Having suffered third-degree burns by pollsters in the past, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and non-registered voters who keyboard critique politicians are bracing themselves once again. Those who take the pulse of the nation annoyingly continue to ask the same questions garnering the expected responses. Case in point, a series of recent polls by The New York Times and Siena College has Joe Biden edging out the incumbent president of the United States, Donald Trump.
The survey shows Mr. Biden averaging a nine-point lead over President Trump in several designated battleground states – Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — which Trump won in 2016. These six states have 101 electorate votes up for grabs. With 270 votes needed to win the whole kit and kaboodle, these states can make or break a clean sweep.
America, We Have Been Here Before
Four years ago, Bloomberg News released a poll touting Hillary Clinton as being double digits ahead of then-candidate Trump. CNN cooed that a 12-point lead by Clinton was devastating news to her opponent, “Particularly damaging for Trump: 55% of those surveyed said they would never vote for him.”
Expert analysis from the pollster J. Ann Selzer hammered home certain victory for Hillary. “Clinton has a number of advantages in this poll, in addition to her lead. Her supporters are more enthusiastic than Trump’s, and more voters overall see her becoming a more appealing candidate than say that for Trump.”
So, to paraphrase a losing candidate, “What happened?”
Selzer, apparently, did not take in the crowd sizes filling stadiums and overflow parking lots for candidate Trump rallies, while Clinton was pulling 3,000 to 5,000 an event.
The outcome of 2016 shocked all but Trump fans. And struggling through the 2020 election year, it would appear Trump’s base has broadened. Americans do not much believe what the media reports. It is doubtful folks will take the time to scrutinize every poll conducted – that’s the media’s job. But even conservative-bashing Morning Consult admitted the news media is taking a hit for putting a biased spin on issues: “trend data finds Americans’ views of the fourth estate’s credibility have hit a new low.”
So why bother believing the numbers? It appears even the candidates eschew the results.
A Poll by Any Other Name? Interpretation.
Poll after poll is released – some daily – leading up to a presidential Election Day. And although both Trump and Biden tout their numbers or discount the other guy’s, the two candidates have somewhat ignored the headlines and dismissed the pundits spinning the stats.
But what neither campaign is setting aside is the six states that hold a combined 101 electoral votes. Look for Trump to schedule campaign rallies and the business of the nation in each one – or every state, as Trump is wont to do. Perhaps Biden will emerge from his basement and stomp through the country as well.
To assume that the polls’ nine-point lead for Biden is a harbinger of doom for Trump and Republicans would be folly for the Democrats. Considering that Biden has stayed mostly in his basement, Americans may have forgotten Joe’s cognitive decline and short-temper, and Trump wrestles with a pandemic, riots, looting, and civil unrest. Do the poll numbers represent reality? We will find out in November.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.