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By Robert A. Vella

Since President Trump took office in January 2017, this blog has continually detailed his personal and his party’s unpopularity as reflected in public opinion polls and electoral results.  Most conspicuously, the 2018 midterms highlighted a historic shift away from Republicans and towards Democrats primarily among suburban women.  Getting support from this key demographic was necessary for Trump’s Electoral College win in 2016, and he’ll need to recapture it this year to enable his reelection.  Doing so won’t be easy, however.  His scandalous presidency and his bigoted, misogynist attitude won’t endear him to those voters anytime soon.  So, Trump will have to find another path to victory.

Trump has got his base supporters locked-up, and older people have consistently stood behind him through thick and thin.  His henchmen have bullied the GOP establishment into submission, he’s been getting a lot of help from Russia and other foreign allies, and the specter of Republican-sponsored voter suppression efforts in some states still looms large over 2020.  But, it remains a marginal strategy.  If any of those pillars of support weakens, Trump and his party would surely be defeated in November (barring any unforeseen circumstances).

Now, after Trump’s abysmal failure to lead the nation out of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as his embarrassing spectacle of daily press conferences, one of those pillars appears to be cracking.  This news might be surprising to readers who see Trump’s support as unwavering.  However, when Trump’s actions and rhetoric endanger Americans who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, it is understandable why they might have second-thoughts about him.  Self-preservation, you see, is a human instinct.

Let’s get to that story and today’s other news.

From:  Briefings Were ‘Not Worth the Time,’ Trump Said. But He Couldn’t Stay Away.

WASHINGTON — To the surprise of exactly no one, President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus news briefings on Monday, just two days after tweeting that they were “not worth the time & effort” and just hours after his own White House officially canceled the planned appearance.

The lure of cameras in the Rose Garden proved too hard to resist. For a president who relishes the spotlight and spends hours a day watching television, the idea of passing on his daily chance to get his message out turned out to be untenable despite his anger over his coverage. And so he was back, defending his handling of the pandemic and promising to reopen the country soon.

See also:  White House moves to refocus Trump after bleach controversy at coronavirus briefing

From:  13 hours of Trump: The president fills briefings with attacks and boasts, but little empathy

Trump has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60 percent of the time that officials spoke, according to a Washington Post analysis of annotated transcripts from Factba.se, a data analytics company.

Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump — including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims. He spent twice as much time promoting an unproven antimalarial drug that was the object of a Food and Drug Administration warning Friday. Trump also said something false or misleading in nearly a quarter of his prepared comments or answers to questions, the analysis shows.

From:  President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat

U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats.

For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.

But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.

Related story:  Trump cuts U.S. research on bat-human virus transmission over China ties

The next two reports were published last week (April 22-24):

From:  Trump tries to reassure seniors he won’t let them die after polling shows he’s hemorrhaging their support

Recent polls have shown that President Donald Trump is actually losing support among older voters amid his chaotic handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the president is trying to reassure them that he won’t let them die.

In a Wednesday morning tweet [last week], the president promoted the reopening of the American economy while also taking care to note that older Americans will need special protections.

[…]

National Journal columnist Josh Kraushaar this week examined polling data showing that former Vice President Joe Biden is now actually leading Trump among voters aged 65 and older.

“The latest Morning Consult poll found that 65-and-older voters prioritized defeating the coronavirus over healing the economy by nearly a 6-to-1 ratio,” he wrote. “And over the past month, they’ve become the group most disenchanted with Trump’s handling of the crisis. In mid-March, seniors were more supportive of Trump than any other age group (plus-19 net approval). Now, their net approval of the president has dropped 20 points and is lower than any age group outside of the youngest.”

From:  Trump’s big problem: Seniors

WASHINGTON — Six months before the November election, President Trump has fallen behind among a group central to his victory in 2016 — voters 65 and older.

Trump’s significant deficit among seniors shows up in poll after poll, nationwide and in key states, including surveys done by nonpartisan groups and by pollsters in both parties.

The problem predates the intense public focus on the coronavirus, but Trump’s erratic response to the crisis has probably worsened it, strategists in both parties say.

