Trump 2.0

It might be time to stop hoping and praying that America won’t elect Donald Trump again. Hopes and prayers might not matter much.

May 31, 2023

While most Canadians don’t like him (he might get about 15% of the vote here in Canada) but he’d get at least three times that support if he wins the Republican nomination, according to the polls.

As to whether he will win the GOP nod, here again, it’s time to put away the skepticism. Other names have been floated, some candidates have announced, but his lead on the field is widening, even as his legal problems are deepening.

It’s only natural – for the rest of the world – to imagine that Trump won’t occupy the Oval Office again. Precious little good, and plenty of chaos emerged in geopolitics under his watch. His domestic policies sowed division and violence. His narcissism and recklessness triggered an insurrection. Among the relationships he took pride in were the charmless, dangerous and useless, think Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Rudy Guiliani.

In the last 7 head-to-head polling matchups with Joe Biden, Trump won four.

Books chronicling the misadventures of his presidency are plentiful and stunning in the detail of how he operated. I particularly recommend The Divider, if your nerves can handle being reminded in rich detail of all that went badly.

Even the anti-establishment Fox News became too conventional for his tastes. The rest of the media have looked on with a mix of awkwardness and frustration at what to do about a candidate like Trump.

But notwithstanding all of that, here’s what the best available polling data tells us:


In the last 7 head-to-head polling matchups with Joe Biden, Trump won four.

On May 9th, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll. Since that verdict, there have been five national head-to-head polls, and Trump won four of the five.

What are the chances someone will beat Trump in the GOP nomination race? Slim and fading, it seems. CNN’s Harry Enten, one of the most astute analysts of polling data, describes a widening “lovability” gap between Trump, and DeSantis – caused by fading affection among Republican voters for the Florida Governor.

Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, Chris Sununu are among the other declared and rumored rivals. None have shown any significant signs of life in the polling data. As for Trump’s VP Pence, the latest two polls of Republican voters show Trump has ten times the support Pence does.

So maybe the race – which has only barely begun – is more or less over. What does that mean? For the next year, we’ll see mounting coverage of Trump, as even those media outlets who don’t want to give him oxygen find it impossible not to. We’ll see rising tension in the US as the millions of voters who were turned off by his ideas or his style or both – become anxious about what his next vituperative chapter might bring.

The question of how the US deals with the rest of the world will be unsettled again. Under Joe Biden, allies like Canada, the UK, Germany – and the NATO alliance more broadly, have felt once again that there was a stable regime in Washington, one interested in sustaining relationships, not destabilizing them as a form of power performance.

The interests of women, people of color, immigrants and other minority groups will feel a cold wind starting to blow harder. Dispiriting as it might seem, the one good thing they might feel about Trump is that DeSantis would be worse, especially for the LGBTQ community.

We’ll see rising tension in the US as voters become anxious about what his next chapter might bring.


There’s always the chance that as America gets closer to the eventuality of a possible Trump victory, that people have second thoughts, and Biden opens up a “hold the nose” lead.

But if we’re being clear-eyed about what the past evidence shows – it’s time to ask this question: if all of the things Trump has done so far, have left him competitive, if all the lines he has crossed turned out not to be red lines, it might just be time to acknowledge that the affection Trump engenders with millions of voters is not a bug, but a feature of American society.

And the rest of the world might have to buckle up.

About spark*insights

spark*insights is lead by Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading and most experienced public opinion researchers, along with Alex Kohut, former Senior Manager of Research & Advertising in the Office of the Prime Minister. From polling and research to analysis and guidance, we help organizations, uncover the factors driving or influencing public perception to gain valuable insights into the shape and movement of the landscape.

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