- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
- There’s mounting evidence that President Donald Trump has a strong chance of being reelected in 2020.
- Trump’s approval rating as measured by Gallup is about 45%, roughly equal to that of President Barack Obama at the same point in his presidency.
- As the incumbent, Trump also has a fundraising advantage. He raked in $30 million in the first quarter of 2019 – as much as his top two challengers combined in the crowded Democratic field.
- Meanwhile, most Americans seem to approve of the direction of the economy, which polls have shown is a top concern for voters.
President Donald Trump has been a historically unpopular president for most of his time in office, and his administration has been plagued by record-setting turnover and difficulties getting key initiatives off the ground. Despite all of this, recent evidence suggests Trump still has a good shot of being reelected in 2020.
The president’s approval rating as measured by Gallup stands at about 45%. Trump’s most recent predecessor, President Barack Obama, had an identical approval rating at this point in his presidency and was reelected in 2012.
Comparatively, in mid-April 1995, President Bill Clinton had an approval rating of 46%, according to Gallup, and he was also reelected.
As an incumbent, Trump also has an inherent fundraising advantage, with Democratic funding split among a crowded field and many 2020 Democrats entering the race only in February or March.
The president raised $30 million in the first quarter of 2019 and has about $40 million in cash on hand. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, who are leading Democrats in terms of money raised, raked in $18.2 million and $12 million respectively in the first quarter.
At the same time, voters seem to overwhelmingly approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, which also bodes well for him.
Recent data indicates the US job market remains strong, wages for Americans are on the rise, and consumer confidence is near its highest level since the recession. Historical data shows that a strong economy can help boost a president’s reelection chances, though the link may be weakening in recent years.
A CNN poll from mid-March found 71% of Americans said the economy was in good shape. That was the highest percentage to express this view since 2001.
A majority of those polled (51%) also approved of Trump’s handling of the economy. That’s similar to the RealClearPolitics average of polls measuring approval of Trump’s handling of the economy, which is 51.5%.
A more recent Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service “Battleground Poll” found that 58% of registered voters considered “likely” to vote in 2020 said they approved of the job Trump had done on the economy.
The poll also found 55% saying they disapproved of Trump overall and a majority (57%) saying the country was on the wrong track. But Trump’s level of support remained strong among Republicans, with 74% of GOP voters saying the country was heading in the right direction.
A February poll from Pew Research Center found that strengthening the economy ranked as the top issue overall for Americans, though other polls place issues like healthcare higher on the list.
In short, it’s hard to say how much of an advantage Trump gets from positive perceptions of his handling of the economy, but it certainly doesn’t hurt him.