The new Washington Post-ABC News poll also shows that the race for the Democratic nomination in 2020 is wide open, with no clear favorite. In fact most Democratic voters are not yet able to name their favorite candidate.
According to the Post,
“The lack of commitment on the Democratic side comes as Trump appears vulnerable to defeat in a 2020 general election, and perhaps even to a challenge from within the Republican Party.”
A 56 percent majority of all Americans say they would “definitely not vote for him” should Trump become the Republican nominee, while 14 percent say they would consider voting for him and 28 percent would definitely vote for him. Majorities of independents (59 percent), women (64 percent) and suburbanites (56 percent) rule out supporting Trump for a second term.
By comparison, during President Barack Obama’s first term, polls showed just 41 percent to 46 percent saying they would “definitely not vote for him.” Obama won reelection in 2012 with 51 percent of the popular vote compared with Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 47 percent.
Trump’s approval rating among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents used to be near 90% but it has fallen to just 75%, a huge drop that he can ill afford. Not only that but nearly one-third of such voters also said they want the Republican Party to nominate somebody other than Trump to be the party’s candidate for president in 2020. This has provided encouragement to other Republicans such as former Ohio governor John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who have expressed interest in a primary challenge to the president next year.
Concerns over Trump’s reelection prospects led the Republican National Committee (RNC) to vote unanimously Friday for a resolution of “undivided support” for Trump and his presidency. This was a show of loyalty among the party’s leaders, but that does not necessarily translate to support among the party’s rank and file.
The RNC resolution did not specifically endorse his reelection, however, which may be just a technicality since party officials are supposed to remain neutral until after the 2020 nominating convention.
The RNC resolution also led Trump to falsely tweet that the committee had voted “to support me in the upcoming 2020 Election.”
This poll shows that while the Republican Party “establishment” in Washington wants to remain firmly loyal to the president, his support throughout the country is slipping. Other recent polls show that his support has fallen dramatically among voter groups that strongly voted for him in 2016, such as non-college white voters and suburban male voters.
On the Democratic side, most poll participants were noncommittal, taking a “wait and see” approach.
When asked whom they would support today for the Democratic presidential nomination, 56 percent of self-identified Democrats didn’t give a name. And although former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) were the leaders, no candidate received double-digit support in the poll.
When asked whom they would support if the election were held today, 43 percent of Democrats said they do not have an opinion. Seven percent said they would not choose anyone, 5 percent said any one of the Democratic candidates and 1 percent said they would support “someone new.”
Biden was the person most often chosen, by 9 percent of Democratic-leaning voters, followed by Harris, with 8 percent, each garnering more support than any other named candidate. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Trump were named by 4 percent, followed by former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) with 3 percent.
Democrats participating in the poll were divided over which issue is most important to them. They were given a list of four issues, and 31 percent said “improving the health-care system” was most important. Another 21 percent said “reducing economic inequality,” 18 percent said “reducing racial and gender discrimination” and 15 percent said “combating global warming” were most important.
Overall, this poll shows that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the 2020 presidential election landscape. There is a wide-open Democratic race on one side, and a very unstable Republican incumbent president on the other side. The race is just getting started, and at this point it appears that anything could happen.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.