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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
Wabasha10301
Redwood91619
Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
Yellow Medicine63311
Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
Swift5758
Faribault5422
Pope5281
Stevens5063
Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
Lake4066
Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
Lake of the Woods951
Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
Fremont3573
Van Buren3555
Worth3550
Lucas3236
Decatur3160
Wayne2987
Audubon2952
Ringgold2112
Adams1692
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