Saturday, September 19, 2020

Biden's White Noncollege Gains, State by State

As noted, the key to Biden's dominance of the race so far, and Trump's inability to dislodge him, has been Biden's ability to cut into Trump's 2016 margins among white noncollege voters, the demographic Trump was depending on to get himself re-elected.

Morning Consult recently released data from a variety of swing states that, among other things, break down the race in each state by white college/noncollege. Here is Biden's current performance among white noncollege voters in the consensus top six swing states (MI, PA, WI, AZ, FL, NC) with Biden's margin improvement relative to Clinton 2016 in parentheses, as estimated by the States of Change project .

Michigan -6 (+15)
Pennsylvania -13 (+19)
Wisconsin 0 (19)
Arizona -7 (+18)
Florida -21 (+13)
North Carolina -33 (+17)

Pretty impressive eh? It's very interesting that improvements are large not just in the key Rustbelt states but also in the key Sunbelt states. It continues to amaze me that this isn't a bigger part of the narrative around the election when the data are so damn clear.

MORNINGCONSULT.COM
Four years after President Trump won white voters by 15 points, he now holds a 5-point lead over Democratic nominee Joe Biden with the group.

Will the Impending Struggle Over the Next Supreme Court Justice Help Biden or Trump?

To be honest, it's hard to game out exactly how this is going to go down but, as always, the data we currently have are a helpful guide. As Harry Enten points out, while the he polling data could change over time, right now it looks the situation could well help Biden more than Trump.

"A new Marquette University Law School poll paints the landscape well. Nationally, it finds that 59% of Biden voters say that appointing the next Supreme Court justice is very important to their vote. Compare that with only 51% of Trump voters.

This finding matches what we saw in a CNN/SSRS poll last month. In that poll, 78% of Biden backers told pollsters that nominating the next justice was extremely or very important to their vote. That compared with 64% of Trump supporters. (It was 47% Biden supporters and 32% Trump supporters who said it was extremely important.)

Compare these numbers to what we saw heading into the 2016 election. The final CNN/ORC poll in that cycle showed that 58% of Trump supporters said that nominating the next Supreme Court justice was extremely important to their vote, while only 46% of Hillary Clinton voters said the same. In the 2016 exit poll, Trump beat Clinton by a 15 point margin among those who put Supreme Court appointments as the most important factor to their vote.

In other words, it seems, at least initially, that unlike in 2016, a Supreme Court nominating fight could be more of a motivating factor for Democrats than Republicans....

New York Times and Siena College polled voters this week in Arizona, Maine and North Carolina about their views of the presidential candidates and the Supreme Court.

Biden was more trusted to pick a nominee in the average of all three states by a 53% to 41% margin. That was actually larger than his average lead against Trump in the horserace of 50% to 41% in the three states.

This phenomenon of Biden getting slightly more favorable numbers on who should pick the next Supreme Court nominee than in the horserace matches what a recent Fox News national poll found.

But perhaps more interesting is what the New York Times found among persuadable voters (i.e. those who said they could change their mind or were not backing either Biden or Trump). They preferred Biden to pick the next nominee by a 49% to 31% margin.

And among those voters who might not vote (i.e. those who said were less than very likely to cast a ballot), Biden led Trump by a 52% to 23% margin on who would be better at picking the next Supreme Court justice."

CNN.COM
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has the ability to upend the 2020 presidential election. But while most analysis suggests President Donald Trump was helped by the opportunity to appoint a new justice in the 2016 election, polling this time around suggests something different m...

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Three Musts for the Biden Economic Plan

1. Talk about it more.

2. Go big

3. Go fast

It does seem like in the process of presenting himself as a sane alternative to Trump and reacting to his various daily outrages, Biden's economic plan is getting a bit lost. That's not so good because it really does need to be front and center with the groundwork laid for fast, effective action once he gets into office. Three articles attack these three points.

