Here are the results of the high quality, live caller national polls, that have been released in the two weeks since news of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, MN and the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality: Joe Biden +14% (CNN/SSRS), 11% Biden lead (Monmouth), and a pair of 7% leads (NBC/WSJ and NPR/Marist). Morning Consult is showing the biggest lead they’ve shown so far at Biden +8%, Optimus is back to a D+11% Presidential with their Likely Voter screen, and a trio of other pollsters on Monday released polls showing Biden up double digits – RMG Research, Garin-Hart-Young Research, and Harris X. In every case, the polls are showing a swing to Biden since their previous poll with the exception of NBC/WSJ, which was static. Given all this evidence, the GOP are in trouble.
CNN asked in their poll if the ongoing protests were justified, and over 80% said yes. There’s clearly been a break to Biden in public opinion, and that movement has been seen across method of polling, in both RV and LV screens, and with the same kinds of voters. Joe Biden is winning because he is closing the gap with white voters, and it is being seen across the polls.
What Biden is doing is a very tricky double, essentially. He is marrying the anti-chaos reactions of many white voters, especially those with degrees, to an immense degree while holding Obama-esque shares of working class, non-degree whites. He is winning the voters who gave the Democrats the House by upwards of 25% per CNN while holding his losses with White Non-College voters to the high teens in both NBC/WSJ and CNN. That coalition – holding the overall white margin to a near tie while winning non-white voters – is the most efficient possible coalition in the US, and either means that the South is in play (if Southern Non-College whites are moving at all to Biden) or the Rust Belt is just moving to Biden at a rapid pace (if Southern Non-college whites are staying ruby red). Either way, Trump needs to fix this or he’s done.
The problem for the President is that a sense that things are chaotic is not good for your chances of re-election. The polls are showing that this has not been good for his chances of a second term, and he now has less time than he did three months ago. Wednesday is the 3 month anniversary of the day that any chance Bernie Sanders could keep the Democratic Primary competitive was lost when Biden won Michigan (amongst other March 10th wins), and Trump has seen Biden’s margin grow larger and larger. Time is running out for the President, and the swing state polling isn’t any better than the national ones. Down 12% in Michigan, down 9% in Wisconsin, and down 4% in Arizona is the election, if you assume that there won’t be a 10% split between Wisconsin and Pennsylvania this year, after almost nearly matching each other in 2016 (or that Biden wins the Nebraska 2nd, which Hillary Clinton only lost by 2%).
At some point the GOP will not just have to reckon with the true state of the President’s re-elect but figure out what they are going to do to fix it. It’s all well and good to have partisan pollsters write memos saying everything is fine, but it’s another to figure out why painting Joe Biden as an out of touch elitist isn’t working in the way that it did with Hillary, and consequently what to do about it. If the President is serious about winning, he’ll try and reframe his arguments and maybe try a different approach. But if he keeps doing nothing but the same old Hillary playbook, it won’t work, and we will see his numbers stay where they are – way too low to win again. It’s fair to say the competitiveness of this election comes down to whether Trump and his team are willing and able to do that work.
Evan Scrimshaw (@EScrimshaw) is Managing Editor and Head Of Content at LeanTossup.ca and a contributor to Decision Desk HQ.