August 13, 2020

General Election Polling

As of Wednesday evening, Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by an average of 7.5% nationally. RealClearPolitics

Also as of Wednesday evening, The FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Biden a 72% chance of winning the electoral college. FiveThirtyEight

See past issues

From the Left

The left sees Biden as the clear frontrunner.

“Back in October, the pollsters found Trump with a 9-point advantage over a generic Democrat among white middle-class voters. By the first week in August, Biden claimed an 8-point advantage over Trump. ‘Normally, a successful nationwide Republican campaign is winning a majority of middle-class voters, driven by winning white middle-class voters by 20 points,’ Republican pollster Ed Goeas writes. ‘For many of the reluctant Trump supporters who were willing to put up with his persona in exchange for economic prosperity, the current economic climate no longer upholds this bargain.’ If that sentiment holds steady, it could mean a disaster for both Trump and other Republican candidates lower down the ballot.”
Philip Elliott, Time

“In both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, independent voters were found to favor Biden. Clinton lost this group in both states to Trump; and Biden is also outperforming Clinton’s vote share among white voters with and without college degrees. It should be noted, however, that the two data points aren’t directly comparable — while polling data in this case comes from likely voters who may or may not actually go to the polls, 2016 voting data comes from voters who did, in fact, turn out…

“Pollsters found views on the coronavirus pandemic as having a strong relationship to candidate preference — in fact, in its analysis of the survey data, CBS found that views on the pandemic are more strongly associated with voting than views on the economy… Public perception of the president’s pandemic response is highly polarizing — and polls in recent months have shown that the public finds it to be the most important issue facing the nation.”
Zeeshan Aleem, Vox

“[A recent Monmouth poll] shows that about 4 in 10 people have favorable opinions of Trump (40 percent) and Biden (42 percent). That leaves a large chunk of the electorate that doesn’t view either man positively: 22 percent… unlike in 2016, these voters who don’t like either candidate are breaking strongly for Biden. The ‘double-haters’ favor Biden 55 percent to 17 percent. By contrast, Trump in 2016 won voters who disliked both candidates by particularly large margins in the key states: 21 points in Michigan, 25 points in Pennsylvania and 37 points in Wisconsin…

“Another relevant point, though, is that they aren’t threatening to go with a third party. While 12 to 13 percent of voters at this point in 2016 were saying they’d do that, that’s not the case today. It’s as low as 3 to 5 percent… the limited polling we have suggests that voters who don’t love their major-party options aren’t yet venturing beyond them.”
Aaron Blake, Washington Post

“There is little sign of a vast supply of hidden Trump support in the electorate. That said, it is possible, especially at this early juncture, that Trump outperforms his current polling and goes on to win…

“A slightly hopeful sign for Trump backers looking for hidden Trump support is an examination of polls that don't use live interviews. Most of these polls are done online or with an automated voice. An accepted polling practice to see if voters are afraid to give a certain answer they deem to be socially undesirable is to compare the results when a live interviewer is present and when one isn't. Biden's national lead is still 8 points in polls that don't use live interviews at this point. That is a little lower than in polls that do use live interviewers and call cell phones, though that gap has only recently appeared and may just be a statistical artifact.”
Harry Enten, CNN

It’s worth noting that “Although three of the economic factors we use in the model (jobs, spending, manufacturing) have been terrible, a fourth component (income) has been very strong because of government subsidies in the form of the CARES Act, though that could change if stimulus payments lapse. The fifth and sixth components, inflation and the stock market, have also been reasonably favorable… In other words, our forecast thinks it’s far from obvious that the economy will doom Trump, especially if he can tell a story of recovery by November…

“[Moreover] Biden’s current roughly 8-point lead in national polls is really more like a 6-point lead in the tipping point states. And 6-point leads in August are historically not very safe. That margin is perhaps more likely than not to tighten and at the very least, there’s a fair amount of uncertainty about what COVID-19 and the rest the world will look like by November… It’s way too soon to count Trump out.”
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

From the Right

The right is skeptical of polls showing Biden far ahead.

