The US Election is Trump’s to Lose According to System1 Research

Opinion and Insight 59 Add to collection
Findings reveal democratic candidates are performing well while Trump has a high level of dislike among the US public
The US Election is Trump’s to Lose According to System1 Research

Effectiveness agency System1 shows that Trump leads on all three of the brand metrics of Fame, Feeling and Fluency; making 28% of people feel Happiness, more than any of his Democrat rivals. However, his advantages aren’t so dominant as to make re-election a certainty.

During the 2016 Republican nomination race, System1 Research conducted a unique study to measure the strength of the candidates using their brand metrics of Fame (how readily they come to mind), Feeling (how positively people feel about them) and Fluency (how distinctive they are). Before a single vote had been cast, System1 accurately predicted the nomination of Donald Trump.

With the democratic nomination election reaching a critical pace, System1 Research ran the same exercise, asking the American public questions about the current candidates to determine the strength of their “brands”.

Findings showed that although in 2016, Fluency was Trump’s great advantage over Hillary Clinton; in 2020, he’s more of a known quantity, and while he’s still the most distinctive politician in the race, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is not far behind him.

On Feeling Trump’s ratings have improved, however, the negative emotions he inspires remain sky-high: 50% of people feel negatively about him, including a huge score on Disgust.

Although Trump leads on all three measures, there is still a lot to play for, with time for the Democrats to close the gap. But who is the strongest candidate?

According to System1 in brand strength terms – with 5-Star being the maximum - Sanders and Joe Biden are both 4-Star brands, with Elizabeth Warren not too far behind on 3-Stars (Donald Trump hovers on the 4- to 5-Star borderline). Biden’s strong Fame and solid Feeling show he’s far from out of voters’ minds, and a good showing on Super Tuesday would reignite his candidacy.

Analysis also shows that Sanders’ socialism doesn’t necessarily put voters off, in fact it helps him pull away on Fluency as the most distinctive Democrat, and he’s at the same level of Feeling as Biden and Warren. He also easily outscores President Trump on “Patriotic” and “Stands Up For Americans”, two of the attributes in the diagnostic test.

With Buttigieg high neutrality and low positive feeling, System1 also predicted that ‘Mayor Pete’ was never going to be a strong contender, so yesterday’s drop-out didn’t come as a surprise.

In such a tight race, to maximise their chance to win, Democrats should build positive Feeling and Fluency around themselves, reminding American voters just how much half of them dislike their rival. Trump, meanwhile, will be trying to create more negativity around his opponent. If he succeeds, his path to re-election will be a lot smoother.

Jon Evans, chief marketing officer at System1, says: “Our predictive study points towards a Trump 2020 win unless the Democrats can unify behind one candidate and build their Fame Feeling and Fluency to capitalise on the high levels of Disgust that Trump still generates. The door is ajar, but only just.”

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System1 Group PLC, 2 months ago