With the election just around the corner, many have compared the election polls of this year with those conducted in 2016. Some of these comparisons have left voters confused and frustrated, but several key indicators may be able to shed light on the current political landscape.
The New York Times recently released a report which attempts to explain why a majority of polls show Joe Biden with a stronger lead over Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton had. The answer lies in a breakdown of racial demographics. Polls in 2016 hinted that Trump’s support among white voters could lead to an upset. It did.
This year, Biden may have cut into Trump’s lead with expected older white voters, but Trump has made new inroads with black and Hispanic voters. Among non-white voters, Biden has a 42-point lead over President Trump, nine points behind the 51-point lead that Clinton had four years ago.
Clinton was criticized for campaigning too much in the state of Georgia. The New York Times suggests that Trump’s growing support with non-white voters should strengthen his lead in Georgia if he can take some Democrat votes in Atlanta.
Still, Biden has aggressively pursued Georgia, declaring that “if we win Georgia, we win everything.” The former vice president’s statement may be correct, but it’s unlikely to happen.
“Nonwhite men may like the president for the same kind of reasons that white men do, like a macho appeal,” the Times writes. “And the president’s populism may have some appeal to blue-collar men of all races and ethnic groups. Hispanic voters said they preferred Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump to handle the economy, but by only an eight-point margin.”
Before the pandemic, Trump likely gained support from black and Hispanic citizens across the Sun Belt because of the strong economy. The latter suggests that Trump can hold the crucial state of Florida. Most Florida polls are within a margin of error, and Trump carried Florida by 1.2% in 2016.
Many have also noted that African Americans didn’t turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton as they had in elections past. Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly — an independent media voice — argued that African Americans aren’t a lock for Joe Biden either:
“If African Americans stay home, as they did with Hillary Clinton, and I don’t think African-Americans are jazzed for Joe. I don’t think they’re going, ‘We got to have Joe Biden.’ I don’t think so. I could be wrong. If they kind of sit it out and say, ‘I don’t really like these people, and Trump’s done a pretty good job economically,’ that will swing Pennsylvania and Michigan to President Trump.
“I just got that gut feeling, African-American voters are not big on Joe. I know they’re Democrats and all of that, but if Trump can get 15 percent, and that’s almost double what he got last time, among African-Americans, excuse me, he’ll take Michigan and Pennsylvania.”
That’s the good news for Trump supporters. The bad news is that the trade-off still favors Biden.
“White voters outnumber nonwhite voters by more than two to one, and by an even greater ratio in the most important battleground states,” The Times report notes.
Polls currently show Biden with a comfortable lead in Michigan and Wisconsin. According to OutKick’s map breakdown, if Biden wins both states, Trump must win Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Biden’s gain among white voters without a college degree is key. The piece states that Trump’s edge fell in states such as Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Polls suggest that Trump is losing the first three, which makes Pennsylvania, where Biden has a narrow lead, the most critical state on the map.
The loss of white voters may also be problematic for Republicans in the Senate. With so much attention on the Trump-Biden race, voters may have overlooked some important Senate races. There are 23 Senate Republicans up for re-election this year. Democrats have only 12. Right now, the Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. If Biden were to win the presidency, his chances of packing the court would rest on whether the Senate goes blue or not.
The Times believes that a strong campaign surge in June following the death of George Floyd has led to Biden’s lead, claiming that “white voters overwhelmingly disapproved of the president’s handling of the protests in the aftermath.”
This report is particularly interesting because it defies the media narrative. Many media outlets have argued that Trump’s support has grown among white males without a college degree and has lost everyone else. It’s actually the opposite.
Even if the findings of this report don’t change the entire map, they could have ramifications if next Tuesday is close.
Six days to go.
Follow Bobby Burack on Twitter @burackbobby_.