Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

Biden is polling well, and consistently so.

Harry Enten, writing for CNN: Biden’s lead over Trump is the steadiest on record

New CBS News/YouGov polls reveal that former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his grip on the 2020 race for president.

Biden’s up 52% to 42% over President Donald Trump among likely voters nationally, and he has a 50% to 44% edge over Trump in the key battleground state of Wisconsin as well.

Biden’s 10 point and 6 point advantages are the exact same they were when CBS News/YouGov polled the contests before the party conventions.

[…]

Biden’s lead in the average has never gotten below 4 or 5 points or above 10 points. That’s a remarkably narrow range.

If you were to construct a 95% confidence interval around individual polls, Biden’s advantage in any individual poll has been within 6.5 points of that 7 point average.

Read the whole piece, but the bottom line is that there has been a steady, unwavering advantage for Biden in the polls.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, US Politics
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

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    What strikes me beyond the steadiness of the polling is the lack of undecideds and the paucity of voters expressing interest in 3rd party candidates. It really appears that the voters have made up their minds and the Former Reality Show Host’s chance of winning only lies with some weird vote distribution that tips the electoral college. That may even require that Biden completely falls on his face in the debates to lend truth to the FRSH’s accusation that he’s senile.

    But I suspect that if Vegas were to offer odds on which candidate appears to be the babbling, senile fool, the FRSH would be hugely favored to take that dubious crown.

  2. J. Foobar says:

    I think the only real worry (barring some unforeseen controversy) are the debates. Biden needs to keep them fairly neutral and avoid stepping on his own crank too much. Yes, not that many people actually watch them anymore (although I think the numbers will be higher this year), but the most conspicuous moments are still watched and talked about afterwards. In theory, Biden can score a lot of gains in the debates. Hopefully he will, but he needs to not screw it up.

    This election will be a vote for the very soul of our nation, probably much more so than any election in my lifetime. What I find more than a little depressing is that the best case scenario is that 40-45% of the country will still vote for Trump. A Biden win will be a marked improvement, but we are a long way from any sort of reconciliation and healing.

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  3. @J. Foobar: While I suspect there will be some minor gaffes by Biden in the debates (and the FNC folks will howl with derisive laughter over them), I think the net result of the debates will be people (especially the handful of undecideds) seeing a presidential looking guy and a nonpresidential looking guy and it could get a few of them to decide for Biden.

    The Trump campaign (and FNC) has made a mistake, IMO, of painting Biden as an old man who can’t function outside of his basement.

    Trump, meanwhile, is going to come across as ignorant and mean, and will try to blame Biden for the problems of the country, despite the fact that Trump himself is president, and therefore has the responsibility.

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  4. An Interested Party says:

    While I suspect there will be some minor gaffes by Biden in the debates…

    As if Trump will be perfect, with no gaffes, minor or otherwise, at all…and you are correct, it was idiotic to try to paint Biden as some old, senile fool…he doesn’t have to do much at all to clear that bar…meanwhile, Trump, whose supporters pump up as some kind of brilliant businessman, trips over himself all the time…

  5. CSK says:

    @An Interested Party:
    No, no, no. Trump doesn’t trip over himself; he’s playing 64-dimensional chess, and our brains are too small to grasp the brilliance of his strategy.

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  6. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Trump, meanwhile, is going to come across as ignorant and mean, and will try to blame Biden for the problems of the country, despite the fact that Trump himself is president, and therefore has the responsibility.

    That seems like a losing strategy, but remember in 2000 Bush the younger successfully tarred Al Gore with the mud from Bill Clinton’s many scandals.

    Still, it should give an opening for attacking Trump. He has been in charge of the country’s policies for the past 4 years, and has bungled the pandemic, the economy, and much else. He own’t take responsibility for any of it, as he has made clear. But then one can ask, seeing as how he attacks Biden, whether Pence is responsible. If he says yes, then why is Pence still on the ticket?

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    The polls to watch are the ones taken after Labor Day. Traditionally Labor Day is when less political citizens start to pay attention. I doubt that’s as much the case now, but it’s still wonderful that the Trump Spits on Military story dropped just in time for all those back yard barbecues. If a week from now the polls stay steady Biden wins. If after Labor Day Trump loses any of his hardcore 42% then Biden wins in a landslide.

    We’re starting to get the first of the Trump Ridicules Christians stories. It’d be swell if we had a nice confirmation of that say, right before the first debate.

  8. @Kathy:

    but remember in 2000 Bush the younger successfully tarred Al Gore with the mud from Bill Clinton’s many scandals.

    Sure, but that was Bush tarring Gore with the incumbent administration’s problems. That is impossible for Trump to do to Biden.

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  9. Hal_10000 says:

    No one is changing their mind on Trump. Either you are in the 42% who seem him as the last defense against runaway Leftism or you’re in the 58% who see him as garbage. No new revelations are going to change anything. We have 74 years of data on the man and he’s not changing. He is who he is and you accept it or your don’t.

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  10. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    there’s no rational way, no.

    There are plenty of irrational ways. Consider the high percentage of Republicans who think Trump has done a good job on the pandemic. Rationally, that makes no sense.

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  11. Fog says:

    You folks sound like you did not see the Q&A of Biden’s presser the day after The Atlantic article came out. If you had, you wouldn’t be wringing your hands and giving credence to the dopey Joe business.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Fog: And yet, there is no link to the presser so anyone can see what you’re talking about. Curious…

  13. Christopher P Lucia says:

    @Sleeping Dog: lol what is the color of the sky in your world!
    Trump’s “chance of winning only lies” in winning the electoral college?? Uh, that’s how our elections work! READ the US Constitution sometime! That’s like saying that the only way for the Lakers to win the game is to weirdly score more points than the opponent.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    Trump’s “chance of winning only lies” in winning the electoral college??

    He mentioned some weird vote distribution that tips the electoral college, not just the electoral college itself, there is a difference…do try to pay attention if you want to criticize…

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  15. Jax says:

    @Christopher P Lucia: I think what he’s referring to is Trump couldn’t win the popular vote last time, and most certainly is not going to win it this time, so his only chance of winning again is through the electoral college. Not sure what you’re so upset about.

    The Electoral College ensures that even though the Lakers had more points, they still lost the game due to technicalities.

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  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Christopher P Lucia: Ironically enough, you have stumbled on to the correct situation but the wrong metaphor (or is it simile? anyways…). In the NBA, you win by sc0ring the most points (votes), but the Electoral College is waaaaaayyyy more like fantasy sports, where the statistical performances of each player are totaled to determine the winner–not which team scored the most points.

    More to the issue, I remember a scandal a few years back in some big fantasy sports gambling site where the principles of the company were using the rules to game the game, if you will, for big profits. Kings something… Draft somebody… the name escapes me now.

    Of course, the election rules are what they are, and no one is “cheating” per se (so far…), but as Jax notes above, “Lakers to win the game is to weirdly score more points than the opponent” is exactly not how the election worked in 2016. And may be exactly how it doesn’t work again this year–except that preliminary trends hint at the probability that one side can only win if they cheat this time.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    One factor that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention in election commentary is that there’s going to be an unusually high level of early voting this year. That makes it less likely that any sort of late shift in the race would matter, and it weakens any potential impact from an “October surprise.” (Imagine the Comey Letter dropping after more than a third of the electorate had already voted.) This applies in particular to Trump’s attempts to announce a vaccine early, or to take credit for a supposed economic recovery—both things that depend heavily on his dominating a single news cycle before his claims get quickly blown apart by subsequent questions that emerge.