Some New Polls

New numbers show more consistency.

Via USAT: Exclusive: The conventions over, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by a narrower 50%-43% in USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll

This is down from a 12-point lead in June (when it was 53%-41%).

As noted in the chart, this is a registered voter poll, not a likely voter poll.

In regards to unrest:

About half of those surveyed, 49%, said police shootings of Blacks reflected individual actions and misdeeds, while 41% said they reflected systemic racism in American society. But there was a sharp partisan split: 83% of Republicans saw individual misdeeds; 73% of Democrats saw systemic racism.

A solid majority of Americans, 57%, said peaceful demonstrations should continue, even though violence has followed in some cities. Thirty-six percent said peaceful demonstrations should stop for now, because violence has followed in some cities.

The split in perception of police violence is no surprise. The fact that the demonstrations have majority support suggests that Trump’s law-and-order-to-save-the-suburbs is not working all well as he needs it to.

Via Reuters: No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue: Reuters/Ipsos poll

The Aug. 31-Sept. 1 national opinion poll showed that 40% of registered voters support Trump, a Republican, compared with 47% who said they will vote for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. Biden’s lead is largely unchanged over the past three weeks during which both parties held conventions to nominate their candidates Trump and Biden for the presidency.

This is a vote of American adults

In regards to the top issues on people’s minds, it is the pandemic, not the protests:

But the poll showed the majority — 78% — remain “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the coronavirus. Nearly 60% said Trump is at least partly responsible for the protracted school and business closures due to the virus, as well as for the high number of coronavirus cases in the United States. More than 6 million Americans have been infected with the virus, more people than in any other country.

By contrast, most Americans do not see crime as a major priority and do not think it is increasing in their communities, the poll showed.

Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the healthcare system.

From Grinell College: Joe Biden Leads Donald Trump in Latest Grinnell College National Poll

If the election were held today, the newest edition of the Grinnell College National Poll shows Joe Biden winning the popular vote in his quest to become to be the 46th President of the United States. Former Vice President Biden leads President Donald Trump 49-41% according to the poll, which was conducted August 26-30, 2020 as part of a continuing partnership between Grinnell College and nationally renowned polling firm Selzer & Company.

Pie chart shows 49% support Biden, 41% support Trump, 3% support someone else, 1% would not vote, and 5% are not sure

This is a poll of US adults.

Like the Ipsos poll, the Seltzer poll shows Trump with poor marks on coronavirus:

Bar chart showing approval ratings for Trump for job as president, with the economy, with understanding the problems facing people like me, with handling COVID-19, and with equal treatment for African Americans

Nor are his numbers great on ensuring equal treatment of African-Americans, which is relevant to the protests issue. Having positive marks on the economy is perhaps his only bright spot.

Several of the polls do show GOP skepticism of mail-in ballots.

I would prefer to see likely voter polls, but the consistency above is pretty striking in terms of the ongoing, consistent stability of the numbers in Biden’s favor and the seeming lack of ability of even dramatic events to make much of a difference.

The closest thing to good news for Trump is a narrowing of Biden’s lead in PA. Via Politico: Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania shrinks to 4 points in new poll.

A Monmouth University poll conducted in the days after the Republican National Convention and released Tuesday reports that 49 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania prefer Biden, while 45 percent favor Trump.

The previous version of the same Pennsylvania survey, published in July, showed Biden with majority support among registered voters polled and a double-digit advantage over Trump, 53-40 percent.

It is worth noting that the Monmouth poll had an N of 400 and a MOE of +/- 4.9 percentage points, so the variation between the two polls is perhaps not as dramatic as it might seem.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Public Opinion Polls, 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. Teve says:
  2. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    In Napoleon’s time, there were stories to the effect that he’d sold his soul to the Devil. I believe that would explain Trump, because he’d word his request in such a way that 40ish approval were the result.

    1
  3. DrDaveT says:

    About half of those surveyed, 49%, said police shootings of Blacks reflected individual actions and misdeeds, while 41% said they reflected systemic racism in American society. But there was a sharp partisan split: 83% of Republicans saw individual misdeeds; 73% of Democrats saw systemic racism.

