DEMOCRATS CAST their first votes in this year’s presidential primaries at caucuses in Iowa on February 3rd. Their ultimate goal is to nominate a candidate who can beat Donald Trump in November. That will not be easy. Despite much political tumult and an impeachment trial, the president still has a clear path to re-election.

Mr Trump is unpopular in national polls. Yet he is a stronger candidate than headline figures suggest. His approval ratings have hovered around ten percentage points below his disapproval ratings. Although since 1950 such an unpopular president has never won re-election, the historical relationship between a president’s approval and his share of the two-party vote suggests Mr Trump should still win about 49% of votes cast for Democrats and Republicans

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