Trump loses support after debate and his COVID-19 diagnosis

One of the main reasons Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election is that voters who disapproved of both Trump and his rival, Hillary Clinton, broke for Trump by about 18 percentage points.

“In the abstract, it’s something of a statistical quirk,” the Washington Post’s Philip Bump recently explained. “In practice, though, it might have given Trump the White House.”

In contrast, Trump’s party lost control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections due mainly to large numbers of voters who had cast ballots for Trump just two years earlier but switched sides and voted for Democrats — particularly college-educated white women.

Now, in a troubling sign for Trump’s 2020 chances, all three groups — voters who disapprove of both candidates; voters who cast ballots for different parties in 2016 and 2018; and college-educated white women — are moving in Joe Biden’s direction.

By partnering with YouGov to track the views of 13 key demographic groups (including suburban voters, Latino voters and white seniors) across nine important metrics (including vote intention, Trump approval and direction of the country), Yahoo News has identified a significant shift away from Trump over the last week — a period in which the president delivered a poorly received debate performance and was hospitalized with COVID-19.

Consider the following chart, which compares the results of the Sept. 25 Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 2,566 registered voters with the results of the Oct. 5 Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 3,970 U.S. registered voters:


Trump’s hectoring debate performance and careless handling of the growing COVID-19 cluster in and around his White House may have turned these voters off.

Among 2016-2018 swing voters, the president’s unfavorable rating has increased from 50 percent to 56 percent; among college-educated white women, it has climbed from 58 percent to 63 percent. Meanwhile, a full 57 percent of voters who dislike both candidates now say they disapprove of Trump’s handling of COVID-19 — up nearly 10 points since late September.


  • 2016 all over again. Biden leading in mainstream liberal polls but not get support of the silent majority.

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