President Donald Trump remains a “slight favorite” for reelection even in the shadow of a potential impeachment, Eurasia Group said on Tuesday, bolstered by an ardent political base and a surprisingly robust economy.
In a newly published analysis of swing state poll data, the firm found Trump doing relatively well among voters in several bellwether states responsible for helping the president prevail over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. States such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio accounted for his Electoral College victory.
To be certain, the firm noted the president’s “high negatives, softer [economic] growth and a small negative impact from impeachment suggest this race will be a very close one—even if Democrats nominate a progressive candidate like Elizabeth Warren.”
However, the clutch of 9 to 13 states suggest Trump is “well positioned” for 2020, and give him a narrow edge despite job approval ratings that lag below 50%, and mounting political troubles dominating the headlines, Eurasia Group’s Todd Mariano found.
An economy that’s largely defied the gloomiest predictions associated with a full-blown trade war with China is largely responsible for Trump’s 2020 chances, Eurasia Group found.
As a result, Mariano’s analysis determined that Trump stands a better than 50% chance of winning 366 Electoral College votes — surpassing his 2016 tally of 306.
“An initial analysis reinforces our appraisal that Trump enters the 2020 presidential election as a slight favorite,” Mariano wrote. “According to this data set, Trump does not need net positive approval ratings to have a strong chance at remaining in the White House.”
He added that “the durability of his base, the strength of the economy, the benefits of incumbency, and persistent voter disenchantment had already led to the conclusion he had a slim advantage. These are buttressed by healthy approval numbers and economic data in the swing states.”
Eurasia’s analysis comes as a Real Clear Politics average shows Trump’s become more competitive in key swing states, even as the president still lags every challenger in the crowded Democratic field in a generic match-up.
Yet Trump prevailed in 2016, largely because most analysts were more focused on national polls instead of state-by-state readings of the electorate.
And it’s on that basis that Eurasia found that “swing state approval ratings that equal or outperform President Donald Trump’s national average, as well as healthy economic conditions in those states, are positioning the president to recreate his 2016 Electoral College coalition.”
It’s the economy, stupid
In fact, the strength of the economy is one of the ballasts behind Trump’s reelection chances, especially when combined with natural advantages of incumbency.
“The state of the economy is a critical variable for any incumbent seeking reelection, but even more so for Trump,” Eurasia’s Mariano found.
“Trump’s orthodox message on taxes and deregulation will help him attract traditional segments of the GOP that might otherwise support his opponent or abstain,” Mariano added.
“Based on the unemployment and growth numbers…Trump’s economic message will likely resonate in the swing states,” he said. “With the exception of Colorado, all have lower unemployment rates than at the start of Trump’s term and are near the national rate of 3.6%, even though Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan have lower growth rates now than in 2017.”