A new Siena College/NY Times poll of six battleground states
finds if the other 44 states and DC have the same 2016 results, Donald Trump would lose to Joe Biden 318-220 among likely voters, but he would beat Bernie Sanders 280-248 with Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes a tossup, and would crush Liz Warren with the same results from 2016, minus Arizona as a toss-up.
Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election, according to a set of new surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College.
Across the six closest states that went Republican in 2016, he trails Joe Biden by an average of two points among registered voters but stays within the margin of error.
Mr. Trump leads Elizabeth Warren by two points among registered voters, the same margin as his win over Hillary Clinton in these states three years ago.
The poll showed Bernie Sanders deadlocked with the president among registered voters, but trailing among likely voters.
The results suggest that Ms. Warren, who has emerged as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination, might face a number of obstacles in her pursuit of the presidency. The poll supports concerns among some Democrats that her ideology and gender — including the fraught question of “likability” — could hobble her candidacy among a crucial sliver of the electorate. And not only does she underperform her rivals, but the poll also suggests that the race could be close enough for the difference to be decisive.
In national polls, Mr. Trump’s political standing has appeared to be in grave jeopardy. His approval ratings have long been in the low 40s, and he trails Mr. Biden by almost nine points in a national polling average. But as the 2016 race showed, the story in the battleground states can be quite different. Mr. Trump won the election by sweeping Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina — even while losing the national vote by two points.
Democrats would probably need to win three of the six states to win the White House, assuming other states voted as they did in 2016 — an outcome that is not at all assured.
Having a likely voter model a year away from an election with impeachment in play is an...interesting choice. But the fact all of these results are within the margin of error shows that Trump is going to get smashed in blue states, but still can play in battleground states.
Here's the big issue:
The major demographic cleavages of the 2016 election also remain intact. Mr. Trump struggles badly among college-educated white voters and nonwhite voters, though there are signs his standing among the latter group has improved modestly since the last presidential election. He counters with a wide lead among white voters who did not graduate from a four-year college.
In contrast to recent national surveys, the Times/Siena polls find that the president’s lead among white, working-class voters nearly matches his decisive advantage from 2016. This group represents nearly half of registered voters in these states, and a majority in the Northern battlegrounds that decided the last election.
The poll offers little evidence that any Democrat, including Mr. Biden, has made substantial progress toward winning back the white working-class voters who defected to the president in 2016, at least so far. All the leading Democratic candidates trail in the precincts or counties that voted for Barack Obama and then flipped to Mr. Trump.
That's the key. If Trump is keeping non-college white voters, and is actually doing slightly better among non-white voters, then he wins.
BUT. And there's a huge but here...
The other 44 states and DC? I don't think they're going to be the same as 2016. I don't think that at all. I think Trump is in real trouble in Iowa and Georgia. If the electoral college map follows Trump's state-by-state approval ratings, he loses 358-180, a crushing defeat
I don't buy this poll's likely voter model.
Not at all. Two-thirds of Americans say Trump has not personally made their lives better off
since being elected. 2016 is not 2020, and pretending it is is stupid.
This poll does precisely that. Besides, it has Trump getting like 15% of the black vote.
Not happening. This poll is garbage.