Forget for a minute the names Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Imagine you are less than three weeks away from an Election Day in which the sitting President is running for a second term. During the primary, the incumbent won 94 percent of his party’s vote, while the challenger only won 52 percent of his party’s vote. The enthusiasm gap favors the incumbent by a large margin. There have been no new foreign wars or large military actions during the incumbent’s first term.
When polled on which candidate would be better to lead the economy, the incumbent has consistently held an advantage. The Dow Jones Industrial is up 57% from Election Day four years ago. When asked, 56 percent of individuals polled said they were better off now than four years ago, the highest percentage to ever answer affirmatively in an incumbent’s election year throughout the history of that poll.
Voter registration numbers in key swing states are favoring the incumbent’s party, in some cases significantly. Further, 56 percent of Americans say they believe the incumbent candidate is going to win the election.
Knowing all that information, who would you identify as being ahead in the race? The obvious answer would be the incumbent.
Those are the exact facts we have at the moment, yet polls are consistently showing challenger Joe Biden not only ahead, but ahead by a margin that would be the largest presidential victory since Ronald Reagan won 49 states in 1984. Would a candidate who is really en route to that type of victory be spending time campaigning in a state like Nevada that his party won 4 years ago?
If you ask people what is going well for Joe Biden right now, they would say he’s ahead in the polls. But what else?
Does he have an enthusiasm gap in his favor or is he drawing big crowds? No. In some instances, Joe Biden’s small crowds are filled with as many Trump supporters as Biden supporters. Meanwhile, President Trump has continued drawing thousands. Even amid COVID-19 when people could stay home, they are still choosing to take a calculated risk to see President Trump speak in person.
Is Biden a young, dynamic, charismatic candidate? Is he a captivating speaker giving compelling speeches? Is he fostering change or a national movement? He is not. What about running on a big, bold agenda? He isn’t even answering basic questions, let alone running on a bold agenda.
Is the Republican Party in shambles or do they hate their candidate? Despite what the Lincoln Project and talking-head panels on CNN or MSNBC would like you to believe, President Trump currently enjoys support exceeding 90-percent in the Republican Party.
The person who could actually answer all those questions affirmatively was Barack Obama. He was young, dynamic, and exciting. He was drawing huge crowds and running a campaign on creating history and bringing real change to our country. His posters had uplifting, positive messages “change” and “believe,” and his slogan was “yes we can.” Even then, President Obama’s victory was smaller than Joe Biden’s current national lead.
Are we truly to believe these polls are accurate? Or, should we believe our eyes? We see the energy around President Trump again, just as was the case in 2016. We see all of these data points and other factors that should point to President Trump maintaining a strong position to win re-election, or at least be in a competitive race. At the least, they don’t point to the incumbent President getting bludgeoned in a blow-out like we haven’t seen in almost four decades.
These pollsters expect us to believe that a presidential candidate who spent months in his basement and can’t go a day without making yet another gaffe is winning in a landslide? Just this week, when Biden was asked why the 56 percent of voters surveyed who feel they are better off today versus where they were four years ago should vote for him, Biden responded they shouldn’t vote for him.
Joe Biden is openly telling reporters that the American people don’t deserve to know his stance on key issues until after the election. We have someone who’s saying the quiet part out loud. Then again, he probably doesn’t realize he’s no longer in the safety of his basement when they let him out to speak.
The reality is, there is a direct contradiction between the polling numbers and virtually all of the other information out there, including the eye test. In 2016, President Trump outperformed polls, in some states by a significant margin. For example, in Ohio, President Trump outperformed the RCP Election Day average by nearly 10 points.
This Election Day, pundits and pollsters could potentially see the President re-elected for 4 more years. They’ll say it’s a shock and that no one saw this coming. But was it really a shock? Considering all the information outside of polling that we know today, would a President Trump victory in a few short weeks truly be the surprise recent polling would make it out it to be?
Ultimately none of us can be sure who will win, but if we just use our eyes it becomes clear that this race is not wrapped up and in the bag for Joe Biden the way pollsters and pundits would lead us to believe.
Evan Berryhill is a lawyer and a political strategist at GOPAC. Formerly, he worked as a communications staffer on Capitol Hill. You can follow him on Twitter @EvBerryhill.