    I am repeatedly struck by the disconnect between the issue questions and the vote question. And yes, Steven — I am aware of your explanation for it. ;^)

    2
  4. Moosebreath says:

    @Teve:

    I was going to post on that article as well, which I think is a good one. Trump’s approval rating has ranged from 35 to 49% over his term, a range of only 14%. By comparison:

    “According to Gallup’s presidential approval database, President Ronald Reagan’s numbers bounced from a high of 68 to a low of 35 percent during his tenure. George H.W. Bush peaked at 81 and bottomed out at 29. Bill Clinton ranged between 73 and 37 percent. George W. Bush touched 90 percent and fell all the way to 25 percent. Barack Obama’s band was narrower but still stretched from 40 percent to 67 percent.”

    None of the other recent Presidents have had such a narrow range, with the next narrowest (Obama) being almost twice as wide. Trump’s low number of 35% is fairly typical, but the fact that he never got above 50% when everyone else reached at least the high 60’s is interesting.

    5
  5. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Klein writes:

    If our political divisions cut so deep that even 200,000 deaths and 10.2 percent unemployment and a president musing about bleach injections can’t shake us, then what can?

    I have to say, it would never have occurred to me to label the division he describes — the division between Trump as

    a racist, sexist, xenophobic, immoral, narcissistic, corrupt, and incompetent person

    and Trump as

    the protector of Western Civilization, defending cherished (white Christian) American values from atheist, left-wing socialists who want to take your guns and put Cory Booker in charge of diversifying your neighborhoods

    as a political division. This is not a disagreement about politics, by any stretch of any definition of “politics” I’ve ever seen. It is a fundamental informational disconnect — two incompatible sets of facts, two irreconcilable notions of the ground truth.

    If you want to close the windows because it’s cold and windy and raining outside, and I want to leave them open because it’s pleasant and sunny outside, we do not have a political difference about windows.

    25
  6. KM says:

    @DrDaveT :
    I think political is being used here to describe something that is debatable or controversial, not necessarily governmental or social concerns.

    Something that is political is something not considered accepted fact or uncontested information ie “the sky is blue” is an apolitical statement. Conversely, “the sky is orange” isn’t political, it’s just incorrect. However, saying “the sky is blue for some people and not others” is political because now you are parsing a generally accepted fact and making it contingent on someone accepting that a person can theoretically see the sky as a different color for whatever reason. Political means there’s no accepted common reality, no consensus as to what something is or what it means. Masks protecting you from disease as a fact wasn’t political right up until people started actively denying the agreed upon consensus and suddenly there’s a controversy over what was plain fact not a year ago.

    There is indeed a fundamental informational disconnect and that’s precisely what makes it political – the only reason you’re arguing about the window in the first place is because two people aren’t experiencing the same reality and believe the other to be nuts about what they can clearly see.

    2
  7. charon says:

    @Teve:

    Trump’s ratings are stable because, like Trump himself, they are a product of what the GOP now is, and what the GOP will continue to be after Trump is gone: a herrenvolk politics party dominated by white nationalists and Christian chauvinists. A lot of people are OK with that, many others are very much not OK with such a party.

    There is no chance now that anything like the GOP 2012 “autopsy” could be taken seriously, support for the GOP will be stable, affected only, over time, by demographic and social trends.

    6
  8. Teve says:

    @Moosebreath: @DrDaveT: Klein suggests, and I agree, that the reason the numbers are so stable is because you’ve got a fraction of people who get all their information from fox/OANN/Breitbart etc. In that world, no matter what happens, Trump is the hero and the Democrats are villains. The right wing media sources’ framing of everything is stable and therefore the opinions of their viewers are too.

    7
  9. @DrDaveT:

    This is not a disagreement about politics, by any stretch of any definition of “politics” I’ve ever seen.

