Yet another poll, this time from ABC News and the Washington Post, finds Joe Biden up 15 points among registered voters, and ten points among the poll's likely voter model.
President Donald Trump’s bad poll numbers are getting worse.
The latest data point: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday shows Trump 15 points behind former Vice President Joe Biden among registered voters, 55 percent to 40 percent.
The margin is closer among likely voters, 54 percent for Biden and 44 percent for Trump, but whichever margin you look at, the survey is the fifth consecutive high-quality national poll — those conducted by live phone interviewers — to show Biden ahead of Trump by 10 points or more. Of the nine such polls conducted since the second half of June, Biden has led Trump by double digits in seven of them.
The surveys conducted over the past month put Biden in an enviable, even historic position. He has a greater advantage over the incumbent going into the final few months of the campaign than any challenger since Bill Clinton, who seized the lead in the summer of 1992 after third-party candidate Ross Perot dropped out.
Trump’s poll numbers — so stagnant for the first three years of his presidency — have taken a significant hit as a result of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Biden’s long career has left him fairly defined already, as the Trump campaign has begun a barrage of attacks ads on TV nationally and in swing states. And while Trump voters are more enthusiastic about their candidate, Biden voters are also highly interested in voting — if only to oust Trump from the Oval Office.
Trump's starting to be in real trouble now, and his most recent actions show it.
Prior to the release of the ABC News/Washington Post poll Sunday morning, Biden held a 9-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average — a little lower than the live-caller polls suggest, mostly because of the inclusion of a GOP-friendler result from the automated firm Rasmussen Reports.
Still, that 9-point lead puts Biden in unusually commanding territory for a challenger. Only two challengers at this stage of the campaign — John Kerry in 2004 and Michael Dukakis in 1988, who was running against an incumbent vice president — ended up losing, and each held a smaller lead than Biden’s. (Dukakis would even pad his lead before losing it completely, thanks to a convention bump that receded quickly in August.)
For a more recent comparison, Biden’s advantage well outstrips the lead Hillary Clinton had at this point in the 2016 race, when she led Trump by 3 points in the RealClearPolitics average. Clinton’s lead would briefly top out at an 8-point lead in early August, and then again crest to 7 points in the immediate aftermath of the “Access Hollywood” video in October.
Biden is also much closer to earning majority support than Clinton at this point before the last presidential election. As of July 19, 2016, Clinton was only at 44 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, well short of Biden's 49 percent — and that Biden number is before the ABC News/Washington Post poll with him at 54 percent was added to the average.
Trump's response is fourfold: he's already taking hostages on the expected COVID-19 relief bill this week, he's sending out federal troops to terrorize urban and suburban voters, he's gaslighting Americans on voting-by-mail (this ABC/WaPo poll finds 49% of Americans now believe mail-in voting is vulnerable to fraud) and he's trying to demoralize Black and Latino voters like he did successfully in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump’s campaign is pouring millions of dollars into a plan to weaken Joe Biden among swing state voters of color — and it’s creating a sense of déjà vu among Democratic operatives.
Trump’s team is airing TV advertisements aimed at Black and Latino voters that attack the presumptive Democratic nominee over his past support of the 1994 crime bill, which led to increased incarceration, particularly among people of color, as well as his mental fitness in Spanish-language spots. It’s a sign that Trump aides, while struggling to find a consistent and effective line of attack against Biden, have settled on at least one strategy: dilute Biden’s strength among minority voters.
“It’s very clear the Trump campaign is trying to use much of the same playbook from 2016,” said Karen Finney, Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson during that campaign. “This should be a blaring call to all Democrats running for office this year, specifically Biden, that you cannot take anything for granted with Black voters, period. Because we made that mistake in 2016, and ended up with, just as an example, Hillary underperforming in Milwaukee, which has a high African American population.”
In the past three weeks alone, the Trump team has spent more than $2 million on the advertisements in six swing states and nationally, according to Advertising Analytics. The blueprint is similar to the one they successfully executed against Clinton in 2016, when the campaign helped drive down turnout among African American voters in key battleground states by focusing on her past comments about “superpredators" and advocacy for the crime bill. In 2016, Black voter turnout dropped in a presidential race for the first time in two decades, plummeting from nearly 67 percent to just under 60 percent, per Pew.
Biden campaign officials contend that there are key differences between now and 2016: Trump was widely expected to lose, they point out, making it easier at the time to persuade people to stay at home. Now, voters have seen 3½ years of his job performance, including, they say, his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately harmed Black and Latino Americans as well as his fanning the flames of racism amid nationwide protests against police brutality.
At the same time, “We're taking nothing for granted — the Vice President has a long history with the African-American community and we are reinforcing that," wrote Patrick Bonsignore, Biden’s director of paid media, in a June memo obtained by POLITICO.
I'm glad the Biden camp is taking this seriously, because they are going to need every vote. Trump has shown his hand and he's playing some of his most powerful cards, and we still have 15 weeks to go.
But all of that leads up to this.
President Trump declined to say whether he will accept the results of the November election, claiming without evidence that mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic could “rig” the outcome.
In a wide-ranging interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, the president also continued to play down the severity of the coronavirus crisis in the country, declined to say whether he is offended by the Confederate flag and dismissed polls showing him trailing former vice president Joe Biden by a significant margin.
The interview comes as the 2020 campaign has been upended by the pandemic, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States. Most in-person events have been canceled, and both political parties are planning to hold smaller-scale conventions to limit the spread of the virus.
Several states switched to primarily vote-by-mail primaries earlier this year, and the U.S. Postal Service is bracing for an onslaught of mail-in ballots this fall as states and cities seek alternatives to in-person voting.
In the “Fox News Sunday” interview, Wallace asked Trump whether he considers himself a “gracious” loser.
Trump replied that he doesn’t like to lose, then added: “It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do.” Trump’s comment echoed unfounded claims he has made in recent weeks that mail-in voting is susceptible to widespread fraud.
“Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election?” Wallace asked.
Trump responded, “No. I have to see.”
Later in the interview, pressed on whether he will accept the results of the November election, Trump again declined to say.
Trump does bluster a lot, but he's also made good on a lot of his threats.
The odds of a peaceful transition to the Biden administration is very, very low.
We need to be ready.