Behind in the polls, Trump finds a metric he likes better: boats

It may seem like a problem that Trump's struggling with American voters, but he takes solace in the idea that he's excelling with American boat owners.
Image: President Trump Holds A Press Conference At The White House
President Donald Trump arrives to speak to the press in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 14, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

It's not exactly a secret that Donald Trump has trailed Joe Biden in the polls for the last few months. It's also pretty obvious that the president is struggling to come to terms with the fact that, as things currently stand, he's likely to lose his re-election bid.

But Trump has discovered a new metric that's boosted his optimism about the 2020 race. He brought it up last week, apparently for the first time:

"We are doing great. You see the boaters out there -- thousands and thousands of boats every weekend and we appreciate it. But nobody has seen anything like it -- ever."

He emphasized the same line during his bizarre White House event yesterday.

"I think we have a really good poll numbers. They’re not suppression polls; they’re real polls. You look at the Intracostal in Florida. You look at the lakes. You see thousands of boats with Trump signs, American signs."

In a typical campaign, observers of every stripe -- candidates, staffers, party operatives, campaign journalists, et al. -- have plenty of metrics to consider when trying to determine who's likely to win. There are the obvious data, of course, related to polling, fundraising tallies, on-the-ground operations, and crowd sizes.

Some forecasters will similarly assess broader macroeconomic data -- such as GDP growth and the unemployment rate -- when creating election models.

But leave it to Donald Trump to come up with an entirely new standard of measurement: boats.

In other words, for the incumbent president, it may seem like a problem that he's struggling with American voters, but Trump and his supporters can apparently take solace in the idea that he's excelling with American boat owners.