Gallup has analyzed the mood of the American people and come up with warnings for both President Trump and his Democratic rivals.
As Paul Bedard reported in the Washington Examiner, newly released Gallup poll results found the number of Americans who believe that President Trump “has the personality and leadership qualities to be president” has increased over the last two years. The president has also eclipsed his predecessor in terms of working on issues Americans believe to be important.
According to the article: “Gallup found that 47% agree with Trump on the issues, edging President Barack Obama at the two year mark of his presidency. In April 2007, 45% agreed with Obama on issues, said Gallup. And Trump was graded more in line with the political ideology of Americans than Obama and former President George W. Bush. Asked about Trump’s ideology, 38% said it was ‘about right.’ Some 35% said the same thing about Obama, and 36% for Bush.”
These are remarkable numbers. They violate the Washington elites’ view of Trump as an unacceptable outsider. If almost half the country agrees with Trump on issues – and more Americans think he is more in line with their ideology than either President Obama or President George W. Bush, maybe it is the Washington elites who have to do some serious rethinking.
The improving prospects for President Trump’s re-election were also captured in a New York Times op-ed Steven Rattner, who was Obama’s counselor to the Treasury and leader of the auto bailout program.
Rattner – who is hardly a Trump fan – wrote that three separate projection models currently point to Trump’s re-election.
President Trump’s acceptability as someone with the personal characteristics to be president has improved from 33 percent two years ago to 40 percent today. With another year of improvement this may cease to be an issue.
"Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has looked at 12 models, and Mr. Trump wins in all of them. Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College," Rattner wrote.
Before the White House breaks out the champagne, it should note the one warning in the Gallup report. As Paul Bedard noted, “Gallup found that 58% disagree that Trump has the character aspects of leadership and personality to be president.”
President Trump’s acceptability as someone with the personal characteristics to be president has improved from 33 percent two years ago to 40 percent today. With another year of improvement, this may cease to be an issue.
Faced with the strengths of the economy and of President Trump on the issues, the Democrats have two likely paths in 2020.
If they nominate someone like former Vice President Joe Biden, who tries to stay closer to the middle than the left-wing of his party, they run the risk of an election like the one in which former Vice President Walter Mondale was crushed in 1984.
A mild personality that does not stir up passion is fine – until there is a storm. Then, support melts away. Mondale discovered this when he promised to raise taxes. Biden will almost certainly have to endorse some radical positions to hold his party together if he becomes the nominee. Those will then define him, since his mildness will have failed to imprint a strong definition.
The more likely future is that Democrats will nominate a non-Biden candidate, who is dedicated to stirring up the left by adopting radical positions. In that case, he or she will resemble George McGovern, who was crushed when the country perceived he was too left-wing to be president.
Republicans trying to recapture the House of Representatives and working to increase the Senate GOP majority should study Bedard’s and Rattner’s analyses and start planning for an election in which they have a strong tailwind for the GOP ticket. The Democrats will either bore the country or scare it.