Trump attacks on mail-in-voting hurting his own reelection chances

Ironically, Trump’s attacks on mail-in-voting are hurting his own reelection chances. Here’s how.

Trump sitting at his desk in the Oval Office

Flickr / The White House

If he likes living at his current address, Donald Trump should be very worried.

The President’s handling of the pandemic is a source of frustration with voters—and his stance against mail-in-voting is hurting his own reelection chances, experts say.

What do the numbers say?

No matter which way you slice it, the coronavirus poll numbers show Trump has lagging approval ratings. The President has been pushing for weeks to get the economy back up and running, but his wishes are in direct opposition to the wishes of  83% of Americans who are worrying that relaxing restrictions will cause a jump in infections.

On top of those worries, voters also disapprove of the job the President, himself, has been doing. An ABC News/Ispos poll dropped to the lowest approval rating since it began tracking Trump’s coronavirus poll numbers: 39%. Fox News was also showing a dip with those approving Trump’s pandemic handling at 44%. With 1.5 million coronavirus cases in the country and more than 95,000 deaths, it is easy to see why his numbers are slipping.

NBC News says Trump is now the “underdog” in the 2020 presidential race,

“What is clear is that Trump is trailing Biden right now by a larger margin than he trailed Hillary Clinton in 2016; that his approval rating is worse than the last Dem and GOP presidents to win re-election; and that Americans have increasingly soured on his handling of the coronavirus.”

MAGA country takes a hit

There is definitely a partisan divide in how worried Americans are about the coronavirus pandemic. 70% of Democrats think it is a “major problem,” but a majority of Republicans don’t.

But the coronavirus doesn’t care whether you vote red or blue, and it has begun to creep into suburban and rural areas — areas that voted for Trump in 2016. The spread of the disease combined with the lackadaisical attitudes of Trump voters is a recipe for disaster. This is especially true because, as Axios points out, “Republicans are more willing than Democrats or independents to partake in activities that involve interacting with other people.”

As the infections in MAGA country start ticking up, Trump may see his coronavirus poll numbers plummet even further.

Shooting himself in the foot

While the slipping approval ratings are worrisome enough for the Trump admin, his stance on mail-in-voting is also contributing to his demise. Not only are his arguments against it unfounded and untrue, but it is also a “bad message.

The realities of the pandemic may mean that the typical election day is a no-go. Voters may have to rely on mail-in ballots to have their voices heard. Trump’s continuous undermining of the process could backfire for himself and down-ticket Republicans.

A University of California election-law professor, Rick Hasen, explains:

“Why would Trump voters jump through extra hoops to vote by mail if they believe, as the president is telling them, that the system is rife with fraud? The voters Trump is hurting is his own.”

Mail-in-ballots actually helped him win the last election. Several states that went for Trump in 2016 had a substantial amount of mail-in ballots. In Arizona and Utah, 68% of ballots were mailed. Montana’s results included 58% of votes cast by mail. Florida, Iowa, and Michigan had a quarter of votes counted delivered by the post office as well.

As his pandemic poll numbers keep dropping, Trump may want to quit demonizing mail-in-voting — unless he is ready for a change of address.

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