New Polls: Biden Leads By Double Digits, But...

Posted: Jul 17, 2020 10:25 AM
New Polls: Biden Leads By Double Digits, But...

Among the last five national surveys of the 2020 presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden's lead is nearly ten points on average.  If you exclude the two outliers among those five data sets -- Rasmussen's (+3) and Quinnipiac's (-15), the approximate average doesn't change.  President Trump is currently losing his re-election bid, and he knows it, as evidenced by his high-level campaign shakeup announced yesterday.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words or polls, so his struggles are not fake news.  Let's take a look at the new NBC/WSJ poll, which gives Biden an 11-point advantage:

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a double-digit lead nationally over President Donald Trump, with 7 in 10 voters saying the country is on the wrong track and majorities disapproving of the president's handling of the coronavirus and race relations...The poll shows Biden ahead of Trump by 11 points among registered voters, 51 percent to 40 percent, which is well outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Biden's lead in last month's poll was 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent. In addition, the poll shows Democrats enjoying an intensity advantage heading into November, and it has Trump's job rating declining to 42 percent — its lowest level in two years.

Not good, but there are a few bright spots for POTUS and his party: Trump's job approval on the economy is right-side-up by 12 points (54/42), with additional economic indicators improving.  Joe Biden's personal ratings are also down, in spite of his large top line edge, and the 'generic ballot' question has tightened considerably:

Monmouth found a similar effect in the swing state of Pennsylvania:

Down ticket Republicans may be less inclined to hyperventilate into paper bags based on these trends, but each of the last two polls cited still have the guy at the top of the ticket trailing by 11 and 13 points, respectively. Question, though: Could Trump's support be even more under-counted by pollsters than it was 2016?  Allahpundit mined a nugget from the aforementioned Monmouth survey in the Keystone State: "Monmouth’s poll of Pennsylvania yesterday showing Biden up big was headlined 'Biden Leads But Many Anticipate Secret Trump Vote.' The topline number had him ahead of Trump, 53/40, but when people were asked who they thought would actually win the state, the numbers shrank all the way down to a 46/45 advantage — for Trump. Monmouth explored that by following up with the question, 'Do you think there are so-called secret voters in your community who support Donald Trump but wont tell anyone about it, or not really?' Nearly 50 percent said yes, and it wasn’t just optimistic Republicans who thought so. By comparison, just 18 percent thought there were secret Biden voters out there."

People believe there are significant numbers of voters who plan to pull the lever for the president, even if they won't tell anyone -- including pollsters.  I'm willing to buy that the so-called 'shy Trump voter' phenomenon exists, and that it may even be more acute than it was four years ago.  The culture war stuff is real, and I'd imagine that a lot of people who are disgusted by the Left's totalitarian mob actions and cancel culture recriminations might quietly see Trump as a bulwark against such excesses, even if they're scared to say so out loud.  But let's be very generous and say that effect could amount to three or four points in public polling; Trump still has his work cut out for him.  New York Times stats guru Nate Cohn examines this issue in a new analysis:

If the election were held today, Mr. Biden would win the presidency, even if the polls were exactly as wrong as they were four years ago. The reason is simple: His lead is far wider than Hillary Clinton’s was in the final polls, and large enough to withstand another 2016 polling meltdown...This is not to say that President Trump can’t win. There are still nearly four months to go until the election — more than enough time for the race and the polls to change. The race changed on several occasions over the final months in 2016. And this race has already changed significantly in the last four months. According to FiveThirtyEight, three months ago Mr. Biden held a lead of only about four points. And while Mr. Biden can currently survive a 2016-like polling error, there is no reason a polling error couldn’t be even larger in 2020. But for now, his lead is large enough to survive a 2016 repeat and just about every general-election polling error in recent memory...Mr. Biden also enjoys a far wider lead [than Hillary] in the battleground states likeliest to decide the presidency.

For what it's worth, I'll leave you with this assessment of Trump's newly-annointed campaign manager, relayed to me as soon as I touched down at Joint Base Andrews last night, shortly after the news broke:

But is the primary issue personnel and strategy, or the principal?