In Michigan, a key swing state, Trump attacks popular Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and cheers on mobs that protest stay-at-home rules. The Detroit Free Press poll released early this week found that Michiganders by a 69 percent to 22 percent margin say “protests at the state Capitol against Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders sent a wrong message.” While there were partisan differences, the gap between Democrats and Republicans was not as wide as you might expect (“more than 90% of Democrats, 70% of Independents and 55% of Republican leaners agreeing the protests were wrong — only one group, strongly Republican men, had a majority that felt they sent the right message, by a margin of 58%-30%.”) Although not polled, I bet threatening to cut aid to the state if it doesn’t stop sending ballot applications is not going to win Trump plaudits either.
Trump’s numbers were equally dismal in the most recent Fox News poll. Voters think former vice president Joe Biden will “do a better job than Trump on health care by 17 points, coronavirus by 9, and relations with China by 6. Trump is trusted more on the economy by a slim 3-point margin.” Overall, Trump trails Biden by eight points, Biden’s net favorable is +2, while Trump’s is -12. Men favor Trump by seven points; women favor Biden by 20. In what should be red flags for Trump, he trails Biden among white women (whom Trump won narrowly in 2016), whites with college degrees and white women with college degrees (by 21 points).
Levels of unemployment not experienced since the Great Depression seem to be in the cards for the foreseeable future: “Bank of America expects the unemployment rate to peak ‘close to 19%’ by the end of the second quarter, according to the note.” No wonder Trump is overriding Senate Republicans and now pushing to put more money in the hands of Americans with another stimulus bill. But while Trump and his economic advisers seem to be following Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell’s admonition to “think big,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is still trying to do stimulus on the cheap, keeping the next bill under $1 trillion. Perhaps poll numbers for both Trump and Senate Republicans will move him to help sustain the tens of millions of Americans who have lost jobs (or suffered a reduction in wages).
Kaiser Family Foundation polling shows Democrats cite health care and the coronavirus as their top concerns this election year, while Republicans name the economy. Either way, Trump’s record is a disaster. As much as he will attempt to create distractions, Americans will remain laser-focused on these two increasingly intertwined issues. Do they really want four more years of this?