Fox News Analyst: Trump’s Base Is Deserting Right Before Election Day
Fox News polling analyst Arnon Mishkin wrote in a Sunday op-ed that President Donald Trump appears to have lost important ground in states where his base should be strong enough to make him “invincible” on Election Day — and that could spell trouble for his reelection chances.
- “There’s an old adage in polling: ‘The incumbent gets what the incumbent is getting,’” Mishkin wrote. “It means that when analyzing polls, don’t look at the difference between the two candidates — just look at the incumbent’s number. That’s essentially where voters will land on Election Day.”
The adage is based on the belief that voters have formed a fairly solid opinion about the incumbent, who is typically the better-known candidate. As for folks who say they’re undecided, they’ve usually decided that they’re not supporting the incumbent. But they haven’t thought enough yet to make a final decision. Once they do, they most likely wind up choosing the challenger.
- This year’s election fits just the right circumstances for this adage to play out as expected, Mishkin observed: “It tends to work best when the incumbent is particularly well known, commands outsized media and public attention — and the challenger is basically an inoffensive, plain vanilla version of the party out of power.”
- Given this dynamic, it seems Trump is in trouble not only nationally but also in key states generally considered “safe Republican,” the analyst noted, writing: “On Election Day 2016, Trump got over 55% of the vote in 18 states. Currently, polls show him getting over 55% in only five of the 18.”
- Out of Trump’s ten best states in 2016 — West Virginia, Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, South Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Idaho — Idaho is the only state in which the president has not lost ground. In the rest, he has fallen behind his 2016 numbers by 5-10.5 percent.
These are states where Trump should be invincible — where his base should be dominant. But for one reason or another, his base is either feeling less warm about him than expected or he’s lost more moderate voters that he’ll need to win back if he’s to make a respectable showing by Election Day.
To be reelected, the president needs to continue to try to boost the turnout from his base. That means focusing on his core populist messages of immigration and support for economic growth that made him the surprise winner of the 2016 presidential election.
But Trump needs to do this while not alienating the group of center-right more moderate voters that I believe put him over the top in 2016.