[…]

This week, Quinnipiac’s poll of Florida voters showed Trump trailing Biden among voters 65 and older by 10 points. If that held up until election day, it would be “devastating” for Trump in that state, said Schwartz.

From:  USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll: Six months out, Biden jumps to lead over Trump amid coronavirus concerns

A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll shows the former vice president leading Trump nationwide by 6 percentage points, 44% to 38%, a shift from Trump’s 3-point lead in the survey as he was being impeached by the House in December. In a contest without a third-party contender, Biden’s margin jumps to 10 points, 50% to 40%.

[…]

But among independents, his standing has plummeted by 18 percentage points since the poll taken in December, to 27% from 45%.

[…]

“Honest and trustworthy.” This was Trump’s worst rating. By more than 2-1, 64% to 31%, those surveyed said that trait didn’t describe him.

Nate Silver’s 538 blog of aggregate polls has Trump’s disapproval rating at 52.6% and his approval rating at 43.3% while the generic congressional ballot favors Democrats over Republicans by 48.3% to 40.4%.

From:  White House Nods to Possible Transition to New President in 2021

The White House instructed federal agencies on Monday to begin preparations in case Donald Trump is defeated in November and a new president takes office in January, a routine contingency ahead of the election.

Russell Vought, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, issued a memorandum ordering dozens of agencies to appoint a transition director by Friday, in keeping with the Presidential Transition Act.

From:  The misleading rhetoric on blue states needing to be ‘bailed out’ by the federal government

The Rockefeller Institute of Government regularly compiles an analysis of how much states give and get in federal support. Its most recent analysis, released in January, shows that eight states get less from the federal government than they contribute: Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Utah. Connecticut gets the least in return for its contributions, getting 84 cents back for every dollar it contributes. Kentucky, on the other hand, gets $2.41 back for each dollar.

a close up of a map

From:  These countries effectively contained the coronavirus, and their currencies are surging in response

Countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are among the few which managed to buck the trend and put a lid on the coronavirus outbreak, at least for now. Their success has boosted investor confidence and it’s showing in the strength of their currencies.

With their economies re-opening again, their currencies have significantly jumped from earlier this year when the outbreak ravaged the Asia Pacific region. In contrast, many of their neighbors in the region are still struggling to control the pandemic.

From:  Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers show a different story

Sweden has been an outlier during the coronavirus outbreak. The country has not joined many of its European neighbors in imposing strict limits on citizens’ lives, and images of people heading to work on busy streets, or chatting at cafes and bars have raised eyebrows.

[…]

Among Nordic countries — which share similar cultural, geographical and sociological attributes — the contrast with Sweden is great. Finland declared a state of emergency, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 16, restricted travel to and from its Uusimaa region on March 28 and closed restaurants, cafes and bars on April 1.

Denmark announced widespread closures on March 11 and was among the first in Europe to close borders, shops, schools and restaurants, and to ban large gatherings. Norway began introducing travel restrictions in mid-March and has since closed schools and daycare centers, banned the use of vacation properties, canceled events and closed businesses such as hair and beauty salons.

The death rate in Sweden has now risen significantly higher than many other countries in Europe, reaching more than 21 per 100,000 people, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, controlled for population.

Headlines:

COVID-19 jobless rates will be comparable to Great Depression: Trump economic adviser

US economy could contract 30% in second quarter, Trump adviser warns

FEMA seized 5 million masks meant for veterans and sent them to federal stockpile: Report – The agency agreed to distribute 500,000 masks to the Veterans Affairs this week which is much lower than the requirement

Leader of North Carolina Protests Against Stay-at-Home Has Coronavirus

Judge blocks 30-day extension of Illinois stay-at-home order

WHO Director Says the World Should Have Listened to It About Coronavirus

Halt destruction of nature or suffer even worse pandemics, say world’s top scientists

11 thoughts on “The surprising reason why President Trump and the GOP have fallen so precipitously in the polls

  1. This … months during which he continued to play down the threat … should have read continued to play golf and hold rallies.

    I can’t help but wonder if Trump is aware of that “Presidential Transition Act.” I can just see him disbanding it and firing Russell Vought because it’s an “unnecessary.”

    Liked by 2 people

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