September 17, 2020

Wisconsin and Michigan

As of Wednesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 6.7 percentage points in Wisconsin and 4.2 percentage points in Michigan. RealClearPolitics

Read our recent coverage of Pennsylvania here. The Flip Side

Many on both sides agree that Trump’s polling in the Midwest is disappointing:

“Biden’s 6.7-point lead is almost identical to Hillary Clinton’s 6.5-point lead over Trump in the final RCP average of Wisconsin polls in 2016 — right before Trump surprised the world by winning Wisconsin by 0.7 points… But the Biden 2020 campaign still looks stronger than the Clinton 2016 campaign in Wisconsin because Biden’s overall level of support is higher and there are fewer undecided voters…

“Another reason to think the Wisconsin polling average will be more reliable in 2020 than 2016 is that we are getting a lot more data. In 2016, there were two public polls of Wisconsin conducted in all of September. In 2020, there are already nine public polls of Wisconsin conducted entirely or partly in September. Biden was at or above 50 percent in seven of the nine polls… Clinton never topped 50 percent in RCP’s Wisconsin polling average.”
John McCormack, National Review

“If we look at how much Biden’s odds have changed in states where both he and Trump have at least a 1 in 10 shot of winning since we launched the forecast on Aug. 12, Biden has improved his chances in 17 of 20 states. And in some cases, Biden’s improvement has been considerable — +15 percentage points in Minnesota, +12 points in Arizona and +10 points in Wisconsin, for instance. By comparison, Trump’s odds have really only improved in Florida…

“Still, a Morning Consult survey released yesterday might buoy the Trump campaign’s hopes of breaking through in Minnesota, as it put Biden’s lead at only 4 points… Trump very much remains in contention, but he is an underdog for reelection at this point.”
Geoffrey Skelley, FiveThirtyEight

Many on both sides are also skeptical of Biden’s field strategy in Michigan:

“Biden’s field operation in this all-important state is being run through the Michigan Democratic Party’s One Campaign, which is also not doing physical canvassing or events at the moment… there are no young volunteers in Biden shirts pounding the pavement for their candidate, no clusters of posters marking the Biden field offices in various precincts, few bumper stickers on the highways. There are more Biden signs than Hillary Clinton had in 2016, locals say, but not enough to give the impression of an enthusiastic presidential campaign in a crucial swing state. When Biden visited Michigan last week, only a handful of supporters came to see him; his campaign didn’t disclose the location of the event in advance, even to the local Democratic county chair, because it didn’t want to attract a crowd…

“Biden’s Michigan team says its campaign is significantly bigger than Clinton’s and may be the largest program in the state’s history. The campaign says it reached out to 1.4 million voters during the Democratic convention and the weekend that followed, with 500 digital-organizing events and 10,000 volunteer signups. In the week before Labor Day, the campaign sent 500,000 texts to Michigan voters… This strategy makes sense during a global pandemic… But the juxtaposition of Trump’s loud and proud campaign and Biden’s invisible digital operation makes some Democrats increasingly anxious… ‘Some of the same people that said everything was okay four years ago are the same people saying everything’s okay now.’”
Charlotte Alter, Time

“Four years ago, Hillary Clinton lost Michigan by largely taking it for granted, even though union leaders sent up warning flares that the race was getting much tighter than their data analysis showed. But at least the Clinton campaign had some infrastructure in the former blue-wall state, and had a ground game of sorts. Four years later, Joe Biden doesn’t have anything on the ground in Michigan — and people are starting to notice…

“This is perhaps the biggest reason to take this season’s polls with an even bigger grain of salt than usual. The polls we get are based on likely-voter turnout models that (a) don’t account for COVID-19 behavior changes, and (b) don’t account for the massive imbalance in personal-contact campaigning. Both could have a big impact, but it’s almost certain that (b) will have an impact on voter turnout.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

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