DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – President Donald Trump is making changes in how he’s handling coronavirus publicly amid declining polls nationally and in Texas.
This week, the President started holding news conferences at the White House again about how his administration is combating the coronavirus, and he cancelled the in-person Republican National Convention after he moved it to Jacksonville, Florida over concerns North Carolina would limit the gathering initially planned in Charlotte.
Earlier this month, the President wore a mask publicly for the first time.
It comes as a Quinnipiac University Texas poll this week showed more people disapprove than approve of the President’s handling of the pandemic, 52% to 45%
Last month, a poll by the same organization showed 47% of Texans surveyed approved the President’s handling of the virus while 51% disapproved.
The same poll this month showed more Texans believe presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would do a better job handling the virus than the President, 48% to 45%
CBS 11 asked two SMU Political Communication professors, Sam Martin and Rita Kirk what’s behind the President’s shift this week.
Professor Kirk said, “People are dissatisfied and they’re announcing that with some measure of strength.”
Professor Martin agreed. “People think he’s not handling the crisis well and so I think he finally is looking to pivot and respond because his numbers look quite bad.”
The President and the former Vice President are neck and neck in Texas polls.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls between June 19 and July 20 shows the President at 45.4% and the former Vice President 45.2%.
President Trump is behind in national polls and in the key battleground states.
On Friday, Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, dismissed the national polls and said the same experts predicted he’d lose in 2016.
He said there are multiple pathways for the President to win in November.
But Professor Martin said in some national polls, Biden has gotten 50% or more people saying they will vote for him.
She said, “Political science research has shown that once a person has registered their intention to vote for someone, that is thought of as a sticky voter. Of all the things I’ve seen that should worry the Trump campaign, that is the most worrisome.
Having said that, Joe Biden is like a bowl of oatmeal. People are not as passionate about Joe Biden as they are about Donald Trump, as they are about Barack Obama, as they are about Ronald Reagan. So does that stickiness for a bowl of oatmeal stick the way it does to your stomach, I don’t know.”
Professor Kirk said despite the polls, the race is too early to call. “Joe Biden, while he’s leading right now, I think that’s an anti-
Trump sort of reaction because they’re not pleased with the way the President is responding. But it doesn’t yet mean JoeBiden has earned the vote for them to vote for him as well. It’s really important that Biden make his case.”
The Quinnipiac Texas poll also provided good news for the President.
Those surveyed said they think he would do a better job handling the economy than Biden, 56% to 40%, an improvement since last month when the same poll gave the President the edge, 54% to 40%..
When asked who would do a better job handling healthcare, both Trump and Biden received 47%.
Last month, the poll showed Biden leading Trump 49% to 43%.
The Cook Political Report shows Texas still leans to President Trump this November.
Even so, Professors Martin and Kirk said the polls in Texas have a lot of people buzzing.
Kirk said, “To see that Texas is in play at all is a huge story. Nobody would have anticipated Texas in in play like it is now.”
Martin said, “I’m getting asked by a lot of people if it’s true Texas is going to flip blue? I don’t think Texas is going to flip blue, but he shouldn’t be having to even answer the question.”