FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Biden Surges in the Polls But Trump Doubles Down on the Economy to Stop Him

A mid-July Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Biden leads Trump by double digits. It was conducted by telephone among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, with 75 percent reached on cell phones and 25 percent on landlines. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

In sum, Biden leads Trump 55 percent to 40 percent among registered voters, rising from a 10-point lead in May and with only a two-point advantage in March. Despite Trump repeatedly assuring the country that the pandemic is under control, his approval rates have gone south, as Covid-19 infections and deaths have dramatically spread.

However, the Washington Post analysis showed that the margins in the swing states presented a closer race than the national popularity gap between Trump and Biden reveals. Trump does not need to beat Biden in the national polls, he only needs the votes in the swing states, and not that many. Remember, Trump won the election through the electoral college by winning a total of 80,000 votes in three states.

There are two factors which must be taken into account, when looking at this poll and others that show Trump could be facing a likely defeat, if he doesn’t come up with a message that emphasizes his past and potentially future economic gains.

The first factor, as the Post’s reporters concluded, is the pandemic’s debilitating effect on Trump’s image as a competent leader. Biden leads Trump by 54% to 34% in the response to: Who do you trust more to handle the coronavirus outbreak?” Trump’s disapproval rating for handling the coronavirus outbreak was 60%. And when asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?” 57% of the respondents disapproved of his job as president.

These high disapproval ratings would appear to doom Trump’s attempt at being re-elected. But approval ratings are a slippery ledge to hold onto, ask Hillary Clinton. Trumps’ unfavorable rating was 9% above hers. Twelve days before the election, Clinton RealClearPolitics polling-average showed Clinton leading Trump nationally by nearly six points, two points higher than what Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012.

NBC news reported that the Trump campaign was telling reporters, based on their own analytics of Oct. 27, they had just a 15 percent chance of winning. This perspective reinforces the need for Democrats not to assume Trump’s low approval ratings translate into Biden votes. But they do force Trump to divert attention from the pandemic to something else, like the economy.

The second factor underscores how approval rates can miss the intensity of a candidate’s supporters to actually turn out and vote. The Post-ABC News poll showed Trump’s supporters far more enthusiastic for voting for him (69%) versus the level of enthusiastic support for voting for Biden (39%). This may or may not be a problem for Biden.

What is ironic is that CNN reported exit polls from the 2016 race showed that Hillary Clinton’s supporters were more enthusiastic than Trump’s were for him. Of the 28% of voters who made up their mind who to vote for in the last month before the 2016 election, 49% of Trump voters decided then, whereas only 40% of Clinton supporters did. That shows most Clinton voters were already enthused about her campaign. However, as Clinton learned enthusiasm for your campaign is not enough to win.

In the 2020 election, the motivation to defeat the other candidate may be a more deciding factor. While only 21 percent of those intending to vote for Trump say their motivation to vote is to defeat Biden, 67 percent of Biden supporters say it is most important to defeat the president.

This approach is being taken by the Lincoln Project, started and run by dedicated anti-Trump Republicans, who are running stinging media ads attacking Trump’s dangerous personality. They hope to peel away independents and disenchanted Republicans to either sit out the election or even vote for Biden.

Biden’s possible selection of a black female Vice President running mate would be a smart strategic decision to assure that the Black vote does not slip back to what Clinton received as opposed to what Obama did in his two successful campaigns.

According to the Pew Research Center, of validated voters, 98% of Black women voted for Clinton, but their numbers were down from the prior two presidential elections. They not only have the potential to increase their own turnout but may also be able to increase the total Black turnout in November.

That leaves the economy as the issue which Trump must promote to counter Biden’s rise in the polls. Trump has repeatedly mentioned his accomplishments in that arena at every press conference he holds, regardless of the apparent lead issue that he was to address. Trump’s campaign is now being built around that mission.

The cross tabs of the most recent poll show that the majority of all voter’s support Trump over Biden in handling our economy, despite unemployment being at an historic high. When asked: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Trump is handling the economy? Those approving his handling was at 50%, not approving was at 47%.

Even when pitted one-on-one with Biden, asking “Who do you trust more to handle the four critical areas of: the economy, race relations, crime and safety, and the coronavirus outbreak, Trump came out on top only on the economy, but only by a 2% margin.

Expect Trump and the Republican controlled Senate to push for something akin to Trump’s 2018 Tax Cut Act after labor-day, when the swing voters will finally focus on the election. His tax cut apparently did wonders for pumping up his support.

An April 2018 analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, found that Trump’s approval rating jumped from 35% to 42% nationally, in one month. The uptick was particularly evident among key constituent groups:  Men voters went up 8%, Young voters (age 18 to 34) increased from 20% to 30%, Middle-aged voters (35 to 49 years old) up 9 points, and College graduates swung up 10%. Cillizza concluded that the Trump tax cut was the most likely explanation.

That positive bump occurred despite the Democrats and liberal media hollering from the rooftops that most of the benefits went to the richest people. Unlike 2018, the Democrats now control the house and they will not likely approve any kind of Trump tax cut. However, even if they succeeded in stopping one, the Republicans would then blame the Democrats for not wanting to create jobs and save our economy.

Trump and his party must keep the focus on their efforts to bolster our economy. Their only hope to win in November is to distract the public from the devastating pandemic. They need to frame Trump’s refusal to embrace decisive federal rules limiting the pandemic’s spread as a strategy to open up our businesses again.

Trump’s play is to redouble his efforts to convince his white, blue color voter base, most importantly in the swing states he won last time, that only he can revive the economy. The problem Republican candidates face this November is that the polls show the public is seriously doubting that message. If the polls continue on a pro-Biden trajectory, those candidates may find themselves dragged down with Trump – and the Republican Senate could be no more.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail