When Trump bridged the gap in the waning days of the 2016 campaign, he had to convince very few Clinton supporters to vote for him. Trump simply had to gather support from those who were undecided or supported a third party candidate.
At this time, Trump’s path will be difficult if not nearly impossible to win if he does not resume the voters who are already with Biden.
Other historical examples are also not too kind to Trump. The only other challenger at this point who was 50% or was hanging in the balance was Jimmy Carter in 1976. He won.
Here’s the problem for Trump: the average poll at this point had Truman’s Republican opponent Thomas Dewey at 46%. So even though Biden’s lead over Trump in these polls is 2 points lower than Dewey’s over Truman (just 9 points south), Biden gains about 5 points more support from voters. Dewey simply had no voters who would engage with him in the same way as Biden at this point.
Indeed, Trump’s need to convince those who are not already with the other camp is reflected in another way. Her disapproval rating in the average survey is 54%. No other president at this point in the polling era has had such a high disapproval vote before the chance to win a second term. Truman was 47%, while his approval score languished at 39%. However, there was a majority of Americans who at least did not disapprove of him.
In 2016 Trump showed he could challenge history. If he wants to win a second term in 2020, Trump will have to do some.
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