CBS / YouGov Poll Analysis: Is There a Ten Point Lead for Biden?

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In a CBS / YouGov national poll out on September 6, 2020, results suggest that Joe Biden has a 10 point lead on Donald Trump.  Additional topline results suggest that 73% of registered voters feel that things in the country are going either somewhat or very badly and that 60% of voters rate the condition of the national economy as either fairly bad or very bad.  When you look at the topline numbers exclusively, these results seem to paint a dim future for Donald Trump’s presidency.

If one were to take a deeper look into the data behind the poll, you would find that while some of the results are skewed, the methodology leads this poll to certain results that are likely not accurate.

As with any poll, I am less concerned with what people have to say but rather what certain people have to say and if the right people are included in the poll.  The glaring mistake I come across in this poll is that 39% of the respondents to this poll are Democrats, 29% are Independents and 30% are Republicans.  In other words, Dems are given a nearly 9 point advantage in this poll before we are even out of the gate.  Every single answer to every single question will skew in Dems’ favor by 9 points.  Of course, Biden has a ten-point lead in the poll, that skews 9 points in Democrats favor.  Additionally, to poll independents at the same rate as Republicans will also skew the results slightly away from Republicans.

84% of respondents in the poll believe that the economy is a major issue in the race, while 45%-44% believe that Donald Trump would do a better job of handling the economy.  When it comes to the condition of the national economy, 60% of Americans believe the economy is doing poorly, with 87% of Democrats responding that way, but only 27% of Republicans agreeing with them.  If the sample was a 40/20/40 (Dem/Ind/Rep), the National economy question would shift from 60% to 57% of respondents who felt the economy was doing poorly.  Even at a 45/10/45 sample, it still figures in at 57%.  As a result of their oversampling of Democrats, it is clear a 3 point advantage on just this question exists.

On the question of Presidential Candidate preference, the dem sample of the question jumps to a full 10 point (40 to 30) Dem advantage built into the poll.  If adjusted for a 45/10/45 split, the poll only gives Biden a 2 point advantage as opposed to 10.

The real disaster for Biden is contained in questions 10 and 11 as a plurality of both democrats and independents who said they were voting for Biden are simply doing it to oppose Donald Trump as opposed to a straight-support for Biden.  Of Biden supporters, only 37% of Democrat respondents and 20% of Independent respondents are supporting Biden because they like him.  When they are compared to their Republican and Trump-supporting independent counterparts, those respondents overwhelming chose to vote for Trump because they like him as opposed to a vote against Joe Biden. Of Trump supporters, 76% of Republican respondents and 68% of Independent respondents support the President as opposed to voting against Biden.

Another disaster for Biden is contained in questions 14 and 15.  Of Trump voters, 59% of both Independents and Republicans (60 and 59% respectively) do not trust Biden on the economy.  Another 30 %  (30 and 31% respectively, I and D) do not trust Biden on policing and protests (see rioting).  On the same question posed to Biden supporters about Trump, a plurality of voters (38% – 38%I, 40%D) state that they wouldn’t trust Trump on Coronavirus issues.   The stark difference in this question is which issues can be resolved by respective parties before the election.  Biden will have a hard road to fix the issues on the economy, especially if Trump can continue to steer the economy back on the rails.  Additionally, if the Trump Administration is able to push out a vaccine before the election, it could dramatically shift public opinion on that matter.  This poll was also taken AFTER the Democrats “Trump’s America” push on the riots, which shows that their messaging is not having the effect they would like it to have.

Democrats also feel their candidate is not as liberal as they would like at twice the rate Trump supporters feel about Trump’s conservative ideology.  Only 14% of Republicans feel Trump isn’t conservative enough while 28% of Democrats feel Biden is not liberal enough.  Biden is also seen as too liberal by 52% of Independents compared to 35% who feel Trump is too conservative.  27% of the same Independent respondents found that Biden was “as liberal as they would like” while 46% found Trump “as conservative as they would like.”

