With Sunday’s release of a Wall Street Journal/NBC National poll, we now have a third data point this week showing Joe Biden with a big lead. From a 9 point lead in WSJ/NBC to CNN’s Biden +10 to Quinnipiac’s even more bullish +11, there’s a clear trend line. The LeanTossup average, which includes all polling of the Biden versus Donald Trump race, not just those three, has the race at Biden +8.2% currently, and no matter what electoral college advantage Donald Trump has – as he did in 2016 – he would lose if that popular vote result were to come through. Entering the (incredibly likely, although, not technically guaranteed) general election matchup, the Democrats have to be favored.
If the Democrats were to win by the average’s 8.2%, that would represent a 6.1% swing since the 2016 Presidential Election, enough to swing 7 states, and the election – Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona – on a uniform swing. The Democrats need three of those under most constructions of the Electoral College, and such a wide popular vote lead would result in a rebuke to Trump and the GOP.
Now, none of this is to say that Biden can’t blow this lead and lose the election – the polls could be wrong, things could change, these recent polls showing Biden ahead could be influenced by the global health issues, or all of the above. Biden’s propensity for gaffes could also come into play over the months left, but to sugarcoat this is a disservice to people – Donald Trump is an underdog to be re-elected.
The state polls don’t show a much different picture – while not as strong for the Democratic challenger, Biden currently leads by 4.8% in Michigan, 3.8% in Pennsylvania, 3.4% in North Carolina, and 5% in Arizona, per Real Clear Politics averages. In addition to those four states – which would be enough for a reasonably robust victory, Trump is only down 0.5% in Florida and tied in Wisconsin – and leading in 3 of the five most recent Wisconsin polls. Even in Texas, where the GOP won the Presidency by 9% last time, is close, with Trump only up 2.6%, and with a CNN poll of the state showing Biden winning by 1%. Even if Texas doesn’t flip – and that appears to be likelier than not, as of today – the GOP having to play defense in the Lone Star State is a disaster – a load of money, effort, and visits that now don’t get to go to Michigan or Florida or other more traditional backgrounds. The picture in the Senate, additionally, is worsening, as Mark Kelly stretches his lead in Arizona over appointed incumbent Martha McSally to 8% on average, and Susan Collins falls behind in two recent polls in Arizona. Steve Bullock’s announcement of a run for Montana Senate adds complications for the GOP, as incumbent Senator Steve Daines has publicly called for a Trump visit – a day in the calendar that now can’t go to a swing state at the Presidential level.
For the Republicans, the warning lights are going off – Trump’s in trouble at the top of the ticket, their defensive Senate map is widening, and the Democrats are nominating the moderate option. They aren’t out of the race now, or at any point until the networks have been able to call the election in November, but it’s been a bad few weeks for the RNC and the Trump campaign. They better hope too many more of these weeks don’t happen soon, or their troubles may get too bad to come back from.
Evan Scrimshaw (@EScrimshaw) is Managing Editor and Head Of Content at LeanTossup.ca and a contributor to the Decision Desk HQ.