President Trump faces a major hurdle with swing state voters

The election chances of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE now sit in a much more perilous position than ever. With more than 26 million Americans unemployed and an entire decade of job gains wiped due to the coronavirus pandemic, he continuously fails to provide the effective leadership and direction which the public is so desperately seeking during this historic national crisis.

Trump has created plenty of confusion and chaos over who has power to reopen states, initially claiming his “total authority” then walking back and conceding that it was in fact the responsibility of the governors. Moreover, Trump has also spread false information about the effectiveness of certain drugs at treating the coronavirus, even insinuating that humans injecting disinfectants could perhaps be an effective way to combat the disease.

While Trump commands attention as the face of the federal response to the coronavirus, attempting to cast himself as a “wartime president” and leaving Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination The Memo: Job numbers boost Trump and challenge Biden Chris Wallace: Jobs numbers show 'the political resilience of Donald Trump' MORE to seek some spotlight from his home in Delaware, his erratic behavior and uneven handling of the pandemic is taking a toll on his polling numbers in key swing states that are critical for his election.


In Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016 and where the coronavirus wields a tragic and deadly toll, Trump trails Biden by 8 points, according to two statewide polls. According to a Fox News poll last week, Biden also leads Trump 49 percent to 41 percent. An Ipsos poll this month also shows that Biden holds a similar advantage of 46 percent to 38 percent. In Wisconsin, another critical battleground state Trump narrowly won in 2016, the Ipsos poll shows Biden slightly leads the president 43 percent to 40 percent.

In Pennsylvania, a state Trump also won in 2016 and will be important this fall, the Ipsos poll shows Biden leads 46 percent to 40 percent. According to the Fox News poll, Biden also leads Trump 50 percent to 42 percent. In Florida, a critical battleground state with some notable Republican gains in recent years, Biden leads 46 percent to 42 percent, a new Quinnipiac University poll found last week. Further, a Fox News poll conducted last week shows Biden also leads the president 46 percent to 43 percent.

While swing state polling is indicative of the prospects of Trump, national polling reveals that his federal response has taken a toll on his chances in the election in November. A Wall Street Journal poll shows Biden leads the president 49 percent to 42 percent. A Harvard Harris poll shows him with a similar advantage and leads Trump 53 percent to 47 percent nationally.

The Wall Street Journal poll reveals that voters thought Biden would do a better job than Trump in managing the crisis by a margin of 9 points. The initial polling bump that Trump had in managing the crisis has dissolved. Trump, getting a record 48 percent approval rating last month, has seen his numbers drop while he trails Biden nationwide and in swing states.

The weakened position and erratic messaging of Trump could also hurt Republicans in down ballot races. In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly leads incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally by 9 points at 51 percent to 42 percent, according to a Predictive Insights poll. To be sure, Trump also trails Biden 52 percent to 43 percent in the swing state of Arizona.

While we are still six months away from the election, these numbers are a worrying sign for both Trump and Republicans. If he continuously fails to exhibit better leadership and proves unable to communicate a reassuring message, the president needs to prepare for a sizable loss in November.

Douglas Schoen is a consultant who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton and to the campaign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His latest book is “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership.”