population tends to be older and less diverse than the adult population at large.

Still, a 45% approval rating is not very good. As the 2018 midterms showed, it would probably lead to his defeat in 2020.

Of course, we're still two years away from that election. The President's approval rating could climb higher over the next two years. If it gets to 50%, for example, he'd be a favorite for re-election.

The bad news for Trump is that unlike presidents before him, he's never hit 50% approval among voters. In fact, with the exception of the honeymoon period immediately following his inauguration, Trump's approval rating has always been below his disapproval rating.

The best word to describe his support among the electorate is "consistent." He earned 46% of the national vote in 2016 and a 45% approval rating on election night 2018.

Unless the Democratic Party nominates someone as disliked as Clinton in 2020, an unpopular Trump won't be able to count on enough voters going with a third party candidate to allow him to sneak by in the Electoral College.

That's probably why Trump starts off the 2020 campaign as an underdog.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 87807

Reported Deaths: 2002
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25454917
Ramsey10349316
Dakota6995125
Anoka5596132
Stearns367023
Washington349255
Scott236632
Olmsted225327
Nobles192016
Blue Earth15566
Wright14937
Carver13197
Rice12908
St. Louis128229
Mower12614
Clay121340
Sherburne106313
Kandiyohi9112
Winona82818
Lyon6344
Steele5132
Freeborn5043
Nicollet49516
Watonwan4954
Benton4923
Todd4722
Le Sueur4413
McLeod4382
Waseca4228
Chisago4211
Crow Wing41018
Otter Tail3734
Beltrami3654
Goodhue3219
Martin2909
Itasca26413
Polk2624
Becker2372
Pine2360
Isanti2340
Carlton2311
Douglas2291
Cottonwood2140
Pipestone2089
Morrison1901
Dodge1880
Chippewa1851
Sibley1693
Meeker1662
Wabasha1660
Unassigned16552
Brown1642
Murray1492
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Mille Lacs1363
Faribault1290
Jackson1251
Cass1233
Renville1206
Roseau1090
Pennington1081
Fillmore1050
Houston1040
Swift1041
Kanabec1008
Koochiching1003
Lincoln950
Redwood930
Stevens901
Pope820
Hubbard710
Aitkin691
Big Stone660
Wadena610
Grant574
Wilkin553
Norman510
Lake480
Marshall481
Mahnomen451
Lac qui Parle410
Red Lake370
Traverse290
Clearwater240
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson130
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 78552

Reported Deaths: 1255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15133256
Johnson496227
Woodbury486561
Black Hawk431686
Linn3722105
Story326317
Scott271227
Dubuque266140
Dallas265338
Pottawattamie195137
Buena Vista193312
Marshall175634
Sioux12753
Wapello124357
Webster118414
Muscatine105452
Clinton104618
Plymouth100120
Cerro Gordo98621
Crawford9804
Warren9226
Jasper74232
Des Moines7247
Marion7014
Tama68531
Carroll6275
Henry5974
Lee5857
Wright5571
Dickinson4756
Bremer4597
Boone4557
Washington42711
Louisa41915
Franklin33117
Mahaska32619
Delaware3183
Hamilton3143
Jackson2923
Floyd2913
Winneshiek2835
Benton2781
Clay2773
Hardin2731
Winnebago26211
Butler2572
Clarke2533
Emmet24810
Shelby2411
Jones2393
Allamakee2375
Poweshiek2368
Lyon2323
Buchanan2291
Clayton2273
Cedar2171
Guthrie2115
Kossuth2090
Chickasaw2030
Grundy2002
Madison1992
Sac1980
Cherokee1792
Howard1795
Iowa1791
Fayette1781
Mitchell1750
Hancock1712
Harrison1692
Humboldt1693
Calhoun1672
Mills1621
Palo Alto1560
Pocahontas1502
Monroe14410
Page1410
Lucas1386
Jefferson1321
Cass1282
Monona1281
Osceola1210
Appanoose1193
Taylor1191
Union1193
Davis1134
Van Buren1081
Worth1000
Keokuk891
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Ida840
Greene820
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