Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thoughts on the New York Times Poll That Has Biden Up by 14

This is a serious poll (NYT/Sienna) is rating A+ by 538) so it should definitely be taken seriously. That said, it's just one poll but will get a huge amount of attention--perhaps too much--simply because it's from the Times.
Besides the rather gaudy Biden lead, Here are some things that struck me, looking over the numbers:
1. Biden still lagging behind a bit on the black vote, but the youth and Hispanic numbers look good, consistent with trend I've been picking up in other data.
2. Trumps' margin among whites is a catastrophically small 1 point. That's what's really tanking his chances at the current time. This includes an amazing 52-30 margin for Biden among whites under 45; continuing a trend we observed in the 2018 election.
3. Consistent with Nationscape and other data Trump has lost support among both white college and noncollege voters relative to 2016. Nationscape finds a bit more of a shift among white noncollege but not nearly as much among white college. My guess is that their white college number is a bit high.
4. The poll finds Biden ahead among voters 65 and older, a huge swing relative to 2016. The Nationscape and other data also show this; I will shortly have a piece coming out in the Times on the big shift among senior voters.
Finally, dare we finally admit it?....Joe Biden may actually be running a pretty good campaign. Jonathan Chait:
"It would obviously be a fallacy to attribute Biden’s current lead entirely, or even mostly, to his campaign strategy. The polls primarily reflect a massive public repudiation of Donald Trump’s presidency. But Biden is also doing some things right.
For all the derision that has surrounded Biden’s generally low profile, it is the broadly correct move. Trump is and always has been deeply unpopular. He managed to overcome this handicap in 2016 because Hillary Clinton was also deeply unpopular, though somewhat less so, and turning the election into a choice allowed anti-Clinton sentiment to overpower anti-Trump sentiment. The fact that Biden has attracted less attention than Trump is not (as many Democrats have fretted) a failure. It is a strategic choice, and a broadly correct one....
The protesters deserve a great deal of credit for using Floyd’s tragic death to highlight broader injustice, and to do a good-enough job of limiting disorder and looting to allow their overwhelmingly peaceful message to come through. But Biden has also done an effective job of using the most popular parts of the protesters’ message while distancing himself from its unpopular elements. Biden speaks for the transracial majority that supports systematic police reform and opposes defunding the cops. Trump is left to represent the minority that sees Floyd’s death as an outlier requiring no serious changes.
Electability was a subject of bitter contention during the Democratic primary. Many progressive critics argued either that electability is inherently unknowable, or that the key electability dynamic was the ability to motivate left-wingers who might otherwise not vote. Instead, Biden’s campaign seems to be vindicating a more conventional theory of the case. He has appealed to progressives by adopting some of the most popular pieces of their program, while steering clear of its controversial aspects. And he is winning in the very conventional way: by stealing voters in the middle who are conflicted.
Those conflicted voters tend to give Trump high marks for his handling of the economy, but recoil at his ugly persona. A Democratic campaign premised on transformational economic change would have given Trump the chance to make those voters choose between style and (what they perceive as) substance. Biden from the beginning has tailored his message precisely for what they want: a president who will act like a president without scaring people about the pace and extent of social and economic change.
Biden is running on a progressive platform — more progressive than most people think, and almost certainly more progressive than even a fully Democratic Congress would pass into law. But his choice to avoid unpopular issues (Medicare for All, the Green New Deal) — which the left assailed not only on substantive terms but as a bad choice that would deflate his voters — is looking shrewder than ever.
Biden probably wouldn’t be fielding rapturous mass rallies even if there was no virus. Nor has he inspired armies of idealistic volunteers. But all the evidence we have suggests Biden actually knows what he’s doing."
How 'bout that! Looks like the Twitterati got this one completely wrong. Whodda thunk it?
A New York Times/Siena College poll finds that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is ahead of the president by 14 points, leading among women and nonwhite voters and cutting into his support with white voters.

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