Do not embrace any spin that he could have won if only the pandemic didn’t spike in the last week, if only he stayed on message in the last week, if only his campaign spent its war chest more wisely, if only there was more coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop story, or if only there was more coverage of the third quarter GDP number.
I fully expect these excuses and then some, though I expect the claim that Trump would have won if not for the pandemic to be repeated most of all. In his own telling, to a recent Erie, Pa., crowd, “We had this thing won. We were so far up. We had the greatest economy ever, we had the greatest jobs, the greatest everything. And then we got hit with the plague and I had to go back to work.”
Nope. Trump was never ahead of Biden in the RCP national average, which has been tracked since September 2019. And according to RCP’s presidential job approval average, Trump has the unique distinction of never holding an approval number higher than 47.3% (forget about 50%) and almost never earning an approval number higher than his disapproval rating. (Trump was above water by just 0.1 points for one day, the very first day RCP began tracking his job approval: Jan. 27, 2017.)
Trump has been weighed down by these numbers despite a growing economy for much of his presidency. The discrepancy between his poll numbers and economic numbers strongly suggests that most Americans have been so repulsed by his divisive, self-serving and just plain mean behavior that they didn’t care how fat their wallets were getting. They just want him gone.