Gallup: Majority of Americans think Trump will win election

Just 40% of those surveyed think Biden will win.

Updated: October 1, 2020 - 5:52pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


The good news for President Trump: His job approval has hit its highest point since May, Gallup reported on Thursday.

The bad news: His approval rating is 46%, while his disapproval rating is 52%. 

But the latest Gallup poll included one fascinating finding. 

"Regardless of whom they personally support, 56% of Americans expect Trump to prevail over Biden in the November election, while 40% think Biden will win," wrote Megan Brenan in an article released by the polling firm. "Although majorities of partisans think their party's candidate will win, Republicans are more likely to believe Trump will win (90%) than Democrats are to think Biden will (73%). Fifty-six percent of independents predict that Trump will win."

The pollster doesn't offer an explanation as to how Trump can be underwater on his approval rating but still be the majority pick to win the election. But Gallup said the finding might not be great news for Trump.

"Looking back, Gallup has asked Americans for their predictions in the late summer or fall of every presidential election year from 1996 through 2012, and an ABC NewsIWashington Post poll included a comparable question in 2016," according to the article.

"In each of these polls, Americans accurately predicted the winner of the popular vote, though not the winner of the Electoral College," Brenan wrote. "That is, in 2000 and 2016, the public predicted Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, respectively, would win the election. Although both of these Democratic candidates won the popular vote, George W. Bush and Trump, respectively, won the most electoral votes and ultimately became president."

"The prediction of a Trump victory is not consistent with the average of recent national presidential vote-preference polls," cautioned the polling organization, "which show Biden with a significant lead, but it is consistent with Americans' expectation of a victory for the incumbent president in every race in which one has been running. The two most recent elections in which an incumbent lost — 1980 and 1992 — occurred before Gallup began asking Americans to handicap the presidential election race."

As reference, in 2016, just 31% of those surveyed thought Trump would win, while 58% thought Clinton would win. In 2000, 56% thought Gore would win, just 35% thought Bush would come out on top.

The finding on independents also appears interesting: Fifty-six percent thinks Trump will win, while just 39% predict Biden will win.

There has been talk that Trump supporters have gone underground and he may actually have more support than indicated in national polls, which routinely show Trump trailing, sometimes by double digits.

A poll last month by Monmouth University of 401 Pennsylvania voters found that a majority of voters think there are Trump supporters out there who aren't being counted.

"The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016. The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

"Most voters (57%) believe there are a number of so-called secret voters in their communities who support Trump but won't tell anyone about it. Less than half that number (27%) believe there are secret voters for Biden. The suspicion that a secret Trump vote exists is slightly higher in swing counties (62%) and Clinton counties (61%) than in Trump counties (51%)," the pollsters wrote.