With the usual caveats that polls this far out from the election mean squat, and realizing the slanting of questions and the likely refusal of many Trump supporters to even participate in polls, it is still sometimes interesting to look within the polls. Sometimes the other questions asked and answered give a greater insight into the minds of voters. So, this writer looked inside about 20 polls conducted during August, mainly in the key swing states to not only determine the strength of support for Biden and Trump, but what else is on the minds of voters, assuming they answered the questions honestly. The following trends were seen:
1. What will determine a voter’s choice in November? Although it differs in order from state-to-state, three “themes” emerge. They are, in no particular order, the personal values of the candidate, handling the coronavirus, and the state of the economy. In effect, the latter two go hand-in-hand since prior to the outbreak of the disease, the economy was in healthy shape and sabotaged by draconian and illogical lockdown orders (that persist to this day). There’s an interesting twist to this, to be discussed shortly. As concerns those “personal values,” what Trump says or tweets seems to have no real effect on whether anyone will vote for or against him. After four years, his propensity to tweet and troll are now built into his numbers: supporters never cared and opponents have come to accept it despite the faux outrage of the Bulwarkians and CNN. These numbers also show that Trump’s words and style have very little effect on the non-entrenched voter. However, his actions and policies do and here Trump enjoys an advantage over Biden.
2. The Covid Factor. Across these polls, it becomes obvious that concerns over the coronavirus has decreased an average of four percentage points since earlier polls. With increased testing and less deaths- despite the Democrats and their ghoulish body count of which they incessantly remind us everyday- fewer and fewer people are concerned. This will likely lead to demands to re-open the economy fully which will only help Trump whether Joe Biden demands we wear feedbags on our faces for the rest of our lives. As those concerns and fears decrease, the polls also indicate a three percentage point increase in Trump’s handling of the virus.
But, perhaps the most interesting aspect of these numbers is that although an average of 45% of people think Trump has done a good/excellent/fair job of handling the situation, voters in key swing states- particularly Pennsylvania and Wisconsin- have a very negative view (26% average approval) of how their state government handled the issue. It should be noted that both these states have Democrat governors. In a state like Arizona with a Republican governor, we see a better perception of state government efforts.
3. The economy factor. Here, voters tend to be schizophrenic. While overall people disapprove, in general, with the state of the economy and/or Trump’s handling of it, there are three glimmers of hope. First, voters realize that the economy was brought to a standstill by an unseen virus. It was not any pre-coronavirus policy of Trump’s that created the current problem. Second, even in states where Trump’s handling of the economy in the wake of the virus are unfavorable, state and local governments- many of them under Democrat control- are considerably worse. Third, in practically all states where the question was asked, a plurality of voters believe that Trump would do a better job with economic recovery. The bottom line is that voters want things to return to the way they were before March/April 2020 and believe that Trump will do a better job achieving that goal.
4. The African-American factor. It is safe to assume that Trump will not win the black vote despite Joe Biden’s racist past and words. But, Trump does not have to “win” the black vote in any particular state. Many of these polls were conducted after Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate. I compared polls before and after and can safely say that choosing Harris had absolutely no effect among black voters. An average of only 80% of blacks had a favorable image of Biden (versus 8% for Trump). That does not suggest that Trump will capture 20% of the black vote. But anything near 10-12% does not bode well for Biden. Hence, it appears you can still be black if you do not vote for Biden. It is also interesting to note that only 19% of black respondents said that Trump’s words or style make a difference in their perception of him. Painting Trump as a racist may be backfiring on the Democrats.
5. The School Re-Opening Dilemma That Isn’t. There were some surprising results here. Overall, respondents believe it may be too early to re-open schools as normal. But, when parents of school-age children are asked, the numbers rise dramatically. There are very few polls that gauged this question, but in those that did, 47% of parents said school should re-open with in-class instruction as before. When asked about a hybrid formula (in-class and virtual), the numbers shoot up to over 60%. It appears that parents have a more balanced and realistic view than many teacher unions and scare-mongers out there when it comes to their own children. The longer Democrats insist on keeping schools closed, the more their chances wane. This is an important topic since those parents, besides their child’s education, also note that if schools do not re-open, they have strong economic fears for their households.
6. Actually voting. According to the polls surveyed, an average of only 33% of respondents say they will use mail-in voting if offered. Most respondents prefer in-person voting. In fact, among the ten or so polls that asked the question and why they did not prefer or intend to use mail-in voting, more than half responded the potential for fraud. Among all respondents regardless of voting preference, an average of 47% of respondents said there is a potential for fraud. Who needs Russia to undermine faith in the democratic process when you have fear-mongering Democrats pushing mail-in voting? This kind of explains the great USPS “scandal” of 2020 that, like previous Democrat conspiracy theories, went down in flames.
7. For as “bad” the perception of Trump may be, Biden ain’t no better. In fact, across all these polls and especially in the swing state ones- and this is a fairly standard question on all polls- both Trump and Biden share a net negative two approval rating. For example, in Pennsylvania Trump has an approval rating of 43% which is not bad all things considered. It would be nice to get it up to 45% or so which almost guarantees a win for an incumbent. Yet despite Trump’s numbers, and Average Joe and his alleged blue collar (how a 48-year career politician is “blue collar” defies explanation) Scranton upbringing, he- like Trump- sports a net negative approval rating in Pennsylvania.
8. The bottom line. Despite all the naysaying and premature coronation of Joe Biden as #46 with all those polls out there showing ten point leads nationally and 6-point Biden leads in this state or that state, they are all bulls***. The gaffes of Biden are built into his numbers just as Trump’s brash and no-holds-barred style is built into his numbers. Missing from all these polls are questions about Biden’s mental fitness to handle the pressures of the Presidency. This writer would love to see responses to those questions, particularly from independent voters since the hard-core Democrat would vote for a literal donkey that is mentally retarded (which is kinda close to a description of Biden except a retarded donkey comes out of its stable more often) rather than Trump. Also, support for Biden among his “faithful” is not as strong as that for Trump among his faithful. That becomes evident when gradations of support are measured. Democrats are having a tougher time selling the Biden/Harris ticket to the people they need to win which is not a good position to be in at this point. If you can’t sell a 47-year politician to your own, you have a problem.
Despite all these trends and observations, it is incumbent for everyone to cast a vote in 2020. This is not a done deal and with the right combination of attack and puffery- something at which we know Trump is adept- he is doing his part. Voters still have to do their part.
NOTE: I apologize in advance for the use of the word “retarded,” but writing “mentally challenged” twice just seemed like too many words.