1. Talk about it more.

John Cassidy on The New Yorker site:

"As the Democratic Party increasingly becomes the party of highly educated voters who are horrified by Trump’s daily outrages, it also needs to attract working-class voters who perhaps don’t follow politics as closely. I’m talking about working-class Black voters in places like Philadelphia and Milwaukee, working-class Hispanic voters in places like Florida and Nevada, and working-class white voters in places like western Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Members of the working class have borne the brunt of wage stagnation, globalization, technological change, the private health-care system, and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic. “They are looking for a leader who will make big changes in health care, fight for working people over big business, and unite the country to defeat the current economic and public-health crisis,” Stan Greenberg, the veteran Democratic pollster, wrote in an article for The American Prospect, last week. In this passage, Greenberg was referring specifically to white working-class voters, whom he has been studying in focus groups and through surveys. But he pointed out that economic concerns and anger at the political establishment also runs “deep into the Democratic base of Blacks, Hispanics, unmarried women, and millennials, too.”...

Biden gave a series of speeches back in July in which he laid out his economic agenda. And last week, in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, he unveiled a series of proposals to boost American manufacturing. But in this addled news climate, policy proposals rarely get the coverage they deserve in the venues that most voters rely on—television and online-news feeds. To break through the cacophony of Trump noise, Biden, Harris, and other Democrats need to be out there every day ballyhooing their spending plans, as well as other proposals that wouldn’t affect the federal budget but that would boost the budgets of working families.

The Biden-Harris ticket wants to guarantee all Americans twelve weeks of paid medical and family leave. It would increase the national minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, which would have a big impact on low-paid workers in places like Pennsylvania and Texas, where the hourly minimum is currently just $7.25; in Florida, where its $8.56; and in Ohio, where its $8.70. Biden’s agenda includes an expansion of home and community-based care for the elderly, and provisions to insure that, as the number of caregivers increases, they are well-paid and have the right to join a labor union. He has also vowed to strengthen labor laws and unions more broadly. Among other things, he supports the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed in 2019. Legislative changes of this type would take a while to have a macroeconomic impact. Over time, though, restoring some of the bargaining power that workers have lost in recent decades could help raise wages and reduce inequality."

2. Go big.

One critical danger Biden will face if he gets into office is going too small on his plans. They'll be plenty of pressure on him to scale back his plans, be responsible, don't blow up the deficit, etc. That would be a big, big mistake, as the Obama administration found out. From an article by Ben White on Politico:

"President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009 during a brutal recession, quickly pushed through a sizable stimulus package and then spent the next several years realizing it wasn’t nearly big enough.

Joe Biden is determined not to have the same regrets if he wins.

The Democratic nominee and former vice president is surrounding himself with a more aggressive cadre of economic advisers who lean toward the liberal wing of the party, one that has itself moved significantly to the left since 2009 and shed most of its concern with appeasing budget hawks and Wall Street bankers who tend to worry about soaring deficits....

“The idea that the U.S. faces any major risk from our debt burden is simply wrong,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research and a frequent critic of the size of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. “If for some reason private investors became more reluctant to hold U.S. debt, the Fed could simply step in and buy it. If the U.S. is struggling to recover from this recession, there is no reason to be concerned about running large deficits.”

Baker added that he was pleased for the most part with the makeup of Biden’s economic advisory team and suggested that any stimulus bill should be around 4 to 5 percent of annual GDP or around $1 trillion per year.

“As a group these people are pretty progressive and at the very least they will have his ear. Whether they carry the day in arguments or not who knows,” Baker said. “But Biden was there under Obama and I think he recognizes what is universally recognized among Democrats that they made a really big mistake in not getting more.”...

“People recognize that we are going to need a significant magnitude of investment,” said [Jake] Sullivan, Biden’s policy adviser. “That’s not to say the GOP wouldn’t try and resist, and all of a sudden put on their green eyeshades again on spending. But the realities today, in terms of what can be invested to get back to full employment, are just different than they were back in 2009.”

3. Go fast.

This is much more important thank people think and could well determine whether the Democrats (and the country) sink or swim after the election. My old friend Harold Meyerson does a great job explaining why in an article on The American Prospect site.

