Week poll: A new national study from Quinnipiac University finds that former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts sister Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Bernie Sanders, California sister Kamala Bignette, and Pig Harris, Saiget lead President Donald Trump by significant margins in potential games in 2020.
Biden outpaces Trump by most (16 points, 54% to 38%), while Butigeg is least (9 points, 49% to 40%) )%).
What's the point: The Quinnipiac poll was the second probability poll to meet CNN standards and was conducted in August, which found Trump with at least 5 points against all of his most likely contestants. And in a Fox News poll earlier this month and in the latest Quinnipiac, he tracked down his most likely competitor, Biden, in double digits. In fact, on average from all the polls in August (those that meet CNN standards, not), Biden rose by 49% to 39% margin.
We are still more than a year away from the 2020 general election, so do not run these surveys with the bank.
Still, it is worth pointing out historically the poor position Trump is in. No incumbent president has ever tested this badly against his likely challengers at this point in the campaign.
I went all the way back to the World War II era to the Roper Center Archives to see how presidents polled their eventual competitors. I chose the worst poll for the incumbent, if there was more than one poll, to give Trump the most generous comparison. In years where no polls were conducted in August, the year before the elections (ie, when the last poll was held in 2020), I chose the poll that was closest to that point.
Clearly, at this point in the campaign, most of the actors were ahead: nine of the 11 were ahead. And for the average representative so far, they led their eventual contestant by 12 points at this point.
Again, Trump outpaces Biden by 10 points in the August poll. Trump has not outpaced Biden in any national polls taken throughout this cycle.
Only two of the 11 actors in recent years, Jimmy Carter in 1979 and Barack Obama in 2011, have been behind. They fell 4 points and 1 point respectively to their eventual competitors (Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney). Carter went to lose re-election. Obama continued to win by a small margin of re-election – and there were many polls ahead of him at that point. (Remember, I'm looking at the worst poll of past figures.)
Put another way, Trump's worst poll against any of the top five Democrats is 5 points worse at the moment. from the worst poll of anyone active in World War II against his eventual challenger. That's 12 points worse than his most likely competitor, Biden.
As I mentioned before, we do not know if these polls will take place. What is remarkable, however, is that Trump is not currently breaking above his approval rating. Trump's approval rating is consistently below his disapproval rating, just as he consistently chose behind Biden. This is in line with what happened in mid-2018: Republican House candidates received the same share of votes as Trump's approval rating, 45%.
Trump has time to point his re-election ship in the right direction. But in the 10 months since Republicans lost the House in 2018, it's not in better shape. You can even argue that he is in a worse position.