The right is skeptical of polls showing Biden far ahead.

“Interestingly, if you compare FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 model to the new one you’ll find that Hillary’s odds of winning over the course of the campaign surged higher than Biden’s ever have. She reached 89 percent after the Democratic convention, declined, then came all the way back to 88 percent in mid-October. Biden has never topped 79 percent despite his gaudy polling leads in June and July. The difference is that Hillary also had moments when her odds crashed, twice dipping below 55 percent and declining by more than 20 points over the second half of October…

“A pandemic, an economic collapse, anti-racism riots and protracted violence, and FiveThirtyEight estimates that this race is about as stable as any other presidential contest. That’s a testament to the extent to which voters’ opinions so far are a pure referendum on Trump… [but] If I were Sleepy Joe, I wouldn’t feel at all comfortable about a four-point lead in any battleground given how pollsters overlooked the strength of Trump’s working-class support last time.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“Donald Trump has pulled into a virtual tie with Joe Biden in Minnesota — or so one pollster reports. According to a new Emerson poll, Biden only leads 50/47… not far off from a Trafalgar poll taken a couple of weeks earlier. The GOP-linked polling firm had a larger sample (1129 likely voters, compared to Emerson’s 733 registered voters), but found Biden only leading by five points, 49/44…

“Both Emerson and Trafalgar point to a much closer contest in November [than national polls]. If so — and if this isn’t just some polling noise — then it might be due to the ‘abolish the police’ push in Minneapolis and the sharp rise in crime over the last two months… I’d like to see more polling on these statewide races before moving Minnesota to battleground status, but I’d bet that Democrats might start moving resources around sooner than that to shore up their standing here — and that’s not bad news for the GOP elsewhere.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“President Trump is trailing Joe Biden because of the revolt of the country’s largest voter bloc: whites without college degrees. In the most recent Fox News poll, which has Biden up 8 points, Trump’s advantage over Biden with this subset is only 49%-40% — a 14-point decline from the network’s April survey… Why have voters who in 2016 made up 44% of the electorate and broke 2-1 for Trump over Hillary Clinton been swayed in the other direction the last 100 days?…

Less-educated whites are pessimistic about race relations and do not have confidence in Trump’s ability to improve them. It’s the only non-coronavirus issue where he consistently polls below overall voter preference… Part of the reason Trump in 2016 reversed years of Republican decline in black and Hispanic support was the nature of his longtime, high-profile association with nonwhite celebrities. These were relationships that for him seemed to hinge on talent and personality rather than racial identity. Trump should celebrate himself as someone who, flaws and all, judges people on anything but their skin color…

“A post-racial society may seem far-fetched right now, but it is an aspiration from the early civil rights leaders up to President Barack Obama. It is also one that a majority of white voters have consistently shared and still do. The candidate that has the most satisfying response to the racialization epidemic will probably win the election. Biden can offer gestures. Trump can seek a colorblind society.”
Rich Danker, Washington Examiner

“Biden’s staffers assure us that even if voters are generally unenthusiastic about Biden, the widespread disapproval of Trump will carry them across the finish line. But if Rasmussen is right and Trump’s approval rating is now at 51 percent, a recent prediction in the British Economist that Biden will run away with the electoral college as well as the popular vote seems wildly premature. We may wonder whether the Dems can count on a tidal wave of anti-Trump feeling or Trump’s verbal impulsiveness to bring their side victory.”
Paul Gottfried, American Conservative

“The notion behind the secret Trump voter is simple: With the media bashing the president daily — going so far as to call him, and by extension his supporters, racist — some don’t want to face the scorn of supporting him. My guess is that they’re still out there — and more angry than ever. They may not show up in all the polls, but they will turn up on Election Day to cast their ballots. Democrats dismiss the secret Trump voters at their peril.”
Joseph Curl, Daily Wire

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.