    I am not being snarky at all here, but I would be curious as to your definition of “politics” as your position here seems very much like the disputes we have had over “policy” as a term. You seem to have a very specific definition of these items.

    All of the things listed strike me as profoundly political, with politics, broadly defined, as meaning the struggles of power as linked to how human beings live together and govern themselves.

    two incompatible sets of facts, two irreconcilable notions of the ground truth.

    Has not political conflict dating back to the beginning of recorded history been a struggle over whose set of facts and whose notion of truth is dominant? (And the fact that some facts actually are facts and some truth actually is truth doesn’t change the nature of the struggle).

    4
  10. Jen says:

    On the one hand, I know this is all normal and I should expect numbers to tighten up.

    On the other hand, I am awash with “WTF is wrong with people good lord we are a world-wide JOKE right now how can anyone consider voting for this moron” feelings.

    I might need to stop reading poll results and just tune out until election day.

    8
  11. charon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I think it is political – protecting the (desired) lifestyle of the herrenvolk is of such overriding importance that the Trumpers just don’t care about

    a racist, sexist, xenophobic, immoral, narcissistic, corrupt, and incompetent person

    not that they acknowledge the incompetent part of all that.

    3
  12. CSK says:

    Shortly after the 2016 election, I read an article pointing out that this was the first time some people in the south, well into their forties and fifties, had ever voted. The piece said nothing about who these people might be, or what their levels of education and affluence were. I assumed, probably correctly, that neither the incomes nor educations were high. I found it fascinating and disturbing that no one until Trump had been able to induce them to the polls.

    A whole mythos has been built up around Trump by his devotees: that he’s the “blue collar billionaire” who, all on his own, built himself a vast fortune. How easily he was able to manipulate them. And how sad that they refuse to see that his contempt for them is total.

    4
  13. mattbernius says:

    @DrDaveT:

    This is not a disagreement about politics, by any stretch of any definition of “politics” I’ve ever seen. It is a fundamental informational disconnect — two incompatible sets of facts, two irreconcilable notions of the ground truth.

    Or perhaps they are two different interpretations of more or less the same cluster of “facts” (each of which also draws their interpretive sets in such a way that certain counterfactuals are left out). And that both interpretations, not to mention whats left out of each set, are influenced by a set of political attunements.

    4
  14. @DrDaveT:

    And yes, Steven — I am aware of your explanation for it. ;^)

    Clearly a partisan split, but I think that split is showing a real ideological difference in the way those two groups look at the world*, don’t you think?

    *I originally typed “word” but meant world.

    3
  15. EddieInCA says:

    Everything happening now is going to be overshadowed by Covid-19 by election day. Here in Park City, it went from 90 degrees on Saturday to 45 degrees this morning. People will soon be inside most of the time. Doctors and Public Health experts have already said this fall/winter will be the worst in our history. Alot of people are going to get the flu, but alot of people are going to get what they think is the flu, but it will be Covid. It’s going to get bad. Really bad.

    I really hope I’m wrong. But…. I don’t think I am. Covid is rising in 26 states. 26.

    ——

    As the summer surge of COVID-19 cases continues to fall in Texas, California, and Arizona, at least 26 other states, including Alabama, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, and the Dakotas, are seeing 7-day averages of new cases rise by more than 5%.

    Last week, only 12 states reported increasing averages of 5% or more.

    According to USA Today, new records for weekly totals were set last week in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

    ————-

    Additionally, the cold weather will end outdoor protests. No one is going to protest when it’s 40 degrees outside.

    It will be pandemic, pandemic, pandemic, by the time Nov. 3 rolls around, with the economy in tatters, in most of the country.

    https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/08/covid-19-rising-26-states-us-hits-6-million-cases

    5
  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Meanwhile, the Faux News chyron for The Five read “Biden losing ground to Trump” this afternoon while I was at the gym.

    Alternate universes, don’t ya just love ’em?

    2
  17. ImProPer says:

    @Teve:

    A good read, thanks for the link.
    A couple thoughts.

    Ezra Klein: “This is the great irony of the Trump era: It has never felt like more is happening, and yet American political opinions have never been so immovable.”
     