"At first glance, both the Roosevelt and Obama precedents appear to offer the same lesson: Increased federal spending that creates jobs is the way to climb out of a catastrophic economic hole. At second glance, however, the two presidents’ policies differ significantly. Each initially sought to revive the economy by investing in long-overdue projects: Roosevelt in dams and other power-generating projects to create long-term improvements in the economies of the South and the West; Obama in clean energy and other new infrastructure investments that would downsize America’s immense carbon footprint.

Both these initiatives, however, took time to put in place; neither generated a large number of jobs very quickly. Six months into his presidency, Roosevelt realized this, and transferred some of his stimulus funding to basic construction and maintenance projects that generated nearly four million jobs in the subsequent four months (this in a nation of just 125 million people). The Obama administration, by contrast, never found a way to generate employment swiftly, save through providing funds to state and local governments to keep public employees on the job. This divergence in economic policy led to a divergence in political power. In the midterm election that followed FDR’s success in job creation, the Democrats actually increased their numbers in Congress—one of just two times the party of a newly elected president has won midterm gains. In the midterm election of 2010, however, the Democrats lost both houses of Congress (including a modern record loss of 63 seats in the House), and to this day have yet to regain both in the same session.

Like Roosevelt and Obama, Joe Biden has put forth ambitious, progressive plans to increase investment and employment in ways that would produce permanent changes in the nation’s economy. His plans for infrastructure investment, greening the economy, and boosting the caregiving sector for children and seniors are versions of ideas that had been incubating for years in liberal think tanks and activist groups. Each plan, if funded at the levels that Biden has called for, would boost aggregate employment over time. Whether they boost employment quickly enough to significantly reduce the nation’s massive level of unemployment, however, depends on Biden and the Democrats’ ability to proceed with Rooseveltian speed. That, in turn, will likely determine whether the Democrats’ hold on power and policymaking is a long-term endeavor or a two-year blip that paves the way for the next Trump....

The [New Deal Civil Works Administration] began operations on November 9 and, working with governors and mayors (and in 1933, not even Republican politicians turned down federally funded job projects), had put 4.3 million unemployed Americans to work by the following February on 180,000 small-scale projects. That 4.3 million amounted to 3.4 percent of the nation’s population of 125 million; an equivalent percentage of today’s population would come to 11.2 million. Most of the jobs created required only the use of shovels and pickaxes; the CWA’s workers paved airport runways and the roads connecting farms to market, built playgrounds, and constructed or made improvements to 40,000 schools.

The CWA was conceived as a one-winter-only emergency project, but in 1935, it was reconceived as the Works Progress Administration, which through the remainder of the decade employed millions more on kindred projects.

COULD A BIDEN administration create a 21st-century equivalent of the CWA? It would, of course, have to deal with the high levels of unemployment by enacting the $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment insurance that the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have refused to renew. But it will be no less urgent—economically and politically—to lower the unemployment rate with federally funded jobs.

A number of Obama veterans have recognized the need to create jobs more quickly this time around. Writing in The Nation, Pollin, who worked with the Department of Transportation on the green investments in the Obama stimulus, noted that this time, “we need to identify the subgroup of green investment projects that can realistically roll into action at scale within a matter of months. One good example would be to undertake energy-efficient retrofits of all public and commercial buildings … The administrative issues around mounting such projects could begin today. The on-site work could then begin on the first day that it is safe to do so.”

In his study for the Sierra Club, Pollin estimates that the Biden plan’s suggested funding for retrofitting buildings would create 757,000 jobs per year—and of all the 11.6 million jobs that Pollin estimates the Biden plan could create, those retrofitting jobs are perhaps the first that an Obama administration could successfully create. That’s both a lot of jobs and nowhere near enough, given the staggering levels of joblessness a Democratic administration is sure to inherit.

The severity of that problem should require the administration to cut much of the red tape that would slow down its job creation. One way to do that would be to put some of those new jobs directly on the federal payroll, rather than send funds to the states to establish the very same job-creating projects, for which they’d have to constantly check with the feds to ensure that they were meeting the federal criteria. The CWA and WPA worked with state and local governments to identify needs and get sign-offs, but by reserving for themselves the role of direct employer, they sped the process along.

