Monday, August 3, 2020

Why Is Biden Ahead in North Carolina?

The just-released CBS News poll has Biden up by 4. The 538 running average is 2 points. If I told you that in the CBS NC poll Biden was ahead of Trump by 11 points among white college graduates in the state but behind by 36 points among white noncollege voters, you might conclude that white college performance is the real key here.

But you'd be wrong. The white college figure compared to 2016 States of Change data is a 7 point pro-Democratic shift (+11 compared to +4). But the white noncollege shift is actually quite a bit larger as a shift toward the Democrats. That's because in 2016 Clinton lost these voters by a staggering 51 points. So the white noncollege pro-Democratic shift is 15 points (-35 vs. -51). And since the white noncollege group in NC is quite a bit larger--half again as large--as white college (the 2016 figures were 43 percent vs. 28 percent), the significance of the white noncollege shift looms even larger.

Lesson: even if the white noncollege figure for Biden in a given state looks terrible, it can still represent a hugely important and potentially game-changing shift.

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