      This is much less surprising than it is alarming. The American electorate, is now almost exclusively made up of individuals that have grown up with mass media,  relentlessly manipulating their emotions to sell them something. Changes of opinion are generally the byproduct of new  information filtered through objective reasoning. This is a function of the cerebral cortex, which for the most part, gets  shut off when in an elevated  emotional state. Donald Trump isn’t the first to recognize this, but no other political  figure in my lifetime has exploited this fact better than him. He is definitely the Henry Ford of demagoguery. That his impact on political opinions, would be similar to Ford’s on automobile manufacturing is not surprising in the least.
    That one may feel… “like more is happening” in Trump world is simply an illusion, a side effect of his monomanical commitment to the politics of fear.

    1
  18. MarkedMan says:

    I thought Biden’s attack today was sheer genius: “Stop tweeting and start paying attention to the virus!” And, as I’m sure was predicted when this strategy was layed out, Trump immediately tweeted. Because “no one tells Donald Trump what to do!”

    1
  19. DA says:

    Here’s what I think about the polls: just about every national poll I see has Trump between 41-43%, and Biden between 48-51%. Let’s say only about 1% will go third party, and 2/3 of the undecideds go to Biden. That puts us roughly at 45% Trump, 54% Biden, 1% third party. Out of about 130 million votes, winning the popular vote by 9% is a margin of more than 11 million votes. Even with an 11 million vote margin for Biden, it’s not clear who would win the presidency.

    3
  20. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    All of the things listed strike me as profoundly political, with politics, broadly defined, as meaning the struggles of power as linked to how human beings live together and govern themselves.

    The OED lists 5 major definitions of “political”. Skipping over 1b (“now historical”) and 2 (“obsolete”), they are:
    1. a. Of, belonging to, or concerned with the form, organization, and administration of a state, and with the regulation of its relations with other states.

    3. Involved, employed, or interested in politics; that takes a side, promotes, or follows a particular party line in political debate. Also (somewhat derogatory): having regard to or affected by the interests of a party or parties rather than principle; partisan, factious.
    [NB: note the apparently circular definition — what is “political debate” here? To avoid circularity, I take this to be using definition #1.]

    4. Having an organized form of government or society.

    5. Relating to or concerned with public life and affairs as involving questions of authority and government; relating to or concerned with the theory or practice of politics.

    While you can certainly guess the political party affiliation of people who view Trump as the Great White Hope for America, or who view him as corrupt and incompetent, the 200,000 deaths and 10+% unemployment and public musings about the potential benefits of injecting bleach are just facts. The opinions about Trump are not based on “questions of authority and government” nor do they “follow a particular party line in political debate” — they are based on which description of ground truth you buy into. On the GOP side, the opinion about Trump is the party line. There is no underlying debate or theory or appeal to political principles or ideals or goals.

    In ordinary speech, I have no problem with figurative use of “political”, but I expect Ezra Klein and other writers on politics to be working with a narrower definition. And (as you know) I think it is very important to emphasize that the current divide is at least as much an information divide as it is a political divide.

    2
  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Has not political conflict dating back to the beginning of recorded history been a struggle over whose set of facts and whose notion of truth is dominant?

    Just to follow up on this…

    No, that doesn’t sound right to me. I think the basic disagreements have been over who should be in charge, who gets the nice things, what the purpose of government is, which rights/privileges/goals are more important than which others, etc. The disagreements have mostly been about the ought, not the is.

    When Moynihan said “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts,” that was accepted as uncontroversial (and a great zinger). Today, people would look at him funny and ask him what he was trying to say.

    5
  22. @DrDaveT: @DrDaveT:

    I appreciate your thoughtful answers, and will give them further consideration.

    But, few quick observations: while I fully understand your frustration with that Trump GOP, I think you are missing the degree to which ideology and beliefs in general can shape perceptions of reality.

    The notion that politics is normally about only ought and not is is simply not true. The politics of gender and race, for example, have been arguments about what is true about males v. females and whites v. blacks.

