Six counterintuitive lessons of 2020

3. Trump’s job approval was the highest of his presidency on Election Day. Even though he’s never hit 50 percent job approval in reputable polling throughout his presidency, Trump managed to hit the magic number on Election Day in the Edison Research exit poll. It’s a sign that public polls likely undercounted so-called “shy Trump” voters throughout his presidency, raising unwarranted expectations for a Biden blowout win.

Trump’s favorability rating, however, was a notch lower than his approval rating, at just 46 percent. Trump won 47 percent of the national popular vote, a point higher than his 2016 vote share but not enough to win the election.

The fact that Trump’s vote share was ultimately closer to his underwhelming favorability rating than his job approval is a sign that his boorish behavior in office was a turnoff to enough Republican-friendly voters that it cost him the election.