Another time-saver would be to shorten some of the good-government processes that delay projects’ implementation. There’d be no small irony, I acknowledge, in limiting the time prescribed for an environmental-impact report on a clean-energy project, but that may be what the administration needs to do to pull the economy back from the abyss—and to ensure that clean energy isn’t short-circuited by the right wing returning to power in two or four years.

What all this means is that the Biden campaign’s policy wing, and the liberal infrastructure that has helped inform it, needs to be working now not only on policies that will create a more thriving and egalitarian economy, but on those which can be made to thrive in the shortest amount of time. That’s no easy task, but one that both the economy and the nation’s political future demand."

https://www.newyorker.com/…/broadcasting-joe-bidens-economi…

https://prospect.org/…/heres-how-joe-biden-could-revive-th…/

https://www.politico.com/…/biden-economics-obama-stimulus-4…

POLITICO.COM
The former vice president surrounds himself with a cadre of left-leaning economic advisers, a reflection of a policy approach seen as more progressive than during the last recession.

About Those Senior Voters....

A new set of AARP polls conducted by a bipartisan team of pollsters in a series of battleground states, has very bad news for Trump in terms of older voter support. They concentrated on age 50+ voters; here are the Presidential results for 65+ voters, as summarized by Charlie Sykes at The Bulwark.

"According to the survey, Biden leads Trump among 65-plus voters in eight states: Colorado (51% to 44%), Iowa (55% to 38%), Maine (62% to 32%), Michigan (57% to 39%), Montana (50% to 45%), North Carolina (52% to 45%), Pennsylvania (53% to 42%), and Wisconsin (56% to 39%). Trump leads Biden in one state: Georgia (54% to 42%). Biden and Trump are statistically tied in two states: Arizona (49% to 47%) and Florida (49% to 48%)."

AARP.ORG
50+ voters are concerned about the coronavirus, safe voting, healthcare, and the economy., especially Social Security and Medicare. Partisan divides are also influencing voters opinions, but neither partisan politics nor the coronavirus seem to be discouraging them from voting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

(More) On Wisconsin!

David Leonhardt looked at the recent New York Times poll of several swing states and had this caution for Biden:

"Perhaps the most surprising finding from the [New York poll] was this: In the four swing states — Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin — a larger share of voters said “addressing law and order” was a more important campaign issue to them than said “addressing the coronavirus pandemic” was.

On first glance, these law-and-order concerns may still seem to help Biden. More voters trust him to do a better job on several related issues — including violent crime, unifying the country and handling the protests — than trust Trump. But it’s not quite that simple.

Biden’s problem is that, on the broad issues of crime and policing, he appears to have a larger group of soft supporters — people who could flip — than Trump does. As Nate Cohn, a Times reporter who helped oversee the poll, told me, “There is definitely some Biden support with worry about crime.” Those worries span Black, Latino and white voters....

Biden does have potential ways to address these weaknesses. A large share of people say they think he supports defunding the police — a position Biden rejects but one he evidently has not been clear enough about. (The vagueness of “defund the police,” and whether it means abolish or reduce police funding, is part of his challenge.) A majority of poll respondents also said Biden “hasn’t done enough to condemn violent rioting.” Even 27 percent of his own supporters gave that answer.

Every political campaign is a mixture of offense and defense. For Biden, there are obvious ways to go on the offense — about the virus, Biden’s economic agenda, Trump’s inflaming of racism and his incitement of chaos during protests. But the complex swirl of issues around those protests, including violence and the future of policing, also creates some problems for Biden.

He hasn’t yet solved them. That’s one reason that the campaign has not turned into the rout that seemed possible this summer."

On the other hand, the latest CNN poll, has Biden leading by 10 points in the state and finds:

"Biden receiv[es] higher approval ratings than either Trump or Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, for their response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Among likely voters, 48% approve of Biden's response to events in Kenosha, 42% disapprove. For Trump, 42% approve and 54% disapprove, while Evers earns a 42% approve to 47% disapprove rating. There's a racial divide in approval for Trump and Biden on their response to Kenosha. Among Whites in the state, 43% approve of Trump's response, 44% of Biden's."

