New polling indicates that 1 in 8 of President Donald Trump’s voters are unsure of whether they would cast a ballot for him again after seeing his first six months in office. If the trend continues or deepens, it could spell trouble for the president’s re-election prospects in 2020.
On July 20, a Reuters/Ipsos poll of registered voters who cast a ballot during the 2016 election found that 88 percent of self-identified Trump voters would vote for the president again. The remaining 12 percent were not so certain.
Of those wavering Trump voters, 1 percent said they would not vote if the 2016 election was held again that day. Seven percent said they did not know if they would cast a ballot for Trump again while 4 percent said they would have voted for a different candidate.
Overall, the survey found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s edge in the 2016 popular vote would go up by 1 percent if the election were held in July 2017, although it was not clear if this would have helped her overcome Trump’s electoral college victory.
On July 12, a similar survey conducted by Yahoo Finance found that 11.1 percent of self-identified Trump voters would not vote for the president again. The polling group interviewed the respondents to gain anecdotal insight into why they would change their minds six months into the Trump administration.
“If I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have voted for him, because I think he’s a quack,” 61-year-old Tom Dawe of Ohio told Yahoo Finance. “His talk about how everybody was going to prosper — I fell for it.”
“I expected competence,” said 74-year-old Fred Wedel of California. “The only thing I’ve seen is gross incompetence … I am so disappointed in the arrogance he’s running the office with. What I’ve seen so far is incompetence and I’m sorry I voted for him.”
“He’s an embarrassment,” said 67-year-old Cynthia Shearer of Pennsylvania, who felt betrayed when Trump appointed several Wall Street bankers to his Cabinet. “I don’t know how else to say it … He’s an arrogant person and will never change. To tell you the truth, sometimes I wish I ended up voting for [Clinton].”
If roughly 10 percent of voters who supported Trump in 2016 break from by 2020, it could make the president’s prospects for re-election an uphill climb. Trump’s electoral college victory in 2016 was largely achieved because he prevailed over Clinton by less than 1 percentage point of the vote in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to The Cook Political Report.
Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution noted that Trump could afford to lose 1 out of 8 of his voters as long as his support in those swing states did not diminish.