Teflon Don? Not So Much

Ken AshfordElection 2018, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Politico, this morning:

Teflon Don confounds Democrats

Democrats tried attacking Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency. They’ve made the case that he’s ineffective, pointing to his failure to sign a single major piece of legislation into law after eight months in the job. They’ve argued that Trump is using the presidency to enrich himself, and that his campaign was in cahoots with Russia.

None of it is working.

Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election. It suggests that Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming.


In focus groups, most participants say they’re still impressed with Trump’s business background and tend to give him credit for the improving economy. The window is closing, but they’re still inclined to give him a chance to succeed.

More than that, no single Democratic attack on the president is sticking — not on his temperament, his lack of accomplishments or the deals he’s touted that have turned out to be less than advertised, like the president’s claim that he would keep Carrier from shutting down its Indianapolis plant and moving production to Mexico.

Voters are also generally unimpressed by claims that Trump exaggerates or lies, and they don’t see the ongoing Russia investigation adding up to much.

Well, these are the same pollsters who told us Trump would lose in the first place. Maybe they are overcompensating?

If you read further into the article, it almost seems to contradict itself:

“The question has to be what counts as working — the guy’s approval ratings are in the mid-30s,” Burton said of Trump. “So the other way of looking at this is, everything is working.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess.

Throughout the country, there have been 35 special elections in statewide races since Trump was elected.  In twenty-nine of them, the incumbent party (whether D or R) held the seat.  In the six that flipped, they ALL flipped from Republican to Democrat (three in OK, two in NH, and one in NY).  Two of these elections were yesterday.

More importantly, in almost all the special elections, the Democrat fared better — an average of 13% better — that Clinton did over Trump — even when they lost.  And 9% better on average than Obama over Romney in 2012.

Here’s the data (you might want to enlarge it):

That’s not a focus group.  That’s real data from real elections.

So yeah. Maybe Trump still is president. But he’s not helping Republicans.