My God, he’s the right-wing Ralph Nader.
A few weeks ago anti-Trump righties Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller made the case for Amash taking a pass on the Libertarian Party nomination, precisely because they feared he’d draw more votes from Biden than from Trump.
Take a look at the increase in vote total among center-right, third party candidates (Gary Johnson / Evan McMullin / Constitution Party) plus write-ins in the three key upper Midwest states in 2016 over 2012:
Pennsylvania: 135,170 more votes; Trump won by 44,292 votes
Wisconsin: 123,447 more votes; Trump won by 22,748
Michigan: 165,214 more votes; Trump won by 10,704
That’s the whole ballgame right there. That’s why President Total Authority was the one standing in the Oval Office waving his hands and sniffing about how the coronavirus would disappear “like a miracle” instead of a grown-up who would have made the necessary, basic preparations for the epidemic.
Today’s new numbers from Monmouth confirm that Biden does worse with Amash in the race than without him. But there’s one big difference from 2016: He still wins comfortably in a three-way race, if not quite as comfortably as in a two-way one. Here’s Biden vs. Trump…
…and here’s Biden vs. Trump vs. Amash:
Four points come out of Biden’s support among independents with Amash in the race, which isn’t surprising. More surprising is the fact that five points also come out of his support among Democrats. By comparison, Trump loses just a single point among Republicans to the libertarian, a testament to how tight his grip on the party is. But I don’t mean to oversell Amash’s strength here. Monmouth notes that when libertarian Gary Johnson first jumped into the 2016 race he pulled 11 percent against the widely disliked Hillary and Trump. By Election Day, with voters convinced that their choice was a binary one, he fell to three percent. I’d be surprised if Amash matches that given the ferocious partisan pressure on both sides of a November referendum on Trump’s first term.
The Monmouth poll isn’t good news for Trump but other surveys are looking up for him today. Interesting numbers from Morning Consult:
Trust more to handle…
Trump 46% (+9)
Trump 43% (+4)
Trump 43% (+4)
Trump 43% (+3)
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) May 6, 2020
A separate poll taken by Reuters/Ipsos also finds voters trending away from Biden lately:
The opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 43% of registered voters said they would support Biden in the Nov. 3 presidential election, while 41% said they would back Trump. That makes the contest essentially a toss-up, as the results are within the poll’s credibility interval.
Biden led by 6 percentage points in a similar poll last week and by 8 points in a poll that ran April 15 to 21…
According to the poll, 45% of Americans said Trump was better suited to create jobs, while 32% said Biden was the better candidate for that. That pushed Trump’s advantage over Biden in terms of job creation to 13 points, compared with the Republican president’s 6-point edge in a similar poll that ran in mid-April.
Trump’s advantage on the economy is striking given the catastrophic corona-driven collapse in the labor force lately. Drudge had a headline yesterday mocking the president’s new campaign message, that if he built a great economy once he can do it twice: “Make America Great Again, Again?” But maybe Team Trump’s more clever than its critics think. It’ll be months before voters feel they have enough data from the pandemic to make an informed judgment on whether Trump handled it well or not — how many deaths, did we get a second wave, and so on. But Trump’s advantage over Biden on who’d be better at overseeing the eventual economic recovery may be durable because of how rosy the monthly jobs report and the Dow average were until March of this year. Twenty percent unemployment would destroy most presidents, but given Trump’s economic track record for most of his first term, it may end up being neutral at worst in November. Jobs were wiped out by the economic equivalent of a meteor strike, not presidential policy. All voters might consider is which candidate they trust more to repair the damage.
I’ll leave you with one more piece of data, from PRRI gauging the trends in Trump’s favorability in battleground states. Not good, although it should be noted that this poll was taken nearly two weeks ago. Maybe the outlook has brightened now that he’s abandoned the horrible optics of the evening coronavirus briefing/rant session.