Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category


Latest UK and US polling not good for Johnson’s government and Trump

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

For the first time since lockdown Johnson’s government gets negative YouGov approval rating

And in the White House race Trump is struggling against Biden

Mike Smithson


PB Nighthawks Cafe on the evening Trump said that he’d been treated worse than Abraham Lincoln – who, of course, was assassinated

Monday, May 4th, 2020

We haven’t spent much time of late looking at some of the wacko things that Trump comes out with. The latest is an assertion that he has been treated worse than Abraham Lincoln. The obvious response is that Lincoln was murdered. What could be worse than that?

There’s little doubt that COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the WH2020 race with primaries cancelled or postponed and the Democrats having to put back their convention till August. The impact on the country has been enormous with getting on for 70k people losing their lives. It is hard to see Trump’s sometimes controversial handling as being anything other than the central issue.

Mike Smithson


How Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has become the central WH2020 issue

Friday, April 17th, 2020


With six and a half months to go till WH2020 Trump is still in negative approval territory

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Unlike in the UK where for less importance is attached to leader ratings the approval numbers for an incumbent US president are generally seen as a good indicator of how the next election is going to shape out.

YouGov, which is now very well established in the US, just put out its latest chart showing the trend since just after Trump became president in early 2017 till the present day. What can be seen is that he has had much wider approval gaps and although there has been a slight narrowing the fact remains that he is still has a double-digit deficit..

The current coronavirus epidemic continues to dominate the American news cycle and extraordinaryily Trump has a sought to brag about the size of the TV audiences for his recent daily briefings.

Following the decision by Bernie Sanders to formally quit the race everything is all set for 77 year old Joe Biden to take on 74 year-old incumbent in November.

The Democratic flag carrier is not without his own troubles with some recent revelations about what he is alleged to have done with a woman aide 27 years ago. What the truth is we don’t know but the New York Times has come under some fire for the way it has downplayed the story. This has the potential to explode again at any time.

In the betting Trump is rated on Betfair as a 50% chance with Biden at 40%.

Mike Smithson


In a State: Assessing WH2020

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Why Trump approval ratings are a better pointer than state polls

I do have some fairly strong views on the election. In particular, I would advise you to cast aside state polling on Biden vs Trump and look instead at Trump’s favourability on a state-by-state basis.

Why? Because US pollsters use very strict turnout filters. Didn’t vote in Election 2016… well, they largely assume that you won’t vote in 2020. This matters, especially as President Trump didn’t win 2016, Hillary lost it.

Let me explain. Mitt Romney. Nice chap. He once sat on the table next to me at a restaurant on the slopes in Deer Valley. Generally considered to be a weak candidate.

But here’s the thing. Mr Romney got a greater share of the US electorate to vote for him than President Trump. In 2012 there were 235,248,000 eligible voters in the US. Mr Romney got 25.9% of them. In 2016, there were 250,056,000 eligible voters and President Trump got 25.1% of them,

In some states, despite populations that had grown since 2012, President Trump got fewer votes than Mitt Romney.

Here’s one – Wisconsin.

Traditionally Democratic. Nice place. Big on cheese, I believe.

In 2012, Mitt got 1,407,966 votes there and lost by quite a large margin. Four years later, President Trump got 1,405,284 votes and won the state by a whisker. The issue for Ms Clinton is that she was a voter repellant. Democrats simply didn’t turn out for her.

In 2018, two years after President Trump scooped Wisconsin, there was a Senate race in the state. The Democrats, fools that they are, put up a lesbian candidate. As everyone on here knows, neither women nor homosexuals go down well in the rust belt, and she was roundly defeated.

Oh wait,

No she wasn’t. She won.

And she won with more votes than President Trump got in 2016. I want you to think about that for a second. A Senatorial candidate, in a midterms year, got more votes than the winning Presidential candidate got two years earlier. If anyone can find another example of that, I will send along a 20 pound Amazon voucher. I expect I’ll keep my money.

The point of this meandering is a simple one. In a whole bunch of states, it was not President Trump who brought massive numbers of Republicans to the ballot box, it was Ms Clinton who scared Democratic ones away.

Which brings us back to why you shouldn’t trust state opinion polls too much. A voter who chose Obama in 2008 and 2012, and who stayed home in 2016, doesn’t get counted. And there are a lot of voters like that in states like Wisconsin and Michigan.

To see who’s going to win, look instead at President Trump’s approval ratings. These are surveys of all voters, whether they trekked to the ballot box in 2016 or not. In Wisconsin, the President is on -10. That’s actually worse than the -9 he was registering on the eve of the Republicans getting smacked there in 2018.

The best place to see month-by-month, state-by-state approval ratings is Morning Consult: They show Trump in trouble in Michigan and Wisconsin (both -10), but holding on in Arizona (+1). Iowa looks dicey for the President (-5), while Minnesota and Virginia (both -5) are both sufficiently close that they might go from Democrat to Republican.

If anyone wants a wager, I would reckon that the approval numbers will prove significantly more predictive of individual state results than opinion polls – does anyone fancy being on the other side?

Robert Smithson


How Trump and his media acolytes got the coronavirus wrong

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Might be problematical in election year

The above compilation of clips, mostly from Fox News, shows how leading media supporters of the President and Trump himself were viewing the epidemic only a few weeks ago. Since then the US has become the nation most affected and Trump has changed his tune. His latest is blaming the World Health Organisation.

