It's been a terrible few weeks for President Donald Trump.
His average approval rating is nearing the 30s, poll after poll shows him behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by double digits, and even Fox News shows him narrowly trailing Biden in solid red states. Trump's Republican allies are reportedly concerned about his reelection chances and Trump has yet to meet the urgency of the moment.
According to at least one expert, however, none of that matters.
Political science professor Helmut Norpoth—who correctly predicted Trump's 2016 upset victory—says Trump has a 91 percent chance of winning reelection in 2020, according to his "Primary Model," which he claims has correctly called five of the six elections since 1996.
The Primary Model gives President Trump a 91% chance of winning a possible match-up with Democrat Joe Biden in November, based on primary performance in New Hampshire and South Carolina, plus the first-term electoral benefit. Trump would get 362 electoral votes, Biden 176.
Norpoth's model uses primary wins coupled with the early enthusiasm generated by candidates to predict how those trends will hold on the crucial day voters head to the ballot box.
"The terrain of presidential contests is littered with nominees who saw a poll lead in the spring turn to dust in the fall. The list is long and discouraging for early frontrunners. Beginning with Thomas Dewey in 1948, it spans such notables as Richard Nixon in 1960, Jimmy Carter in 1980, Michael Dukakis in 1988, George H.W. Bush in 1992, and John Kerry in 2004, to cite just the most spectacular cases."
And as if to pour salt in the wound:
"Polls and poll-based forecasts all handed Hillary Clinton a certain victory."
Clinton, of course, won the popular vote by the largest margin of any electoral college loser and her defeat in the electoral college was by one of the narrowest.
This time, Norpoth believes Trump will win by a much wider margin: 362 electoral votes to 176.
People were skeptical of his prediction.
@Ic_Dub @PpollingNumbers Yeah, played around with the map, and even the most pro Trump outcome I could imagine does… https://t.co/LbOTeE4nPS— Chris (@Chris) 1594244116.0
@PpollingNumbers His model claimed 362 EVs for Trump. I just want everyone to see how ridiculous that looks on a ma… https://t.co/cSNZNsiT8y— Hyde T. Voltyge (@Hyde T. Voltyge) 1594241741.0
@LameDad_esq @PpollingNumbers That’s what I thought! I don’t see him flipping any Clinton states (except NH maybe)… https://t.co/3Bb4fcnc3L— . (@.) 1594245827.0
@PpollingNumbers This Political Scientist is just begging for a RT from POTUS lmao— Nijel (@Nijel) 1594241625.0
@PpollingNumbers His model is based on early successes in the primary. Trump did not have a challenger in the primary. Go figure.— godfredansong (@godfredansong) 1594242070.0
@PpollingNumbers Based on primary results of a primary in which there were 20+ candidates. Hmmmm...— Jeff Geld (@Jeff Geld) 1594242007.0
@PpollingNumbers This model’s methodology is suspect at best.— Dave Spodek (@Dave Spodek) 1594243060.0
It is true, of course, that Biden took early losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada before his South Carolina victory, which set his ultimate primary victory in motion. But it seems odd to count this against him versus Trump, who was virtually unopposed in his primaries, when it comes to predicting a general election result in November.
Trump's supporters, not surprisingly, feel the model is perfectly sensible.
This is incredible. The Helmut Norpoth model suggests President Trump has a 91% chance of winning in November. Th… https://t.co/qOKORPJvON— Ryan Fournier (@Ryan Fournier) 1594172496.0
@B_L_Mencken @MaggieAstor Trump did nothing wrong. Is Obama/Biden responsible for 8 years of flu/virus deaths? So… https://t.co/1ivMFDeOnH— It’s MoreFun@Parler (@It’s MoreFun@Parler) 1594306944.0
@RyanAFournier This is why the media is spinning polling 24/7! They know he will win!— Lucinda Lowe (@Lucinda Lowe) 1594174463.0
You can see what such an electoral result would look like on a map for yourself here and adjust your own predictions accordingly.
As far as the real world goes, Real Clear Politics has the average of betting markets' odds at 58%-38% that Biden will beat Trump in November.