“The trade war accelerates and family farmers have had enough,” says Democratic consultant Normington, explaining how the Hawkeye State could turn on Trump. The cash-flush Republican National Committee could even be forced to spend money defending the president in Texas, where a Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t won since 1976.
Independent voters help tip the scales by putting more focus on the president’s conduct than their personal bottom lines after four years of overlooking presidential tweets and tirades.
“The economy is where conservative and swing voters are giving him a lot of credit and consider giving him another term,” says Democratic pollster Molly Murphy of ALG Research.
Were the economy to slow and veer closer toward a recession, however, the president would lose his trump card. Trump won independent voters by 4 points in 2016 (46-42 percent), according to the exit polls, but he could lose them by a dozen points (54-42 percent) in 2020, similar to the Democratic performance in the midterm elections. The president’s unwavering base of GOP voters would stay with him, but not be enough to win in enough states.