Home / General / Thesis: an out-of-control pandemic, peaceful mass protest and economic depression are bad for an unpopular incumbent

Thesis: an out-of-control pandemic, peaceful mass protest and economic depression are bad for an unpopular incumbent


A new Fox poll has Trump down 9 points in Florida. I dunno, maybe “let your grandma die so Red Robin can get a few more customers” is not a message that is going to persuade a lot of seniors to vote for Trump. This is just one poll, but the systematic national numbers are no better:

First, Biden’s lead has clearly widened in the past month. He now leads by more than 9 points, but on May 25, Biden led by an average of only 5.8 points (48.9 percent to 43.1 percent). On that day, though, police officers killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, touching off weeks of protests nationwide. Americans gave Trump poor marks for his heavy-handed response, such as his administration’s use of the military to clear protesters from in front of the White House so he could pose for a photo. In addition, voter approval of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic continues to sink, and the president has faced several other controversies in the past week or so. So while we can’t say for sure how much these events might be driving Biden’s increasing advantage in the polls, it seems probable that recent events have hurt Trump’s reelection chances.

But some people have dismissed Biden’s lead by pointing out that Hillary Clinton also led in most polls of the 2016 election (Clinton, obviously, ended up losing to Trump). While this is true, Clinton’s lead was much smaller. Applying our current polling-average methodology to 2016 polls, Clinton led national polls by an average of about 4.0 points four months before the 2016 election, and 3.8 points on Election Day itself. So while a normal-sized polling error was enough to throw the 2016 election to Trump, it would take a much bigger — and much unlikelier — polling error for Trump to be ahead right now.

Another thing about the Floyd protests and the pandemic is that along with The Trump Show is that they’re constant sources of news, that pre-empt the kind of ratfucking that needed bored media people to go along and barely saved Trump’s ass in 2016. Nor is he doing well in the battleground states that allowed him to win the Electoral College. (Indeed, it’s quite remarkable that AFICT almost nobody thinks Trump has any chance of winning the popular vote; the only question is whether it can be close enough for the framers to overrule the people again.)

As Paul says don’t be complacent and act as if it’s a dead heat, etc., but Biden is an a much stronger position now than Clinton ever was.

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