President Trump’s reelection odds & the state of the Presidential race
Bottom Line: Coming into the Presidential Election cycle the odds were on the side of Donald Trump winning reelection. Why?
- 65% of Presidents who run for reelection win
There is a clear incumbency advantage. There are other numbers that come into play, based on a president’s approval ratings as we close in on Election Day. A Presidential reelection bid is first and foremost a referendum on the incumbent President. History has shown that if people are generally satisfied with the performance of the President – they'll vote to stay with him. That necessarily makes the relevance of the challenger a secondary consideration. In this story I've taken the historical approval ratings of incumbent presidents running for reelection and tracked the outcomes of those elections. In so doing I’m able to project historical reelection odds for President Trump based on his current ratings.
Here’s where we stand as of today:
- 38% based on a 44% average approval rating across all samples (flat vs last week)
- 65% based on a 47% average approval rating with likely voters (+1% vs last week)
With both political conventions now behind us and the Presidential debate schedule now finalized, we’re getting down to crunch time with just two months separating us from Election Day. Last week I said this: A key number to watch, as we advance towards Election Day is 47%. Most incumbent Presidents with at least a 47% approval rating win reelection. President Trump sits just below that level currently. That was last week. This week that’s exactly where President Trump’s approval among likely voters sits. That bodes well for him historically. That takes us to this week’s takeaways.
For Biden: Given that President Trump continues to perform meaningfully better with likely voters, as opposed to adult only samples, the opportunity and challenge, remains converting more adults who currently aren’t likely to vote into likely voters.
For Trump: Solidify support among likely voters. If he maintains his current position, he’s likely to win. If he can base here and gain additional support through the debates he would have the potential to win bigger than he did in 2016.
To be continued...