Thursday, October 22, 2020

Ten Reasons Why Biden's 2020 Polling Lead is Different From Hillary's 2016 Lead

Trump supporters want more than anything to believe that 2020 is 2016, that polls which show Biden winning are wrong and that Trump will once again draw to an inside straight, prevailing in enough swing states to win the Electoral College.

But 2020 differs from 2016 in many respects.  Here are a few:

1) INCUMBENCY:  In 2016, Trump ran as an outsider.  In 2020, Trump is the incumbent and the election is a referendum on him.

2) BIDEN'S POPULARITY:  In 2016, Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, was very unpopular.  Despite Trump's flailing efforts, Biden is more popular now than he was months

ago.  Biden is much more popular than Hillary Clinton was at this point.

3) TRUMP'S FLAILING CAMPAIGN:  Trump in 2016 was able to stay on message the last few weeks of the campaign.  Trump in 2020 is unfocused and often ends turns media's attention to issues, like the pandemic, which are harmful to him.

4) GRIEVANCES:  Trump in 2016, campaigned on the grievances voters had.  In 2020, Trump is campaigning on his own personal grievances.  (I stole this observation from someone else.)

5) BIDEN'S POLL LEAD:  In 2020, Biden has a bigger lead in national polls than Hillary did in 2016, and he is competitive in a lot more states.  Further, unlike 2016, Biden's lead over Trump has been remarkably stable and consistent.  

7)  UNDECIDED VOTERS:  There are a lot fewer undecided voters in 2020 than there were in 2016.  In 2016, Trump won the votes of a majority of undecided voters.

8)  DOUBLE HATER VOTERS:  In 2016, the voters who disliked both Trump and Clinton, sharply favored Trump when casting a ballot.  In 2020, these double hater voters have a strong preference for Biden.

9) NO STRONG THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES:  In 2016, the Libertarian and Green parties fielded candidates who drained off a significant percent of the vote in key states.  The third party candidates this time around are not nearly as strong.

10) CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS:  Since 2016, the electorate has become more racially diverse. Further, a significant percentage of Trump's older supporters have died off and been replaced by younger voters not favorable to Trump or Republicans.  The website FiveThirtyEight did an analysis which showed that if the 2020 vote was the same as 2016, changing demographic and deaths alone would tip Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida to Biden.

OOP's short takes:

  • There are few things I find more entertaining than to go to Twitter and watch Trump supporters work to convince themselves that Trump is actually ahead of the polls and is coasting to re-electin, maybe even by a landslide!  @PollWatch2020 tries to find these Trump-friendly poll results and publicize them.  Enjoy.
  • My favorite so far is   The author takes reputable state polls and then "adjusts" them, sometimes by as many as 10 points, so Trump comes out ahead...always!  So incredibly stupid...but entertaining nonetheless.
  • Another favorite  of mine is the Democracy Institute, the only pollster in America which shows Trump ahead in the national polls.  DI's polls are so questionable that the conservative RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight won't even acknowledge they exist.  FYI, it appears from an explanation of DI's methodology that the "pollster" might be doing a significant adjustment for "shy Trump" voters, a dubious concept that has been rejected by most analysts.  FYI, DI brags on the homepage of its website about the coverage its polls are getting on Trump-friendly media outlets.  Hmm, could DI be cooking the numbers to get coverage that might prove profitable?  Is the Pope Catholic?

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