Biden Gains Ground in Battleground Polls

The latest Morning Consult numbers are more bad news for Trump.

“The Electoral College” by LOC is in the Public Domain, CC0

The newest batch of polling by Morning Consult of several key battleground states show substantial weakness for Trump in states that he won in 2016: Extensive New Battleground Polling Shows Biden Gaining Ground. In twelve key states, nine of which Trump won in 2016, he only leads in one (Ohio) and in tied another (NC). The rest are currently polling pro-Biden.

Even if we assume some tightening, which is likely, the numbers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are especially striking. The Arizona number leaps out of me because it has a red state, and if Biden is up by 7 then that means the chances that the Democrats will take that Senate seat are solid. Of course, if Trump loses MI, PA, and WI his goose is almost certainly cooked regardless of any other dramatic outcomes.

It is worth noting that MI, PA, and WI are all showing Biden with at least 50% support.

I still cannot imagine Texas going blue, but the fact that it is close at all is quite striking and speaks to Trump’s lack of popularity.

Speaking of which, the latest numbers from FiveThirtyEight show Trump’s popularity at its lowest point since February of 2019:

It is hard to win re-election, even with the Electoral College, when one’s popularity if 40.1% and 55.8% of the population does not approve of your job performance. Indeed, if those numbers were to actually reflect the popular vote, the EC would be irrelevant.

He also near peak disapproval, 57.2%, back in late 2017.

All obvious caveats apply: it is still July and the pandemic is going to influence voter behavior. Still, there is little doubt that one would rather be in Biden’s position at the moment, rather than Trump’s.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    Texas shows the biggest swing since 2016 on that chart. So it’s likely that there’s some sampling error helping it along, I think. Still, that’s dramatic, especially compared to FL or OH, which we thought of as “battleground” states in recent cycles. For some reason OH now appears to be solidly red, and FL resists swinging to blue much more than TX. I don’t fully understand that, but I think I’ve read that it’s due to growing urban populations in TX.

  2. Scott F. says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Regarding TX leaning bluer than OH in these results, I suspect the fact that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine hasn’t responded to COVID-19 in lockstep with Trump to the extent that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has might have something to do with it.

    Maybe the direct experience of overwhelmed ICUs at your local hospital can lead one to question allegiances.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    For the nominal R states that are suffering large Covid issues i.e. Tex, Fla and AZ, Biden’s numbers will regress if the virus ameliorates between now and the election. If the virus continues to rage, Joe might take all but the deep South and the R states that aren’t suffering as greatly.

  4. Kathy says:

    It may be that Trump the Colossal Wreck is hastening the demographic move towards the Democratic side.

    But it’s a mistake to read too much into atypical situations. And things don’t get more atypical than the 2016 election, or the sorely needed correction hopefully we’ll see now.

    So I’ll stop making predictions or providing explanations for the recent past. Instead I’ll say I see much hope in these numbers, because what America needs is a solid rejection of Trump, a landslide defeat.

    Heinlein was wrong. There isn’t always a candidate worth voting against. Sometimes there is a candidate worth voting out. This is one of those times.

    America, and the world, needs Trump to lose by over 100 electoral votes. I’ve no hope of a Reaganesque score of over 500 Electoral votes, but a Clinton- or Obama-like 360-370 seems well within reach. I’d like more, but IMO that’s about the range we can hope for.

    We also need Trump to lose in red sates like Arizona, Georgia, or Texas. If he does, and if the GOP loses the Senate, that makes it more likely the establishment will reject whatever it is Trump stands for, or whatever his toxic base thinks he stands for.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    Don’t feel down, Trump supporters, there’s always hope

  6. Scott F. says:

    I wanted to second all this.

  7. de stijl says:


    I know where you filched “Colossal Wreck” from you sneaky sneak!

    There is a line I misread my whole life.

