RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – As the battle for 2020 takes shape, poll numbers released Tuesday show that President Donald Trump should not put too much stock in the increased support voiced by Republican voters.
Diving into the state-level data released this morning by Morning Consult, Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director at the Virginia-based Wason Center for Public Policy noted that Trump’s favorability in the same states he narrowly won in 2016 are not looking good for the controversial incumbent.
“You will see why [so many] Democrats want to run for the nomination,” Bitecofer said in an email, pointing to the negative approval rating Trump faces in Michigan, Ohio and other states.
“This means [Trump] will be heading into re-election as the weakest incumbent I have ever seen run for re-election,” she said.
No Republican candidate has officially declared a run against Trump so far, and efforts within the party aim to keep it that way.
Shortly after Senator Mitt Romney published a New Year’s Day op-ed saying Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office,” the Washington Examiner obtained an email from the Republican National Committee where committeeman Jevon O.A. Williams expressed interest in “closing loopholes” that would allow a primary challenge against Trump.
“Unfortunately, loopholes in the rules governing the 2020 re-nomination campaign are enabling these so-called Republicans to flirt with the possibility of contested primaries and caucuses,” the document states. “Look, the political history is clear. No Republican president opposed for re-nomination has ever won re-election.”
Morning Consult found that the appetite for Trump among Republican voters has stayed high. Nationwide, 59 percent of likely GOP primary voters strongly or somewhat support Trump’s renomination, while early primary voters similar support levels are at 79 percent.
The poll, conducted over the last week and made up of over 28,000 online interviews, also offers insight into the Democratic primary.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to declare his run officially but leads among primary voters nationwide and primary voters in states that participate in the primary first. These numbers have changed little since earlier polling where Biden had an extra percentage point lead in early primary states.
Second place in the poll is Senator Bernie Sanders. Notably the two candidates are tied in favorability at 91 percent, though Biden leads in name recognition over Sanders 87 to 83.
Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, the third- and fourth-most popular candidates in both early primary and national polling, both have favorabilities in the 70s.
Wason’s Bitecofer emphasized in an email name recognition is going to lead to higher results at this stage.
“Almost all voters know who they are, and they are the only two candidates for whom this is the case,” she said. “If I’m a Democratic primary voter I am not going to be strongly favorable about a candidate I have never heard of.”
According to Real Clear Politics, Biden has led or ran neck-and-neck with Sanders in most early polling. There are still 16 months to go until the 2020 candidate is officially announced at the Democratic National Convention.
As many as two dozen candidates names have been used in polling, but the undeclared Biden continues to rise above the rest.
Over the weekend, Senator Chris Coons told “CBS This Morning” that Biden is “getting closer” to announcing.
“He’s someone who I am confident is going to run,” said Coons, who took over Biden’s Senate seat in Delaware when he President Barack Obama tapped Biden as vice president. Emphasizing his belief that the former VP best connects with “average Americans,” Coons called this a key attribute when it comes to winning rust-belt states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.