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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Trump Bump to Trump Slump

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under  way.   


Consider the work of Richard Brody on the rally effect. Brody’s “elite opinion leader” model predicts that a lasting rally occurs only when opinion leaders refrain from critical commentary on the crisis -- that is, they lay off the president. As of late, however, the media, the opposing party, and opinion leaders generally have hardly been shy about criticizing the president’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Consequently, we should expect Trump’s approval rating resurgence to evaporate relatively quickly. 
YouGov surveys show that it did.
Unsurprisingly, Republican approval of Trump remained relatively constant. Democratic ratings, however, declined five percentage points on COVID-19 (and one percentage point overall). Liberal and moderate-to-conservative Democrats were responsible for much of this decrease.  Liberal Democrats dropped their approval by eight points on the crisis and six points on overall job performance; more moderate Democrats stayed even on their overall evaluations but dropped six percentage point on the crisis measurement. The largest drop, though, was among independents, who went from majority approval to majority disapproval of Trump in a single week, falling at least 15 points on both measures of approval.
From Pew:
President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak – especially his response to initial reports of coronavirus cases overseas – is widely criticized. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say Trump was too slow to take major steps to address the threat to the United States when cases of the disease were first reported in other countries.
Opinions about Trump’s initial response to the coronavirus – as well as concerns about whether state governments will act too quickly or slowly in easing restrictions – are deeply divided along partisan lines. These attitudes stand in stark contrast to the assessments of how CDC officials and state and local officials are addressing the outbreak, which are largely positive among members of both parties.
Democrats are largely united in their concerns over state governments easing bans on public activity; 81% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say their greater concern is that governments will lift these restrictions too quickly. Yet
Republicans and Republican leaners are evenly divided. About half (51%) say their bigger concern is that state governments will act too quickly while slightly fewer (46%) worry more that restrictions on public movement will not be lifted quickly enough.
The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted April 7 to 12 among 4,917 U.S. adults on the American Trends Panel, finds that Republicans also are divided in opinions about whether it is acceptable for elected officials to criticize the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.