The initial stance from the White House was reflected in the polling. In mid-March Ipsos found that 63% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans said they considered the coronavirus to be a personal threat. Now the political split is getting much smaller as concern has increased across the board.

All this produces a massive challenge for Trump who turns 74 in a few week. It is hard to see the epidemic not being an issue when the nation votes in the first week of November.

Mike Smithson


Trump’s inadequate response to Covid-19 will doom his presidency

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

All the options are bad and Trump is running scared of them

In some ways the world is very fortunate. It may not feel like it at the moment, never mind in a few months or – if we’re lucky – weeks, but pandemics are an inevitable if rare occurrence of nature and the best we can do is ride out the storm with good judgement and timely action.

There is probably no other country on Earth that was as well-placed to respond to the new outbreak as China, where the first epidemic occurred. Nowhere else could have put and kept in place such stringent and wide-ranging containment measures, while also isolating so many sick people, and having or creating the capacity to treat them; all so quickly and so comprehensively. To have done so required awesome state power – physical, human, legal, financial, and (perhaps most importantly), administrative – combined with a public social culture willing to accept and abide by the restrictions.

The consequences of these actions are clear. Despite suffering over 80,000 infections and more than 3,000 deaths from Covid-19, China’s new daily infections are now running in only the dozens at most. The outbreak is all-but contained, for now.

To have implemented those same restrictions, so early, in a country where liberty, democracy and freedom of speech are the norm would probably have been far more difficult; maybe impossible. That Italy has been able to do so even now is remarkable – but even then, having been able to learn from the Chinese experience, Italy has already suffered over 1200 deaths from the disease and while the official number of cases is ‘only’ about 17,500, given what we know about fatality rates, the true figure, once undiagnosed cases are included, is probably several times that.

The worry must be that there are other outbreaks in other countries where tracking has not been so systemic and countermeasures less effective, which have the capability to unleash a wide-scale epidemic.

Which brings us to America. After spending weeks thinking that Covid-19 was a PR problem or, at worst, a stock market issue that required providing reassurance to investors, Trump seems finally to have grasped that there is a very serious human crisis occurring and that his administration is expected to respond to it – perhaps thanks to Dr Anthony Fauci’s testimony to Congress, testimony that the White House itself cut short although only after he had said that without aggressive containment, the US could face “many, many millions [of cases]”. That same evening, Trump instituted the ban on travel from the Schengen Area.

The US, however, is handicapped by more than a bad administration. Even if it wanted to implement the kind of lock-down that China and Italy did, it would find it very hard to. The dispersal of power between different levels of government, the existence of broad constitutionally-guaranteed rights, and limited access to, and scope of, health and welfare safety nets – all make people less likely to voluntarily comply.

That limits the policy choices, of which there are two main ones, in outline:
– The Chinese model: use severe social distancing to attempt to kill the virus by denying it transmissions;
– The British model (so far): attempt to kill or very much limit medium-term transmissions by building up immunity among low-risk groups, while also suppressing cases to prevent an excessive peak;

The problem with the Chinese model is that even if it’s successful, it comes with a grievous economic cost and still leaves the country vulnerable to a new epidemic of infections once the restrictions are lifted, unless the virus has died out across the globe. The problem with the British model is that it accepts up-front a very high number of cases which probably means a great many more deaths than elsewhere, at least in the short term (not that the government has been very up-front about this).

If you are a president hoping to be re-elected in November, neither of those look very palatable. Is there a third way? Trump no doubts hopes so but as his response has been marked throughout by a desire to believe his own words, the likelihood is more that the indecision will end up leaving him being dragged by events. The combination of travel restrictions and organic cancellations of large-scale gatherings (augmented in some places by state-level action), pushes the US more naturally towards the British model but in that case, the messaging that this is all not very much to be worried about is massively off the mark.

That lack of decisiveness and clear direction is something the public can smell, which is the one thing you can’t afford if you’ve sold your brand on being ‘strong’ – especially if they have a lot to blame you for in conventional terms.

That paralysis in reaction (other than where blame can be assigned to an Other), that failure to comprehend the scale of the challenge facing his country and the globe – and the consequences that will now follow both the pandemic and the policy response – will, I think, doom Trump.

November’s election is now no longer the kind of contest Trump revels in. For the first time, he is being tested as a national leader and is being found wanting. Biden is far from a perfect candidate for the Democrats and in normal times I would expect Trump to have beaten him but normal-times rules don’t apply any more. Trump is caught in a pincer between two bad options and doesn’t have the agility, imagination or bravery to escape.

David Herdson


Trump’s Republicans move drop below a 50% betting chance for WH2020

Friday, March 13th, 2020
Betfair market on

This looks as though it was driven Trump’s initial reaction to the coronavirus

There’s little doubt that Donald Trump is not having a good coronavirus crisis. His initial dismissal of this this being not much more than a commons cold hardly said a lot for his judgement in the early days.

He wasn’t helped by several of his right-wing backers declaring that that this had been got up by the Democrats to wound Trump ahead of November’s election.

After a period in which Trump’s approval ratings seemed to be getting better the last few weeks have seen a reversal according to the RCP Average. There’s a historical correlation between US approval ratings and electoral success.

Another factor that has harmed him has been his decision to try to control the government information that is issued on the scale of what is happening gives the impression that he’s more concerned about his own position than the nation as a whole.

On the other WH2020 who will win in November market Trump has dropped from a 61% betting chance to a 47% one.

Mike Smithson