OP-ED SOCIAL CLIMATE: Trump is running scared


With a year to go before the 2020 election, the Democratic presidential contenders have extended their lead over Donald Trump, according to the latest ABCNews/Washington Post poll.

I am partial to the ABC polls, which are done by the multi-awarded pollster Gary Langer, a long-time friend. When I first met Gary, two decades ago in New York City, he was directing ABC’s in-house polling shop. He eventually privatized himself into Langer Research Associates, which now does surveys for ABC and other clients. The ABC polls are not outliers from US polls.


Langer reports that, against former vice president Joe Biden in particular, Trump’s current deficit is 39-56 or 17 points, compared to 40-55 or 15 points in early September, and 43-53 or 10 points in early July. These are based on the registered voters of the survey sample (https//abcnews.go.com/Politics/year-election-day-democratic-presidential-contenders-extend-leads/story?id>66664948). The poll was done by landline and mobile phones on 10/27-30/19, on a random national sample of 1,003 adults, with an error margin of 3.7 points.

ALL the Democratic contenders are ahead of Trump: Bernie Sanders is +17 also, Elizabeth Warren is +15, Pete Buttigieg is +11, and Kamala Harris is +9. All of them increased their leads over Trump compared to July.

Trump’s problems go beyond his prospective impeachment. Six of 10 Americans say he is NOT honest or trustworthy, he does NOT have the personality and temperament to serve effectively as president, and he is NOT good at making political deals. Over half say he has NOT brought needed change to Washington, and he does NOT understand the problems of people like them.

Trump’s only asset is the US economy, which 44 percent say has gotten better since he became president, and only 22 percent say has gotten worse. (The net score of +22 would be termed Excellent if it came from an SWS survey of Filipino gainers and losers in their quality of life.) Of course, those who say the economy improved give Trump the credit, while those who say it worsened blame it on him. But the economy is already factored into the poll’s reading of Trump’s poor prospects in 2020.


Politically, American voters tend to be quite partisan. The ABC poll sample had 29 percent Democrats, 23 percent Republicans, and 38 percent independents; presumably the 10 percent balance did not state a party preference.

Trump is strong in special sectors: Against Biden, his support is 79 percent among conservatives, 76 percent among evangelical white Protestants, and 79 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.


Gender matters. Against Trump, Biden is +30 among women, but only +3 among men. Warren is +29 among women, and only +1 among men. Trump definitely loses among women, and gets, at best, a tie among men.

The race factor is very strong. Among whites, Trump does NOT significantly lead the Democrats. But 9 of 10 blacks, and 2 of 3 Hispanics, are pro-Democrats.

Education matters. Trump is +37 versus Biden among non-college educated white men. Biden is +35 versus Trump among college-educated white women.

Voting turnout matters. At most, only 60 percent of eligible voters in the United States go out to vote in presidential elections—compared to 80 percent in the Philippines. Getting out the vote, particularly among youth and people of color, is important for Democrats.

I haven’t seen state-by-state polls, which are the real means of predicting a US presidential election. But with these national poll numbers, Donald Trump is running scared. Whether he admits it in public, or to himself, is immaterial.

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