Daily Outlook

A triple whammy of crises tests Trump’s support ahead of November’s election

Battered by crisis after crisis, President Donald Trump appears to be in political peril as never before. Since taking office in 2017, Trump has weathered storm after storm, always emerging with a fighting chance at being re-elected. After he survived an impeachment trial that saw him acquitted by the Republican-led Senate on Feb. 5, things looked up.

Now Trump’s Teflon shield is being put to an acid test as he faces a triple whammy – the biggest public health crisis in a century, the worst economic downturn in generations and the largest civil unrest since the 1960s.

This week, Trump’s calls for a crackdown here on nationwide protests over police brutality have drawn rebukes from civil rights advocates, religious leaders, opposition Democrats and some fellow Republicans.

Even former Republican president George W Bush felt the need to issue a statement that the protesters be heard here

Perhaps of more concern to Trump and his re-election campaign, however, is that almost every opinion poll points to clear signs of erosion of his electoral support since the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has taken almost 109,000 American lives since February and led to 40 million jobless claims.

At the same time, his Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Joe Biden, has re-emerged in public from a coronavirus lockdown, with a message of unity and civic healing here that stands in marked contrast to Trump’s talk of “thugs” and “lowlifes” and “law and order.”

So far, Trump’s aggressive tone does not seem to be matching the moment. An opinion poll by Reuters/Ipsos this week showed that a bipartisan majority of Americans, including twice as many independents, sympathize with protesters and disapprove of Trump’s bellicose response.

More than 55% of Americans said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of the protests, including 40% who “strongly” disapproved, while just one-third said they approved – lower than his overall job approval of 39%, the poll showed.

A separate Reuters poll this week showed Biden’s lead over Trump among registered voters expanded to 10 percentage points – the biggest margin since the former vice president became his party’s presumptive nominee in early April.

A triple whammy of crises tests Trump’s support ahead of November’s election, Reuters, Jun 4

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