The Proof is in the Polling

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, and so is its impact on presidential polling.

Earlier in the pandemic, we looked to recent history to understand how crises can impact presidential approval ratings. From JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis to President George W. Bush and September 11, we found presidents faced with crises tend to see bumps in polling.  

Early figures indicate the story may play out differently for President Trump.

Recent polls show a growing number of Americans disapproveof President Trump. In a head to head matchup with Biden, Trump is also losing ground.

What’s behind the numbers?

Americans continue to worry about the coronavirus and disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

They feel things are out of controlin the U.S. and believe the president is increasing racial tensions amid protests after George Floyd’s killing, which two-in-three say is “a sign of broader problems in treatment of Black Americans by police.”

This marks a potential turning point in public opinion on racial justice and policing.

As the country grapples with addressing racial injustice and inequality, the pandemic continues to widen the employment gap among white, Black and Hispanic communities.

Trump’s disapproval rating mirrors polling for Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their reelection bids.

Both presidents lost.  

At the same time, Trump has repeatedly shown he may not fit with any traditional patterns.