There’s plenty for Team Trump to like in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey, and as usual, there are some warning signs, too. Among other things, it shows the president emerging from impeachment in a stronger position, equaling his all-time high on job approval, including (slim) majority approval from independent voters:
Ties all time high in the survey
Trump approval hits 50 with independents https://t.co/xPmDYlA0DH
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) February 18, 2020
He’s also at +15 (53/38) on his handling of the economy, for good reason:
Yeah, Team Trump is gonna win this argument. pic.twitter.com/PmfcCjzkdA
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 19, 2020
This comes on the heels of a Gallup poll showing the president climbing to 49 percent overall approval, and far stronger on the economy. Remember, he won with just over 46 percent of the popular vote in 2016, which is almost precisely where his average approval rating sits now. He emerged victorious last time despite 61 percent of the electorate holding an unfavorable view of him. In hypothetical head-to-head battles, Trump trails all leading 2020 Democrats by relatively close margins — except for the otherwise faltering Joe Biden, who holds an eight-point lead. Among the swing states that will decide the election, it’s tight across the board (again, except for the former Vice President, who Democratic voters have shunted aside with humiliating losses thus far):
Hypothetical matchups for just the states of AZ, CO, FL, ME, MI, MN, NV, NH, NC, PA, WI (combined):
Biden 52%, Trump 44%
Sanders 49%, Trump 48%
Bloomberg 48%, Trump 46%
Klob 48%, Trump 47%
Buttigieg 47%, Trump, 47%
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 18, 2020
In the Democratic race specifically, it’s the Bernie show now. Our case that he’s the frontrunner is more or less irrefutable at this point. He leads the pack by double-digits (his advantage is even bigger in the new ABC/WaPo poll), with a messy four-way virtual tie for second place below him, featuring Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. And the conventional wisdom that the “moderate” lane needs to get decongested in order to stop Sanders ignores the reality (which YouGov picked up on a few days ago) that the Vermont Socialist is the second choice of many Democratic voters currently backing so-called moderates — and that he’s positioned to dominate several of them in potential one-on-one battles:
In NBC poll, Sanders leads the national preference question and, separately, he also leads the "2nd choice" question.
First/second choice combined:
— Taniel (@Taniel) February 18, 2020
Time for Dem establishment to hit the panic button –>
New NBC/WSJ poll of Democrats: If you had to choose between ONLY the following two candidates, who would you favor?
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) February 18, 2020
Why would the establishment “panic” about Bernie? Given the lack of a serious ‘Never Bernie’ movement, it seems they’re fine with his radicalism, his nearly $100 trillion agenda, his propaganda for the Soviets, and the cadre of anti-Semites in the ranks of his surrogates (including a revolting new addition). Plus, he’s been leading Trump head-to-head nationally for months. I think the fear is that once general election season rolls around, he’ll be a huge target for attacks, and that his hypothetical advantage will melt away as voters start to understand the breadth of his extremism.
Americans are overwhelmingly satisfied and optimistic in their lives right now. Sanders wants to uproot the while system with a revolution, including stripping 170 million people of their existing healthcare. I’m not saying he’s certain to lose as the Democratic nominee; the real chance that he could win is why I cannot bring myself to root for him as the “easily beatable” alternative. His potential presidency would be disastrous. But this matrix is not terribly encouraging about Bernie’s general election viability — especially when one considers that his “expand the electorate” theory of the case has not been producing promised results in the primary up to this point. Yikes:
Most unpopular qualities for a prez candidate in the new NBC/WSJ poll (combined reservations + very uncomfortable):
Heart attack in past year: 57%
Under 40: 40%
Feb 14-17, RVs, MOE +/- 3.3%
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 18, 2020
A certain someone hits the trifecta: A 75+ year old socialist who has suffered a heart attack within the past year. There will be a lot of voters who have ‘reservations,’ or are ‘very uncomfortable’ with Bernie Sanders, based on those factors alone. On the health issue, it sounds like Bernie is going to try to downplay and stonewall. I’m not sure this sort of answer is going to fly:
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had a heart attack last year, tells @andersoncooper that he doesn’t think he will release any more medical records than he already has. #cnntownhall https://t.co/DcVxz2JQLM pic.twitter.com/mObVIbJHFO
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 19, 2020
— Mark Finkelstein (@markfinkelstein) February 19, 2020
The country is too polarized for a 1972-style landslide in the current era, and some states are just rock solid for the Democrats, no matter who they nominate. But Bernie could pose some serious problems for the party, and some down-ballot members are saying so. But when does it become too late?
Democrats who don't want Bernie Sanders to build an insurmountable delegate lead have less than two weeks to change the trajectory of this race – otherwise it'll be too late.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) February 19, 2020
Author: Guy Benson