Megan Rapinoe leads Donald Trump in hypothetical general election matchup for President

The pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently polled a nationwide sample of registered voters about a hypothetical general election matchup of Republican President Donald Trump against Megan Rapinoe, a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team that recently won the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Although Rapinoe’s political party affiliation, if any, is not publicly known, the poll assumes a hypothetical scenario in which Rapinoe were to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and be nominated by the Democratic Party. A PDF file of the poll data can be found here.

The poll found Rapinoe leading Trump by one percentage point (42% for Rapinoe, 41% for Trump), with a relatively large number of undecided voters (17% for “not sure”). For comparison, Hillary Clinton got a 48% plurality of the national popular vote in 2016 to Trump’s 46%, yet Trump won a majority of the Electoral College that actually elects the President in 2016.

The undecided voters in the PPP poll appear to lean towards Rapinoe in a hypothetical 2020 matchup against Trump: the poll crosstabs show that 24% of those who self-identified as having voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election were undecided in a hypothetical Trump vs. Rapinoe matchup in 2020, whereas only 3% of those who self-identified as having voted for Donald Trump were undecided in a hypothetical Trump vs. Rapinoe matchup in 2020. The poll also showed that 16% of self-identified Republicans and 8% of self-identified Trump 2016 voters would vote for Rapinoe if she were the Democratic nominee against Trump in 2020. Additionally, Trump’s approval rating in the poll is 42%, and Trump’s disapproval rating is 52%; the Trump approval/disapproval portion of the poll was included in the FiveThirtyEight Trump approval/disapproval poll aggregator.

While Rapinoe would be legally old enough to run for President next year, I seriously doubt that Rapinoe would even consider running for president. However, the poll, aside from one crosstab that goes against conventional political wisdom (the crosstab showing Trump performing worse among male voters than female voters, most polling has shown Trump performing far worse among female voters than male voters), is very good for illustrating how narrow Trump’s path to re-election is. As it stands now, Trump would have to win over a fairly substantial amount of support of voters who currently disapprove of his performance in office in order to win re-election, meaning that Trump would likely lose re-election unless there is a noticeable increase in his approval rating for one reason or another and/or Democrats nominate a very controversial candidate.