Donald Trump’s week got off to a rough start. First his favorite morning show tears into him, and now his favorite pollster seems to be throwing some shade his way. In a hypothetical head-to-head match in 2020, Trump would only get to a 45/45 tie against the woman he vanquished in 2016, according to Rasmussen Reports.
When we say “hypothetical,” though, we really mean hypothetical:
Some have speculated that if Joe Biden falters in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton will jump in. In a repeat matchup of the 2016 election, Clinton runs dead even with President Trump, but even most Democrats don’t want her to get into the race.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that Clinton and Trump earn 45% support each among Likely U.S. Voters. The deciding 11% remains undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But just 18% think Clinton should enter the race for next year’s Democratic presidential nomination. Seventy-one percent (71%) don’t think she should run. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.
So let’s get this straight. Fewer than one in five voters think Hillary should enter the 2020 sweepstakes, but … nearly half of all voters would support her if she did? (Thirty-nine percent of the nays would support her, as it turns out.) That’s not exactly complimentary to her opponent, although it’s about par for the course in terms of partisan behavior. Without a doubt, many of those who voted for Trump did so as the lesser of two evils on the flip side of that comparison. And still would in 2020 on the same basis, especially with Democrats running hard towards the socialist-progressive base.
Unlike other polls, Trump can’t easily dismiss Rasmussen, either. Trump regularly promotes their results on his Twitter feed, with their 50%+ approval ratings being turned into graphics for easy social-media distribution. That makes it hard to dismiss these results as a product of media bias and bad polling.
The internals for this poll look a lot like 2016, actually. Trump wins men 53/39 and loses women 38/50. One difference is that Trump gets 26% of black respondents in this survey, which looks veeerrrry optimistic as an indicator of what would happen in an election. Trump loses 15% of Republicans to Hillary, who loses 18% of Democrats to Trump.
It’s a fun hypothetical, but that’s all it is. Even if Biden stumbles, as Rasmussen posits, Democrats have a plethora of other options. Elizabeth Warren is surging, checks the same boxes as Hillary, and doesn’t have her baggage — although Warren has enough of her own. Democrats could give Kamala Harris another look … after which they’d look elsewhere, true, but Harris is still around. If they were smart, Democrats would look outside the usual suspects of 2019 and consider Steve Bullock, who might actually win 15% or more of Republicans in a general election, but nothing so far in this cycle shows Democrats being smart.