    “Nothing besides remains” which I initially read as a philosophical rendition of “there is nothing here” more likely means “there is nothing but bones here”

  8. EddieInCA says:

    Anecdotally, I’ve been in Utah and Montana the last several weeks. Damn, the Mormons hate Trump. Alot of them are going to stay home. If Romney says he’s voting for Biden, I expect Utah to actually be in play. The last poll, from May, had Trump up six here. Alot has happened since, none good for Trump. I’d love to see a Utah poll in the next few weeks. I’ve been here three weeks, SLC, Park City, Orem, Provo and Sandy. Haven’t seen one Trump sign. Not one bumper sticker. Not one lawn sign. Zero. There must be some somewhere. I just haven’t seen them.

    Part of it is that Covid is hitting Utah pretty hard, and when reality hits bullsh*t, reality wins most of the time.

  9. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    For the nominal R states that are suffering large Covid issues i.e. Tex, Fla and AZ, Biden’s numbers will regress if the virus ameliorates between now and the election. If the virus continues to rage, Joe might take all but the deep South and the R states that aren’t suffering as greatly.

    Here in Florida the death rate hasn’t yet caught up with the new case rate. It’s going to get significantly worse over the next few weeks.

  10. EddieInCA says:

    Iowa – which hasn’t had a poll since first week of June had Trump up 1. Again, alot has happened in the last seven weeks. None of it good for President Trump.

  11. EddieInCA says:

    I have an idea for a regional and localized Biden ad campaign.

    “Do you miss LSU/Alabama/Georgia/Florida State/Miami/Ohio State/Michigan/Notre Dame/Oklahoma/Nebraska/Auburn/Tennesse/Texas/Utah football? We could have had a season had President Trump taken Covid seriously. Now it’s too late. College Football won’t be played this year. It didn’t have to be this way.”

    Paid for by Biden/2020

  12. Erik says:

    I live in a purplish county in a blue state. Lots of ticket splitting down ballot with both Dems and reps representing the district in the state legislature. Lots of R candidate signs everywhere for the primary happening soon, but not a single Trump sign, even on the fences where the R signs are the giant 10ft long ones.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    All obvious caveats apply: it is still July and the pandemic is going to influence voter behavior.

    Other influences…
    As Barr stated yesterday, in the House Hearing, he fully intends to release his bogus Durham investigation in close proximity to the election.
    You can count on much mis-information about a vaccine that, obviously, could only have happened with Trump as President and is juuuuuussssst around the corner.
    96 days until the election…and it’s going to get ugly. Bigly ugly.

  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Here in Florida the death rate hasn’t yet caught up with the new case rate.

    190 deaths yesterday…and yeah…it’s going to get worse.

  15. Michael Cain says:

    I don’t know why pundits keep listing Colorado as a battleground state. It’s a blue trifecta state government, a majority of the House delegation is Democratic, and Cory Gardner’s US Senate seat is the only state-wide office held by a Republican. He won narrowly six years ago against an opponent who ran perhaps the single worst state-wide campaign I have seen in my entire life. More than a half-million additional voters, skewed heavily Democratic, have moved here since then.

    I think that Arizona is following Colorado’s pattern, delayed by about 15 years, and has reached the tipping point. Their US House delegation is currently 5-4 Democrats. They are passing ballot initiatives favored by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. Two years ago they elected a Democrat to the US Senate. Come November, I expect Biden to win the EC votes, Kelly to win the second US Senate seat, and one of the state legislative chambers to flip Democratic.

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    According to McClatchy, Trump has gone dark in Michigan; maybe they think Michigan is falling out of reach?

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Mark Kelly is up on McSally by 16 points in the AZ Senate Race.
    Morning Consult Poll.

  18. JohnSF says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    It’s exasperating that so many people are still unable to grasp that death rates lag case rates by 10 to 20 days.
    Or that national case rates ARE NOT the same as local case rates!

    Fortunately, treatment best practice has improved with experience across the medical community, so death to case ratios seem to be trending down.

    But if people keep declaring the all clear on the basis of some early-wave localities, or failing to see the need for ongoing testing/spread-reduction protocols, it’s going to be very difficult to beat this b@stard.

    Look at Europe; we’re seeing renewed spikes in countries that seemed to be on top of it: Spain, Israel, Luxembourg, Bosnia.

    The message is clear: drop your guard and it comes roaring back.

    But also, it is possible to combine economic reboot with spread suppression if you combine masking/testing/distancing/basic sanitation/rapid local response.