This article appeared online at on Sunday, May 3, 2020:

As President Trump notches a 50-percent approval rating in his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, Gallup reported on Thursday that “most of the variation in Trump’s recent job approval rating is among independents. In [our] current poll, 47% of independents approve of the job he is doing as president, the highest Gallup has measured for [that] group to date.”

In January, just 37 percent of independents approved of the overall job he was doing. In early April, that number had moved to 38 percent. By the end of April, nearly half of them gave Trump their thumbs up.

The latest survey also reported that his 49-percent overall job performance approval rating was the highest since his inauguration, a jump of six percentage points in just the last two weeks.

This is now forming the basis for his reelection campaign strategy. With the third quarter’s GDP numbers coming in just days before the November election, his campaign is simple. Last week President Trump said, “We built the greatest economy anywhere in the world. And we’re going to build it again. We’re going to build it fast.”

With the worst of the COVID-19 numbers apparently behind him, the president is now working to reopen the economy. And his success in doing so will be the foundational strategy for beating the likely (but not assured) contender, Joe Biden.

Said veteran strategist Curt Anderson,

When everything is fine, and the economy is humming along, voters tend to focus on other issues. But right now, it feels like the economy will be front and center this November.


Every human knows that this economic mess was caused by events far beyond the control of the president. If the country needs jobs, they will know that President Trump is up to that challenge, and it’s hard to imagine that wants any part of that campaign.


A campaign about the economy is a good campaign for President Trump and a bad campaign for Vice President Biden.

Henry Olsen of the think tank Ethics and Public Policy Center said, “I think [Trump] gets some credit for [the previously strong economy] and will get more if the economy bounces back quickly. It doesn’t have to be all the way back by November but if things are rapidly improving, he will get credit for managing the economic aspect of the pandemic well.”

Oddsmakers know that independents make up nearly 40 percent of the U.S. electorate, which may explain why, on every betting site where the November election is open for bidding, Trump beats Biden handily by nearly double digits.

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