Let’s take a closer look at this new ABC poll, which tracks changes in Trump’s hypothetical performance against the top tier of potential Democratic candidates between July and right now.
Bottom line: Trump’s odds appear to have declined drastically since July, especially versus both Warren and Sanders. (Although the poll uses both all respondents and registered voters, I’m going to use registered voters because that’s generally a more accurate cohort for making election predictions. For example, a year from the 2016 election Clinton led Trump in this same poll by 12 points among all respondents but by only three points among registered voters. In any event, the differences in this poll between the two groups are actually small).
Trump v. Warren in July: Even
Trump v. Warren now: Warren +15
Trump v. Sanders in July: Sanders +1
Trump v. Sanders now: Sanders +14
Trump v. Biden in July: Biden +10
Trump v. Biden now: Biden +17
Trump v. Buttigieg in July: Even
Trump v. Buttigieg now: Buttigieg +11
(Harris is also included in the poll, but I’m leaving her out since her campaign appears to be winding down rapidly).
Yes, I haven’t forgotten since yesterday that the election is decided by the absurd and indefensible Electoral College rather than the national popular vote, but there’s no realistic scenario (yet: just wait another 20 years) where a candidate could lose the popular vote by a double digit percentage and still win the EC.
So this is all very encouraging, although it comes with many caveats, the two biggest ones by far being:
(1) The right wing scream machine and its many fellow travelers in Even the Liberal Media have yet to unleash their talents on the eventual Democratic nominee, who I can tell you right now has some very troubling things in his or her past that raise troubling questions of a troubling nature; and
(2) There’s not the slightest doubt that Trump and the Republican party will try to flat-out steal the election via massive vote suppression and other corrupt hijinks, and that they will get help in this regard from a country whose name rhymes with Prussia but that starts with an “r.”
One traditional caveat that in my view doesn’t really apply is the observation that it’s a long time from the election. Every indication is that Trump’s popularity or lack thereof with the general voting public is now largely baked in (Note how even the killing a couple of weeks ago of Mr. #1 Scary Terrorist seems to have had no effect). 40% of Americans are going to support him no matter what, 55% hate him, and 5% are very confused people.
This of course is what the ABC poll itself reflects over and over again, but it’s also a somewhat misleading generalization.
Getting granular: Ignorant white men absolutely love themselves some Donald Trump. Among non-college educated white men, Trump beats Sanders by 30 points, Biden by 37 points, and Warren by 41 points.
Yet among college educated white women, Trump is losing by what are astounding margins, considering the whiteness factor: By 23 points to Sanders, by 33 points to Warren, and by 35 points to Biden.
Trump is getting completely destroyed among non-whites (this apparently includes all Hispanics), losing by between 55 and 59 points against the three major Democratic candidates.
Amusingly (not really) the ABC reporters write these data up like this:
The Democrats have risks of their own. Their support is heavily concentrated in a handful of groups – for example, young adults, those with more education, racial and ethnic minorities, people living in urban areas and those in the states Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
That “handful of groups” collectively adds up to like 70% of the entire country’s population but whatevs.
Still, we have the Electoral College, the right wing media’s talent for whipping the mob into a non-stop frenzy, the mainstream media’s apparently irrevocable blood oath to cover a contest between liberal democracy and fascism as if it were a goddamned football game, and the increasingly open willingness of the Republican party to treat elections as essentially illegitimate threats to the right of the Right People to rule America.
And beyond all this, winning the Senate — which is even more anti-democratically rigged than the presidency — is almost as important as removing Donald Trump from office.
There’s a lot of work to do over the next 363 days, but this country can still be semi-salvaged, at least for awhile, in the voting booth.
OK that’s not a super inspiring slogan — I’m sure you all can come up with some better ones.
ETA: I wrote this post without seeing Erik’s. They go together like peanut butter and jelly — focus on his if you’re an optimistic type and mine if you like to listen to Tonight’s the Night on the regular.