Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign town hall at Ocean Center, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
As midterm elections approach, many in D.C. and around the country eagerly look toward the 2020 presidential election.
President Trump has been clear about his desire to run for re-election. In March, the White House announced that the Trump campaign had hired Brad Parscale to run his 2020 bid. Parscale was the digital media director for his winning 2016 campaign.
Though a campaign hire may seem a bit premature, it indicates a strong confidence in both the voters who supported his initial rise and in the populist message. In fact, President Trump officially filed for re-election with the FEC on January 20, 2017; the date of his inauguration.
Talk about wasting no time.
Some may scoff at this preparedness, but according to a recent Gallup poll, President Trump has every right to feel secure. The latest figures place him in the same territory as Clinton and Obama in terms of re-election hopes.
The percentage of voters who say Trump deserves re-election is essentially identical to that of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at the time of the 1994 and 2010 midterm elections, respectively. More voters said George W. Bush deserved re-election at the time of the midterm elections in his first term, in 2002.
Still, there is some concern this far out from midterms.
Trump’s approval ratings have been significantly worse than those of his predecessors at similar points in their presidencies. And his re-elect figures do not match those of Clinton (40% in April 1994) and Obama (46% in March 2010) in the spring of their first midterm election years. However, by the time voters cast ballots in those presidents’ first midterms that fall, the percentage of voters believing Clinton and Obama deserved to be re-elected had fallen to the same level Trump is at now.
It remains to be seen just how much impact this fall’s election results will have on President Trump’s plans for the future.
Democrats are certainly unhappy with the majority in Congress. If a blue wave crushes Republican midterm plans, that will only increase the desire among GOP voters to keep the White House safely in Trump’s hands. Conversely, it will further fuel Democrat passion at the polls in order to complete a sweep and regain control in 2020.
The Gallup results have Trump virtually tied with former presidents of the opposite political persuasion. This says much about perception versus reality in this toxic climate. Clearly, the president has many consistent detractors on both sides of the aisle. However, when faced with whether he deserves re-election, voters give him the Clinton and Obama treatment. That’s not exactly in line with the popular “he is the devil and no one likes him” narrative.
Trump’s standing with independents and supporters of the opposition party is similar to that of Clinton and Obama at the time of the 1994 and 2010 midterm elections. About one in three independents believed each deserved re-election, and fewer than one in 10 Republicans did. Trump’s numbers among Republicans are essentially the same as Obama’s among his fellow Democrats in 2010, but slightly better than those of Clinton among Democrats in 1994. Trump would need to see a recovery in his support over the next two years to successfully win re-election, as Clinton and Obama did.
This is not to say that an incumbent win for President Trump is even close to certain. November 3, 2020 is still a long way off.
As it stands right now, though, the p***y hat-wearing members of the Resistance should feel uneasy as they march against a leader whose re-election chances fall in line with two-term presidents of the recent past.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.