How much stock should we put in the political acumen of a guy who endorsed Michael Bennet three weeks before this year’s Iowa caucus?
The “glass half full” view for Democrats is that Biden has led in nearly every head-to-head poll with Trump since mid-February, occasionally by double digits.
The “glass half empty” view for them is that this is the latest poll, at a moment when other surveys show Trump’s job approval slipping and growing numbers blaming him for the coronavirus fiasco:
Buckle up pic.twitter.com/C3WzPYfI09
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 9, 2020
The president notched a 49/49 approval rating today in Fox’s survey, only the third time in the network’s polling during his presidency that he’s been under 50 percent disapproval. That “crisis bounce” isn’t completely gone yet, it seems. The true killer poll for Biden, though, was the one Ed flagged yesterday showing Trump leading him by eight points when voters were asked who’d be a better leader in a crisis. For Trump to have that kind of advantage at a moment as dire as the one we’re in, with the media in a frenzy over the feds’ poor preparations for the epidemic, is a blaring siren that the public is worried that Biden has “lost a step.”
Which means that a sustained outbreak until the election may, counterintuitively, work to Trump’s advantage. If nothing major were happening in the country, swing voters might feel safe ousting Trump in favor of Grandpa Joe in the belief that Biden won’t do much harm. End the Trump circus, let Biden be the figurehead of a cabinet of Dem experts. But because something extraordinarily major is happening, Biden’s senescence may be more of a liability. Do we want to trust a man who may not be “all there” to oversee a once-in-a-lifetime epidemic containment operation?
But I don’t know. Biden’s entire message since day one has been “Let’s get back to normal.” Americans will be desperately craving normalcy by November.
Anyway, there won’t be a “wipeout.” It’s unimaginable with a base as loyal as Trump’s. But I think what Carville means is a series of close-fought races for the White House and for Senate that all end up tilting Democrats’ way. It’s not hard to imagine them netting three seats and having Biden’s VP as the tiebreaker in a 50/50 chamber. Maybe the way to think about it is this: How does a president who’s never reached 50 percent approval, who’s been impeached, who’s presiding over historic unemployment, whose early response to a modern-day plague has been widely panned … actually win? It’d be the political feat of the century. Proof positive that through negative partisanship all things are possible.
“I’m totally totally unimpressed by President’s Trump political powers… But if we go to post in November with anything close to a level playing field, it’s going to be a Democratic wipeout. People are not going to vote for four more years of this” pic.twitter.com/5lGPouVVTu
— Acyn (@Acyn) April 9, 2020