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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There is a growing sense among top Republicans and Democrats that President Trump is stronger than ever and very hard to beat this fall, but several data points suggest otherwise.

Why it matters: Amid record-high stock markets and record-low joblessness, Trump trails almost every 2020 Democrat nationally, and is in a statistical tie in swing-state polls.

  • Yes, he has a big early edge in raising money and gaming Facebook to target voters. But Michael Bloomberg is willing to spend $2 billion (some say twice that) to easily level things — and will spend big even if he's not the nominee.

The data points:

  • Trump won in 2016 by 80,000 votes, thanks in part to low Democratic turnout. There is scant evidence he has broadened his base, even as he solidifies it.
  • Trump ties or trails every leading Democrat in virtually every national poll, including a Fox News poll out Jan. 26.
  • In most swing-state polls, Trump is within the margin of error — and often well below 50% — despite a booming economy.  In many cases, he trails most of the top-tier candidates. 
  • Bloomberg has more money than Trump ever did, and unlike the president, plans to spend it, either on himself or the party’s nominee. Republicans would have no answer financially if he dumps several billion into ads and manpower.
  • There's a significant gap between the optimism about the economy (60%+) and Trump himself, an unusual decoupling for an incumbent. This data point worries top Republicans a lot. 

Between the lines: Don’t forget 2018. Democrats enjoyed record turnout and won back the House.

  • After lackluster voter participation in Iowa, Democrats broke the New Hampshire turnout record set in 2008. (But it's worth noting that turnout was on par with recent cycles where only one party had a competitive primary, per the N.Y. Times.)

The bottom line: Trump is no doubt strong and getting stronger, despite impeachment. But Democrats are so traumatized by Trump’s 2016 win that they're overlooking real signs of his vulnerability. 

  • Even Bernie Sanders, whose socialism establishment Democrats fear could tank their chances, looks strong against Trump in relevant polls.

Axios' Rashaan Ayesh contributed reporting.

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Go deeper

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.