- President Donald Trump won the electoral college by a landslide in 2016 but lost the popular vote handily to Hillary Clinton
- Trump faces long odds of winning the popular vote in 2020 given his current approval ratings
- One way Trump can win the popular vote is if Bernie Sanders and his left-leaning policies push moderate voters away
As the United States Senate hears the impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, most people aren’t expecting much to come of it. Instead, the real judge and jury for Trump will be the voters come November 2020. Sportsbooks have posted odds on if he’ll win the popular vote and as of right now, it looks like him winning in that regard is quite the long shot.
Odds To Win Popular Vote In 2020 United States Presidential Election
|Field (Any Other Candidate)||-200|
Odds taken Jan. 24.
Who’ll Be the Democratic Nominee?
Of course, one of the biggest keys to this prop is knowing who Trump will be going up against. As of right now, the Democratic Party is still trying to determine who their candidate will be. The Democratic nominee odds show that Joe Biden is still the frontrunner but Bernie Sanders has closed the gap on him.
The most recent polling we have on head-to-head matchups shows that Trump will have a tough time with the Electoral College – let alone the popular vote – with a number of the candidates. Trump is neck-in-neck with Biden at a 50/50 split and the same goes if he’d theoretically face Elizabeth Warren.
— Emerson College Polling (@EmersonPolling) January 24, 2020
However, the Emerson College Poll showed that Sanders would edge Trump 51-49 if the two were going head-to-head in November. Of course, keep in mind that this is theoretical and traditionally, we’ve seen that Trump supporters are under-represented in polls (because they don’t want people to know they support him).
At any rate, if the country is divided as the polls show, Trump will have a really tough time winning the popular vote.
Trump Likely to Win Election But Popular Vote Will be Tough
As the 2020 presidential election odds show, Trump is likely to win as of right now but winning the popular vote would be a stretch. That’s because the electoral college typically sets up better for Republicans. As we saw in 2016, Trump won the electoral college by a landslide but lost the popular vote by a wide margin.
The key to this is which state are the votes coming from? Remember that the United States is becoming a country where the population is more heavily concentrated in major cities, which tend to lean strongly towards Democrats. That includes cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
Dan Abrams: "The problem that Joe Biden was trying to address was the fact that the corrupt prosecutor was not investigating Burisma, where Hunter Biden was on the board—not that he was protecting Burisma."https://t.co/4L1ItVyPX1 pic.twitter.com/XxWbnAWvlu
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 24, 2020
However, Republicans tend to get their votes in low-density, rural areas. Trump may have smoked Hillary Clinton in terms of the amount of counties won in 2016 but the reality is that many of those counties are less populated.
Consider that California, which has a population of 39.56 million and New York state, which has a population of 19.54 million, is mostly going to back whichever democratic candidate wins. Sure, Trump will probably win Wyoming, North Dakota and West Virginia easily but those states have a combined population of 3.1 million in total.
Incredibly, here we are with 10 days to go until Iowa and the media has once again completely missed the story of this primary. They always thought @JoeBiden support would crumble and of course consistently smeared and underestimated @BernieSanders. Full: https://t.co/zfd3g7Ks3w pic.twitter.com/gYNxrerH3U
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) January 24, 2020
Given that Trump’s disapproval numbers are right around 50% right now, it’s tough to see him winning the popular vote.
Could Sanders Turn Off Voters?
About the only way I see Trump winning the popular vote is if Sanders wins the Democratic Party nominee and his far-left policies turn away the moderates. That’s a distinct possibility as there are many more independents and moderates in the Democratic Party than social media and the regular media would have you believe.
If the majority of Democrats are against universal healthcare (and wiping out private care), free education and higher taxes, it could turn them off to the point where they don’t vote for Sanders, don’t vote at all or vote for Trump. Remember, Trump turned a lot of Barrack Obama voters in 2016 to his side.
The map on Trump's desk Thursday had his popular-vote loss at 1.1 million; he actually lost by 2.8 million.
It had him winning 2,680 counties; he actually won 2,626.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) January 17, 2020
The other factor is that if the economy is strong, someone like Sanders would present a lot of change to that. Typically, if the economy is strong, the incumbent wins as the voters don’t want to ruffle any economic feathers. Sanders will be offering a sizeable change to the country, which concern some voters.
What’s the Best Bet?
At this point, I wouldn’t mind taking a shot at the +170 for the popular vote. For the most part, Trump can only go up from here as he’s being dragged by impeachment and various other controversies. If Sanders wins the nomination and is forced to stand side-by-side against Trump, the binary decision could push voters in Trump’s favor.
“I think I'll probably vote for Bernie… He’s been insanely consistent his entire life. He’s basically been saying the same thing, been for the same thing his whole life. And that in and of itself is a very powerful structure to operate from.” -Joe Rogan pic.twitter.com/fuQP0KwGGI
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 23, 2020
The economy has to remain strong and the nominee has to be either Sanders or Warren, but if either win it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump got the popular vote. It’s definitely a stretch but I’m not sure that moderates in the Democratic party are really up for a Sanders presidency, which would bring a lot of change.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.