The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces hurdles to reelection despite approval rating bump

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.

LEADING THE DAY: Trump faces hurdles to reelection despite approval rating bump


Two national polls released Monday underscore the tough path ahead for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE as the nation deals with dueling health and financial crises.

The president has received a clear bump in his job approval rating since the coronavirus outbreak, although that has receded in some polls taken in recent weeks.

The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll finds Trump’s job approval rating at its all-time high of 49 percent, matching his previous best showing from March 2017.

The president gets high marks on the economy — and a majority of voters, 51 percent, say they approve of his handling of the pandemic.

However, Trump trails Biden in the same poll by 8 points nationally. The former vice president holds a 54 percent to 46 percent advantage in a head-to-head matchup against Trump.

Biden’s approval rating is the same as Trump’s, at 49 percent. But voters view Biden as more empathetic, and 55 percent said they believe he’d do a better job handling the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, pessimism over the economic outlook is spiking amid an unprecedented nationwide shutdown, robbing Trump of one of his strongest arguments for reelection.


While a majority of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy and a slim majority view him as better than Biden when it comes to creating jobs, there has been a sharp 20 point drop in those who describe the economy as being on the right track.

A plurality of voters say they’ve been harmed financially by the coronavirus, and a strong majority believe the economy is headed for recession.

Elsewhere, the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found Biden ahead 49 percent to 42 percent nationally. When the race is narrowed to the 11 battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election, Biden’s advantage holds steady, at 49 percent to 43 percent.

The former vice president is boosted in the poll by near-unanimous support from black voters. He leads Trump by 34 points among Latinos and holds strong double-digit advantages among women, young voters and white people with a college education.

Trump leads among white voters overall, though by a smaller margin than he had over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE in 2016.

One warning sign for the former vice president in the poll: Young voters who support him by 25 points over Trump also have a negative opinion of Biden. It appears that addressing the yawning enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden should be a top concern for Democrats heading into the fall. — Jonathan Easley


Coronavirus steals Trump economic edge, by Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester.

Progressives look for concessions from Biden with running mate, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports.

Senate battle hinges on four races, by Max Greenwood.

How the GOP aims to overcome steep odds in battle for the House, by Julia Manchester and Juliegrace Brufke.


Biden was declared the winner of Wyoming’s mail-in presidential caucuses on Sunday, with 72.2 percent of the vote, The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), who ended his campaign earlier this month, received 27.8 percent of the vote, the Wyoming Democrat Party said.

Progressives are hoping to use Biden’s choice of running mate to extract key policy concessions from the former vice president, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. More from Tal: Several advocacy groups told The Hill that tapping a progressive to share the ticket would go a long way in signaling to the party’s left flank that he takes them – and their policies – seriously.


Albert Hunt: What Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE vice president choices bring to the table

Jessica Tarlov: Does Democratic unity translate into votes?

Dan Balz: Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next? 

David Catron: Democrats ignore lockdown protests at their peril.

Bernie Sanders: The foundations of American society are failing us.




The battle for the Senate majority is tightening amid the coronavirus outbreak, as Trump’s handling of the crisis and potential recession lead to uncertainty over the balance of power in the upper chamber. Some Senate Democratic candidates are out-raising vulnerable Republican incumbents in states where Trump’s approval rating has taken a hit, Alexander Bolton reports.

Michigan residents prefer how Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has handled the coronavirus outbreak over Trump’s response to the pandemic, according to a statewide poll released Monday. Justine Coleman reports.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has turned his fundraising efforts to reelecting progressive members of Congress, known collectively as “The Squad.” John Bowden reports.





BIDEN: 54 percent

TRUMP: 46 percent



SANDERS: 20 percent

OTHER: 14 percent

WARREN: 13 percent

CUOMO: 11 percent

HARRIS: 10 percent

KLOBUCHAR: 10 percent



The Republican National Committee announced it raked in a record $24 billion in the month of March. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports the haul was driven by small dollar donors. Seventy-three percent of the donations were $200 or less. For context, 46 percent of March 2016’s donations originated from small dollar donors. March’s haul is roughly $2 million less than the party raised in February, when it reported raising $26 million. In January, the RNC had raised nearly $27.2 million.

Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC supporting Biden said it has reserved $65 million in airtime across six battleground states. The group said it made reservations of $17 million in Michigan, $13 million in Pennsylvania, $13 million in Florida, $10.4 million in Wisconsin, $6.5 million in Arizona and $4.8 million in North Carolina, Jonathan Easley reports.

The political arm for the network of groups led by Charles Koch is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising and lobbying campaign to promote changes to the health care system aimed at providing additional flexibility for health care workers and patients. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) plans to spend millions of dollars on television and digital advertising, lobbying efforts and engaging its 2.2 million activists to promote the changes, believing the health care industry’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has exposed deficiencies within the system. Jonathan reports.



(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 28:



May 2:

Kansas Democratic primary


May 12:

Nebraska primaries


May 19:

Oregon primaries


May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary


June 2:

Connecticut primaries

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries


June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries


June 20:

Louisiana primaries


June 23:

Kentucky primaries

New York primaries


July 7:

New Jersey primaries


August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention


August 24-27:

Republican National Convention



One fun thing

FORMER CHICAGO RESIDENT: Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE goes by a number of labels, like dad, husband and former president, just to name a few.

However, the internet went wild when producers of the new Michael Jordan docuseries, “The Last Dance,” labeled Obama as a “former Chicago resident.” 

Very relatable.

Even the Chicago Bulls weighed in. 

The documentary’s director Jason Hehir told The Athletic that Obama’s description in the film was intentional. 

“Barack Obama is not the kind of guy that I can find his number and text him. Michael had a connection. But I was pretty adamant that we don’t have people in here who don’t have an organic connection to the story,” Hehir said. “I think the temptation is because Michael was super famous, let’s get as many super famous people in here as possible.”

For more good news, be sure to check out The Hill’s Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more campaign news of the day. 

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