Trump Faces an Uphill Task as Poll Numbers Pile up Against Him
The US presidential election is looming ahead; It's just about four months away and that's a pretty short time. In the present month of January of this year appears to be far away. That was the time the American President Donald Trump was riding high. He did have negative ratings but overall with employment at its highest and very few unemployed and China not a threat at that time Donald Trump appeared to be in the driver seat. The campaign of Joe Biden hadn't taken off and Bernie Sanders was still around. With the advantage of the sitting president, the man in the White House stood a good chance of re-election.
All this has changed and the perception in the American public is that the President is not all that hot in handling the coronavirus. The latest poll figures would be a cause of worry for him and if this trend continues, I do not see how Donald Trump can get back into the White House irrespective of the merit of his opponent. The challenger Joe Biden is not the best of candidates. There are allegations of his son having some association with China and morally he has been accused of impropriety by another lady. But control of the virus may be the last straw and that could propel Joe Biden as a default candidate into the White House.
The latest polls
The news which has emanated will not be to President Trump's liking. .He is getting bad news for many weeks but now the worst news has come last Friday in a poll by ABC News in conjunction with the Washington Post. This shows the President's numbers are falling far behind his opponent Joe Biden. All this has happened because in the public perception the president has not been able to handle the coronavirus and the economic fallout. Even President Trump’s advisers acknowledge his election will rise and fall on how he handles the coronavirus.
It is important to understand what this poll brings out. Firstly, it shows that most Americans disapprove of his handling of the virus, which has been there for some time now. The Post-ABC News poll indicates that more than half of Americans, 52 %, strongly disapprove of the president's handling of the coronavirus.
In March, the period when the United States started shutting down to face the virus and Trump had got brief support, when only 36 % said the same thing. Over the months the entire scenario has worsened and that is bad news for Trump as the virus has resurged.
The second bit of bad news is that the virus is now rampant and spreading in the purple and red states like Arizona Texas Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Now we know that Trump has a committed support base who swear by him. Unfortunately, it shows that his support base which consists of evangelicals, men without college degrees, and rural Americans are also getting disenchanted. Many still feel that they will vote for him but as the virus runs rampant there are quite a few who are thinking that he is not doing such a good job after all.
Lastly, the total is, that most Americans don't trust Trump on his handling of the virus. Over the months the figures for Trump are getting worse from the bad. More than 6 in 10 say they do not trust what Trump says on the virus. The startling figures are that even among Republicans 3 out of 10 echoed the same views.
Trump is also having his jousts with Anthony Fauci whom the Americans trust more than Trump. These verbal battles add to the negativity. Trump wants to open up the economy and is pretty desperate about it because opening up of the economy will be to his benefit but the virus keeps on growing and that is putting a spanner in the plans of Donald Trump. Most Americans don’t want to reopen business at the cost of health and safety. The virus and the economy are interlinked and it means that Trump has to focus on the virus if he wants the economy to flower again.
If Trump does not get into top gear against the coronavirus, I think his days in the white house will be numbered. One has a lurking feeling, that once he's elected he will likely make overtures to China again; One cannot forget that just a few weeks back he was praising President Xi. The retired Indian ambassador to China has given her opinion that Trump has deep business interests with China and in case he is elected he is likely to go soft on China. One should not forget that the Americans had a soft corner for China and had tried to build it up as a counterpoise to Russia ever since Johnson was president.
That's an old hat now but the new hat that Trump is going to wear may not be the best one for America. In the meantime, it is the Coranavirus which will decide who sits in the White House.