2020-07-06 17:32:53 UTC
Trump's falling political fortunes have tilted the electoral map in Joe Biden's
favor and made battlegrounds out of more Senate states.
President Donald Trump is now an underdog to win a second term, and Republicans
Senate majority is in serious danger of being swept out with him, according to
the latest edition of POLITICOs Election Forecast.
A series of crises over the past three months has seen the political environment
deteriorate markedly for Trump and his party. The percentage of voters who think
the country is headed in the wrong direction is hitting new highs a record 75
percent in the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll and Trumps approval
rating is settling near his all-time lows.
Meanwhile, Joe Bidens lead over Trump is swelling to roughly 10 points
nationally and for the first time, our forecast classifies Biden as the clear
favorite in the race.
The national atmosphere is toxic enough that Senate Republicans, who currently
hold a three-seat majority, no longer have a significant edge in their quest to
retain control of the chamber next year. Democrats have both built leads in
states that were previously considered up-for-grabs and put new states firmly on
the map, expanding their path to a majority and potential unified control of
government in 2021.
POLITICOs Election Forecast is a long-term, qualitative examination of the
political landscape, from the presidential campaign down to the
congressional-district level. It is based on continual interviews with
strategists and operatives, polling and other data streams and the electoral and
demographic trends driving the 2020 campaign. It is a more deliberative approach
than a statistical model, which can be helpful in cutting through polls and
other data sources but can also shift from day-to-day with little rationale for
From the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, Trumps standing with voters
has suffered, with a majority disapproving of his handling of the emergency. But
with Americans more dissatisfied than ever after four months since the
coronavirus became a dominant force in the country and with the same period of
time to go until Election Day the shift toward Democrats is both real and
durable, though its not irreversible.
The signs are apparent: Trumps campaign is running ads in states he won handily
in 2016, like Georgia and Ohio. Senate Republicans arent just playing defense
in vulnerable seats in states like Colorado, Maine and North Carolina theyre
also retrenching in places like Iowa and Montana.
Meanwhile, Trumps incumbent advantages money and the bully pulpit of the
presidency are eroding. Bidens fundraising has surpassed Trumps over the
past two months, though Trumps campaign retains a cash-on-hand edge. Trumps
poll numbers on the coronavirus and the civil unrest regarding racial injustice
are consistently underwater, suggesting Americans believe he has failed to lead
on the two dominant issues facing the country.
It could all add up to a potentially disastrous November for Republicans up and
down the ballot if the presidents numbers dont recover. There is still time
for that to happen and a plausible path for Trump to win an Electoral College
majority and the GOP to keep the Senate. But it has grown much less likely.