    There would not be a branch of philosophy called ontology (which assess the nature of being) nor epistemology (how we come to know what we know) if these things were truly settled.

    I have read a lot of political philosophy and have studied politics on the ground in other places and it simply isn’t the case that the “is” is always settled.

    The concept of propaganda is not a new one, for example. And Moynihan’s burn wouldn’t exist is someone wasn’t trying to have their own facts.

    Could I ask what you are a doctor of? It might help me understand where you are coming from.

    3
  23. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    When Moynihan said “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts,” that was accepted as uncontroversial (and a great zinger). Today, people would look at him funny and ask him what he was trying to say.

    Really? I see it invoked all the time, including in some truly bizarre ways. Sarah Sanders used the line in response to Bob Corker’s criticisms of Trump’s temperament, and she immediately followed it by describing an opinion as a fact: “The fact is, this president has been an incredibly strong leader….”

    By now Moynihan’s adage has entered that area of rhetoric (like calling things “Orwellian”) that people carelessly throw around because they think it automatically gives them a moral high ground.

    4
  24. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The notion that politics is normally about only ought and not is is simply not true. The politics of gender and race, for example, have been arguments about what is true about males v. females and whites v. blacks.

    Oh, absolutely. I don’t mean to be all-or-nothing here. And for any individual there is very much a chicken and egg question about whether the affiliation follows from the beliefs or vice versa. Again, if it were some random editorialist and not Ezra Klein, I would not have quibbled (or at least not as much) about that use of “political”. When he uses the word, I expect the OED senses.

    (ETA: And the ongoing shift away from socio-economic issues toward race and gender politics as the defining planks of the platforms contributes to the point you are making.)

    Could I ask what you are a doctor of? It might help me understand where you are coming from

    At the risk of rendering my pseudonym moot: BA/MS/PhD in applied math, BA and graduate minor in Philosophy.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Klein suggests, and I agree, that the reason the numbers are so stable is because you’ve got a fraction of people who get all their information from fox/OANN/Breitbart etc. In that world, no matter what happens, Trump is the hero and the Democrats are villains. The right wing media sources’ framing of everything is stable and therefore the opinions of their viewers are too.

    I deliberately resisted the urge to go there, since I have been smiting that equine corpse a lot lately, but I agree completely. Cognitive dissonance is the only thing that can break tribal party affiliation. If you can provide enough reinforcing nonsense to prevent cognitive dissonance, you’ve got them for life.

    2
  26. Kylopod says:

    OT, but this is the second thread in the past couple of days where I am not receiving emails for new comments even though I checked the box to notify me about follow-up comments. I looked in my spam folder, they aren’t there either.

  27. ImProPer says:

    @Kylopod:

    “Really? I see it invoked all the time, including in some truly bizarre ways. Sarah Sanders used the line in response to Bob Corker’s criticisms of Trump’s temperament, and she immediately followed it by describing an opinion as a fact: “The fact is, this president has been an incredibly strong leader….”
    By now Moynihan’s adage has entered that area of rhetoric (like calling things “Orwellian”) that people carelessly throw around because they think it automatically gives them a moral high ground.”

    At the risk of sounding like a pompous ass, seeking “a moral high ground”, the Sarah Sanders vignette you just shared is a doubleplusgood example of “Orwellian” newspeak. ;•)

  28. Kylopod says:

    @ImProPer:

    At the risk of sounding like a pompous ass, seeking “a moral high ground”, the Sarah Sanders vignette you just shared is a doubleplusgood example of “Orwellian” newspeak. ;•)

    Touche.

    But that’s really what I was trying to get at–it’s not so much that Republicans reject the concept of “facts” as that they redefine what “facts” are, which is what enables them to absurdly invoke the Moynihan line despite completely failing to observe what it actually is about.

    2
  29. ImProPer says:

    Haha, I thought so, but I was in a Michael Scott type quandary, trying not to “thats what she said” to a perfect gimme. Like Michael, I failed.