President Donald Trump loves to tout polls from his favorite pollster Rasmussen. In fact, as recently as mid-September, Trump posted a tweet praising the polling company as “one of the most accurate in 2016.”
But you won’t see Trump tweeting about Rasmussen’s latest general election poll of 2,500 likely voters, which it conducted between September 30 and October 6 — after the first presidential debate and during Trump’s treatment for Covid-19. That’s because the normally Trump-friendly pollster has Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading him by a robust margin of 12 percentage points (52 to 40 percent).
Although it’s folly to read too much into any single poll, Trump’s Rasmussen collapse illustrates how his reelection prospects have gone from bad to worse following a belligerent — and at times incoherent — debate performance and continuing through his hospitalization for the coronavirus, which he likely contracted while holding reckless campaign and White House events. The Hill has details:
The past three Rasmussen polls have found Biden stretch his lead from 1 point to 8 points to 12 points over the course of a period that included the first presidential debate, Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and the president falling ill with the coronavirus.
In that time, Trump’s job approval rating has fallen from 53 percent to 44 percent.
It’s not just Rasmussen. A CNN poll of 1,001 likely voters released on Tuesday found Biden leading Trump by 16 percentage points, with a whopping 57 percent of people saying they’ll vote for Biden.
A CNN poll conducted before and during Trump's coronavirus hospitalization has Biden up by 16 points -- with the support of a whopping 57 percent of likely voters pic.twitter.com/Uqrqj46Wsf— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 6, 2020
Still, it’s remarkable to see such bad news for Trump from Rasmussen, which has routinely been a source of comfort for the president when other, more reputable pollsters have shown his fortunes waning.
Despite the Phony Witch Hunt, we will continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Thank you!! pic.twitter.com/MXuiolM745— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2019
Despite what Trump would have you believe, Rasmussen is known to skew to the right and is not held in high esteem in the polling community. As CNN detailed in December 2018, Rasmussen was the most inaccurate pollster out of any that released generic congressional ballot polls in the runup to that November’s midterm elections:
Rasmussen’s final poll was the least accurate of any of the 32 polls. They had the Republicans ahead nationally by one point. Democrats are currently winning the national House vote by 8.6 points. That’s an error of nearly 10 points.
As mentioned earlier, Trump loves to mention that Rasmussen’s final 2016 poll was relatively accurate. That’s true — Rasmussen’s final poll had Hillary Clinton besting Trump in the popular vote by 2 percentage points (45 to 43 percent), a spread quite close to her ultimate popular-vote advantage of 48 percent to 46 percent. What he doesn’t say is that while Rasmussen’s final poll may have been the closest to accurate, it wasn’t really an outlier: Most reputable pollsters pegged the spread between Trump and Clinton at a relatively narrow margin of 4 percentage points (or less) heading into Election Day.
The race doesn’t currently appear to be anywhere near as close this time around. Both RealClearPolitics’ and FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages on Wednesday had Biden not only leading by 9.4 percent nationally but also basically running the table in swing states:
Our current polling averages in the most likely tipping-point states:— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 7, 2020
National: Biden +9.4
PA: Biden +6.9
FL: Biden +4.5
WI: Biden +6.9
MI: Biden +7.7
AZ: Biden +4.6
NC: Biden +2.3
MN: Biden +9.5
NV: Biden +6.6
OH: Biden +0.7
GA: Biden +1.0https://t.co/cy51vc5isJ
If Biden ends up winning the popular vote by a margin anywhere close to 9 points, it’ll be almost impossible for Trump to prevail in the Electoral College.
With less than four weeks left until Election Day, time is running out on Trump, and voter sentiment seems to be trending more toward landslide than it is nail-biter. And it’s not just CNN or even Fox News saying this: With the latest Rasmussen results, the president has seemingly run out of pollsters he can turn to for an ego boost.