Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day 2020: Swing-State Comparison of Biden v. Hillary Clinton

Today, Labor Day, is the unofficial start of the 2020 campaign.  Actually, it is more like the start of the

sprint to Election Day, November 3rd.  I thought it would be a good idea to check in on polls in the several swing states.  Below I provide the current current polling margin between the candidates (as determined by FiveThirtyEight's average of polls) as well as who won that state, and his/her margin in 2016.  Finally, I provide the improvement as to where Biden is now as opposed to where Hillary Clinton finished in 2016.

State               Current Margin     2016 Victory Margin    Biden Improvement
Arizona               4.6 Biden               3.5 Trump                    +8.1
Florida                2.8 Biden               1.2 Trump                    +4.0
Georgia               1.4 Trump              5.1 Trump                    +3.7
Iowa                    1.6 Trump              9.4 Trump                    +7.6
Michigan             6.7 Biden               0.3 Trump                    +7.0
Minnesota           6.3 Biden               1.5 Clinton                   +7.8
Nevada                6.5 Biden               2.4 Clinton                   +4.1
New Hampshire  8.2 Biden               0.3 Clinton                   +7.9
Ohio                    1.9 Trump              8.1 Trump                    +6.2
Pennsylvania       4.5 Biden               0.7 Trump                    +5.2
Texas                   1.0 Trump              9.0 Trump                    +8.0
Wisconsin           6.9 Biden                0.7 Trump                    +7.6

The comparison shows Biden improving on Hillary Clinton's election result in all 12 of the swing states.  In no state is that improvement less than 3.7 points.  

Some have argued that Biden's position now is no better than where Hillary Clinton's was in 2016 at the same time.  While that conclusion involves a selective reading of the polls, even if that position is accepted as true, Trump is still not in a good position.  The 2020 polls are much less fluid than they were in 2016.  In fact, Biden's lead has been the steadiest on record.  Plus, the number of undecided voters going into 2020 is about 1/3 of what they were in 2016.   Then you have the fact 2020 features an incumbent, while there was no incumbent in 2016.  Re-election campaigns are inevitably a referendum on the incumbent.  None of this is good news for Trump.

OOP's short takes:

  • It was entertaining watching Trump sycophants this weekend trying to push back against the Atlantic story that Trump called Americans killed in battle during World War I "losers" and "suckers."  In addition to those comments, the Atlantic article reported on other disparaging remarks Trump had supposedly said about military service, statements completely consistent with things Trump has been reported saying over the years.   What those opposed to Trump do not understand, however, is that, at the end of the day, it does not matter what proof is offered (or even if Trump is caught on video making those disparaging comments like he was with regard to POWs.)  It is not that Trumpers do not believe Trump would say such things (they actually think he would)... it is that they do not care.  
  • It is similar to the allegation that the Trump campaign had encouraged and willingly accepted the help of Russia to win the 2016 campaign.  When evidence surfaced proving the allegation, Trumpers did not care.  If anything, the fact Putin helped Trump win, just made Trumpers like Putin even more.  If you today polled Trumpers about who they like better, Vladimar Putin or Utah Senator Mitt Romney, most Republicans would say they prefer the murderous dictator.
  • A curious thing about the polls.  When self-identified Republicans are asked who they will vote, well over 90% say they will support Trump. But when self-identified conservatives are asked the same question, there is always a large drop-off in Trump support.   Take the CNN poll released on September 2nd.  In the poll 93% of Republicans said they would support Trump.  But only 77% of those who call themselves conservatives say they will support Trump.  (Looking at it from the opposite direction, 5% of Republicans say they will support Biden, while 19% of conservatives support the Vice-President.)  Translation:  A lot of conservatives are not identifying with the (formerly?) conservative Republican Party.

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