Trump’s approval rating is down significantly from 49% in March, while his disapproval rating is up 9 points from 45%.
Looking at the data, Trump seems to have had one of the fastest retreats of a rally around the flag effect in modern polling history.
But even if Trump failed to reach the levels of any of his predecessors, you might have thought the bump would stick around for a while. Even the shortest of bumps (like Bush got after Saddam Hussein was captured) had residual effects for a few months. My study of rally around the flag events since World War II found that the median one still has some effect for more than 200 days after the event occurs.
We’re only about 40 days after Trump started to see his polling climb. Unbelievably, this is usually when rally around the flag effects hit their peak, not when they are almost entirely extinguished.
Now, a lot has changed since many of these rally around the flag events took place. We’re in a 24/7 news environment. Still, there’s plenty of reason to think that Trump’s limited bounce in terms of height and time is an underperformance.
In terms of his reelection prospects, it should be worrying to the President that even with a black swan pandemic occurring, he couldn’t get his net approval rating above 0 points. It’s going to be difficult to win the election if his net approval rating is -8 points among voters on election day.