The most telling statistic for me: Biden only trails Trump by 8 points among white noncollege voters in the states. Trust me: that's a death knell for Trump in the state if he can't bring that margin up in a big way. Solid campaigning by Biden, both on offense and defense, should that very difficult for Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/…/nfl-yoshihide-suga-oracle-your-mo…

https://www.cnn.com/…/cnn-polls-wisconsin-north-…/index.html

CNN.COM
The race for the presidency is near even in North Carolina and Democratic nominee Joe Biden holds a lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS in the battleground states.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Biden's Latino Problem?

A number of articles lately have commented on Biden's less than stellar polling performance among Latino voters. So far, his margins nationally among this demographic appear to lag behind Clinton's election performance among this group in 2016.

Of course, there's still plenty of time for the Latino vote to firm up behind Biden so it's at least similar to Clinton's support. But the greater worry here would have to be not the national figures but Hispanic support in key swing states. This means Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

Of the three, FL seems like the biggest problem. Recent polling data from AZ and NV look fairly strong on the Latino vote. The recent CBS poll of AZ had Biden's margin at +35 among these voters and Equis Research recently released a poll just of AZ Hispanics that had Biden's margin at +33. These are very similar to Clinton's 2016 margin in the state according to States of Changer data.

In NV, Equis also has a recent poll of Hispanics that has Biden's margin at +36, actually better than Clinton's low '20s margin in 2016.

Florida though has had some alarming findings, like the recent Marist poll that had Trump ahead by 4 points among Hispanics, similar to a slight Trump advantage in an earlier Quinnipiac poll. But the recent St. Pete poll had Biden's margin at +12 and Equis' late August poll of FL Hispanics had Biden's margin at +16. These are both very similar to Clinton's 2016 margin of +15 among FL Latinos.

So I worry most about FL. The Bden campaign probably needs more Hispanic outreach in general and that would appear to the place to concentrate it.

WASHINGTONPOST.COM
Latino leaders say Biden’s outreach falls short and he is risking his chance to win Florida. A Biden visit to Miami on Tuesday — and a cash infusion from Mike Bloomberg — reflect a scramble to catch up.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Trump's Minnesota Mirage

Minnesota, despite the noisy assertions of the Trump team, was always going to be a very heavy lift for him in this campaign. Back in November, I wrote with John Halpin:

"The Democratic candidate in 2020 will seek to keep the Democratic streak going, while Minnesota, given the closeness of the 2016 result, will be on the short list of states that Trump targets to try to expand his coalition. This may be difficult; he is quite unpopular in the states, with a current negative net approval rating of -15.

Nonwhites were just 11 percent of Minnesota voters in 2016. Asians/other race were the largest nonwhite group at 4.5 percent and they supported Clinton 50-36 percent. Blacks were 4.3 percent of voters and went heavily for Clinton by 90-6 percent. Hispanics were just 2 percent of voters and supported Clinton 61-30 percent. In addition, white college graduates, an unusually large 36 percent of voters, backed Clinton by 22 points. The bright spot for Trump was white non-college voters, 54 percent of the voting electorate, who favored him by 21 points....

The logical strategic choice for Trump would be to enhance his 21-point margin among white non-college voters from 2016. A 10-point margin shift in Trump’s direction among this demographic group would result, all else remaining the same, in a 3-point GOP victory. A more difficult target would be to reduce his deficit among white college voters by 10 points; that would result in a narrow 1-point victory for him."

Well, none of that is happening for Trump. That last two polls of MN, by New York Times/Sienna and CBS/Yougov, each have Biden ahead by 9 in the state. Not only has Trump failed to increase his 2016 margin among white noncollege voters by that 10 point target, he has failed to increase it at all, down by 5 points in the CBS poll and cut in half in the New York Times poll. And among white college voters, he is losing by several points more than he did in 2016 according to both polls.

Sure, it's still possible Trump could take the state. But right now, it looks like a mirage.

https://www.cbsnews.com/…/biden-trump-opinion-poll-arizona…/

https://www.nytimes.com/…/p…/Minnesota-poll-Biden-Trump.html

NYTIMES.COM
Minnesota was a near miss for Donald Trump in 2016. But new polling shows him well behind where he finished four years ago in a state he views as a prime pickup opportunity.