GOVERNMENT

Inside Sources: Public perceptions and presidential predictions

May 26, 2020, 5:56 PM | Updated: May 27, 2020, 8:45 am
President Trump Reopen Phases...
President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus at the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SALT LAKE CITY — Politicians and their consultants would like all of us to believe that they control elections by the mechanics, such as fundraising, rhetoric and visiting the right states on the campaign trail. But the reality is, the event of the day controls elections and politicians, making it difficult to provide accurate presidential predictions. 

Boyd Matheson is joined on Inside Sources by Scott Rasmussen, political analyst, author and regular contributor to Deseret News, to discuss the reality that politicians are controlled by events and how the global COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how Americans feel about their politicians. 

Lessons on presidential predictions for 2020

“In Election 2020, it’s not going to be about what happened in the past 3 1/2 years,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a toss-up election right now. As we sit and look at the polls, it could go either way.”

Rasmussen said the election is going to be decided by the key issue of the day: how successfully U.S. society reopens in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In 2004, President George W. Bush campaigned for reelection on the same issue he had been dealing with during his first term: the War on Terror.
  • In 2012, President Barack Obama campaigned for reelection on the same issue he had been dealing with during his first term: the Great Recession and its fallout.

“President Trump is seeking reelection with a defining issue none of us could have imagined on January 1st of this year,” said Rasmussen. “If we had predicted . . . lockdowns and 30 or 40 million people being thrown out of work, we would have been laughed out of the room.”

In the fall, if Americans are feeling better about the economy reopening, President Trump will probably be reelected, Rasmussen predicted, especially if Democratic leaders are looking like they are resisting the reopening.

On the other hand, if the reopening unleashes a vicious second wave of the pandemic, then President Trump will not be reelected, Rasmussen predicted.

If President Trump is seen as recklessly pushing to reopen while voters are retreating to lockdown mode, he could face a defeat comparable to Herbert Hoover’s loss in 1932 during the Great Depression, Rasmussen wrote in a piece for the Deseret News.

Boyd added current polls show most Americans are more interested in news updates on the pandemic than the latest political news.

“Knowing that in most election cycles we reelect 90 to 94 percent of incumbents, what does that mean for we the people rolling into the fall of 2020?” Boyd asked.

“It is the events in the world that people are responding to that determine the fate of the elections,” Rasmussen said. “It’s really important to focus on the fact that it is the event that controls the politician, not the other way around.”

 

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19:  The U.S. Capitol is shown as a looming government shutdown threatens ...
Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Defense bill likely to include end to military Covid vaccine mandate, source says

A massive bill setting defense policy is likely to end the military Covid vaccine mandate, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CNN.
21 hours ago
The U.S. Product Safety Commission warns that three toys marketed toward children have been flagged...
Simone Seikaly

Three toys recalled in U.S. for excessive lead paint

The three recalled toys were sold online at Amazon and Walmart, as well as discount stores across the United States between 2020 and 2022.
21 hours ago
Former astronaut and Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored Saturday with an art installation tribute ...
Mark Jones

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn to be honored with art tribute on Saturday

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored with an art installation tribute Saturday at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
4 days ago
President John F. Kennedy signs the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Cente...
Curt Gresseth

Is forcing the homeless into treatment the answer?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a program that involuntarily treats homeless people in "psychiatric crisis." A BYU psychologist weighs the New York approach against the ethics of patient autonomy.
4 days ago
File photo: Soldiers from the Utah National Guard prepare to depart Roland R. Wright Air National G...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah Air National Guard Airman dies during routine deployment

An airman from the Utah National Guard passed away from undisclosed medical issues while deployed in Guam on Nov. 29.
5 days ago
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants his old job back. ...
Mark Jones

Rocky Anderson announces bid to run for SLC mayor in 2023

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced Wednesday that he is seeking reelection to get his old job back.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Inside Sources: Public perceptions and presidential predictions