June 26, 2020

General Election Update

Recent polls from the New York Times, Redfield & Wilton Strategies, and Fox News show former Vice President Joe Biden pulling ahead of President Donald Trump both nationally and in battleground states. New York Times, Redfield & Wilton, Fox News, RealClearPolitics

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From the Left

The left is enthusiastic about Biden’s prospects but urges Democrats not to get complacent.

“The three most significant threats to Trump’s reelection are the pandemic, the country’s terrible economic situation, and the eagerness of Democrats to turn him out of office. In every case, the president has chosen not just to avoid taking actions that might help him win, but to actively worsen his situation… [He] seems to have all but given up trying to manage the federal government’s response… Not only has he refused to wear a mask in public — probably the single most important safety measure we can take — but he has helped polarize the very idea of mask-wearing, so that the way you now show you’re a loyal Trump voter is to not wear one…

“Perhaps most shocking of all, the administration is withdrawing support for coronavirus testing sites, as though they are taking to heart Trump’s oft-expressed belief that testing is bad because it helps you identify people who are sick, and that makes the numbers bigger… [Finally] If Trump were more serious about getting the economy on its feet, just out of pure self-interest he’d agree to pour trillions of dollars on the economy to mitigate the recession. But he isn’t… At every step, it has been Democrats pleading for larger and more aggressive stimulus, while Trump and his party negotiate that stimulus down… Joe Biden probably can’t believe his luck.”
Paul Waldman, Washington Post

Democrats have a secret weapon in 2020… senior voters. Among this age group — voters 65 and older — polls so far this year reveal a dramatic shift to the Democrats… The bipartisan States of Change project estimates that Mrs. Clinton lost this group by around 15 points. By contrast, the nonpartisan Democracy Fund + U.C.L.A. Nationscape survey, which has collected over 108,000 interviews of registered voters since the beginning of the year, has Mr. Biden leading among seniors by about six points. We are looking at a shift of over 20 points in favor of the Democrats among a group that should be at least a quarter of voters in 2020… If it remains through November and beyond, it could define a new era in American politics.”
Ruy Teixeira, New York Times

“Joe Biden spent months stumbling through the Democratic primary, only to prevail in the end through a fantastical combination of circumstances. Now he is stumbling through the basement-confined general election to a double-digit lead. Maybe he isn’t stumbling at all? Maybe his campaign is … good?…

“The fact that Biden has attracted less attention than Trump is not (as many Democrats have fretted) a failure. It is a strategic choice, and a broadly correct one. Second, Biden’s isn’t just hiding out. He is doing some things. He has delivered speeches, given interviews, and met with protesters. These forums have tended to display his more attractive qualities, especially his empathy. Only one of them (his Breakfast Club interview) yielded a major gaffe. And third, Biden has managed to communicate a coherent campaign theme… all the evidence we have suggests Biden actually knows what he’s doing.”
Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The good news for Trump is that his Electoral College edge remains large. In the FiveThirtyEight average, he’s losing nationally by 9.9, but he’s only losing Pennsylvania by 5.8 percentage points. That means that if Trump could cut his national polling deficit down to 5 or so — which could be easily enough achieved by reminding right-of-center voters who are currently undecided that they have fundamental disagreements with Biden on policy — he’d be within ‘normal polling error’ range in the pivotal state… his large deficit is hardly insurmountable.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

From the Right

The right worries about Trump’s prospects and urges him to change strategy.

The right worries about Trump’s prospects and urges him to change strategy.

Trump is in danger of suffering the most transformative political defeat in 40 years.You can choose to say you don’t believe in the polls, but one of the few polls that showed Trump winning in the battleground states in the week before the 2016 election should be exempt from that skepticism, no? Well, the newest survey from The New York Times and ­Siena College has Joe Biden beating Trump 50-36. Yes, I know, The New York Times is left-wing. Well, so let’s look across the ideological aisle. What’s this? A few days earlier, the Fox News poll had Biden up by 12 percentage points.”
John Podhoretz, New York Post

“When you see stories that President Trump is trailing in the polls, it’s natural to scoff and say, ‘The polls all said Trump would lose four years ago.’ That’s a fine retort, and it’s worth considering the extent and the reasons for the polls ‘getting it wrong’ in 2016. Why should 2016 be any different from 2020?… [Because] Joe Biden is not hated as much as Clinton was. Put another way, Trump is doing about the same as he was doing in 2016, but Biden is doing much better than Clinton was…

“Why did Trump do better than the polls in 2016? You don't need to say the polls were all wrong. You just need to realize that more than 15% of the electorate didn't like either candidate, and half of them broke for Trump. This year, with Biden at or near 50% in the polls, is leaving a lot fewer undecideds on the table for Trump to try and win over.”
Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner

“The danger is that if the election were held today, Democrat Joe Biden probably would win. So Trump is down, but with about 130 days to go, not out. To get four more years, his campaign needs good luck, a more disciplined candidate and a better message… To get back on track, honing and delivering an appealing message is essential. It must center around giving disaffected supporters and other fence-sitters an affirmative reason to give the president a second look. That means laying out a coherent vision for a second term, one larger and more specific than simply saying we’re going to do more of the same, only ­better.”
Michael Goodwin, New York Post

“As of now Mr. Trump has no second-term agenda, or even a message beyond four more years of himself. His recent events in Tulsa and Arizona were dominated by personal grievances. He resorted to his familiar themes from 2016 like reducing immigration and denouncing the press, but he offered nothing for those who aren’t already persuaded…

“[Yet] Mr. Trump’s advisers have an agenda that would speak to opportunity for Americans of all races—school choice for K-12, vocational education as an alternative to college, expanded health-care choice, building on the opportunity zones in tax reform, and more. The one issue on which voters now give him an edge over Mr. Biden is the economy. An agenda to revive the economy after the pandemic, and restore the gains for workers of his first three years, would appeal to millions.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“If there’s one thing we learned from 2016, it is to remain wary of big numbers that don’t necessarily reflect public opinion. Democratic officials’ failure to contain the lawlessness of the protesters creating their own autonomous zones will not sit well with rural voters. And the GOP’s efforts to ramp up coronavirus relief might convince swing-state voters that the Trump economy is worth their bet. Recent events could just as well work against Trump. But Biden isn’t giving voters much to work with from his Delaware basement. Democrats would be wise not to take victory for granted.”
Kaylee McGhee, Washington Examiner

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