All respondents felt that Trump would do a better job with the economy (despite a 9 point advantage for Dems on the question) by a point, 45 to 44.  If the question were given a 45/10/45 split on respondents, over 48% of respondents would find that Trump would do a better job with the economy than Biden’s 44%.

On the Coronavirus outbreak, 50% of all respondents felt that Joe Biden would do a better job of handling the outbreak with only 38% of respondents feeling that Donald Trump would do a better job.  In the bad news section for Biden is that Independents feel Donald Trump (42% to 41%) would do a better job handling the outbreak than Biden and if fully adjusted to a 45/10/45 split, the Dems would end up with their advantage being narrowed from 12 points to just 6.

Question 24 delves into which of the two candidates would make the respondents feel “more safe,” with Biden leading Trump 48 to 43.  Again, ignored is the fact that Trump leads Biden by 13 points in this indicator, and if fully adjusted for a 45/10/45 split, would throw favor to Trump 46 to 45.

Democrats often attempt to paint Trump as incompetent and lacking the intelligence necessary to be President of the United States.  Of respondents, 56% felt that Biden does have the intelligence to be President compared to only 47% for Trump.   The issue for Biden lays in the fact that 45% of Independent voters think Biden does not have the intelligence to be President, compared to Trump’s 53% among the same voters.  If the results of this poll are given a 45/10/45 split, the disparity between Biden and Trump’s intelligence narrows to just 5% favoring Biden but says that more than half the country feels that Trump has the intelligence to be President.

Biden’s “Slow Joe” reputation seems to be sticking,  as 54% of all voters feel that Joe Biden does not have the energy to be President (compared to 39% for Trump).  Of that number, 68% of Independents feel Biden does not have the energy.  This question begins to expose the 9 point bias for Dems.  When Dems are honest about the answer as opposed to allowing bias to control their answers, the numbers do not change.  The original breakdown was a 54 to 39 disparity between Biden and Trump on the lack of energy.  If these results are given a 45/10/45 split, The disparity is 54 to 38.  It remains virtually unchanged.

When the issue of the level of campaigning is presented to voters, 46% of all voters think that Joe Biden is not campaigning enough, compared to just 16% for Trump on the same question.  41% of voters feel Biden is campaigning just enough, compared to Trump’s 42% for the same answer.  This shows voters feel the “Hidin’ Biden” name Trump slapped is accurate.  If the dem-leaning-bias is removed from this, 45% of voters still feel Biden isn’t campaigning enough, and 41.4 believe he is campaigning the right amount (14.2% and 44.25% for Trump respectively).

In what appears to be a rather shocking failure of the media narrative, 55% of all voter support BLM either strongly or somewhat, while 45% disagrees.  Only 11% of Dems disagree with BLM’s message while 19% of Republicans agree with it.  53% of Independents disagree with BLM’s message. This also would explain the Dems attempting to distance themselves from BLM and protests over the last few weeks in an attempt to appeal to independent and undecided voters.

In a stunning blow to the “peaceful protester” narrative, 51% of all voters believe the protesters’ actions intend to destroy public and private property.  21% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and 86% of Republicans feel there is an intention for destruction.  If those numbers are adjusted to remove the bias, the number increases to 54% amongst all voters. Again, it appears that the narrative of “peaceful protesters” is not carrying.

When asked about their support for local police, only 57% of Democrats responded in the affirmative, while 78% of Independents and 94% of Republicans answered the same.  Only 25% of all voters do not support the police with 43% of that number being represented by Democrat voters.

If one is to look at this poll, it can be seen that when the bias is intended to affect the outcome of a question, it certainly can do so.   Any poll that gives one party or the other an advantage above 5 points should be adjusted or disregarded.  This has long been my complaint about online opt-in polling as it allows for too many variables to affect the outcome of the poll.  In this case, respondents were allowed to self-report their voting propensity and party affiliation, much of which should be determined by polling firms through voting data.  We also know that registered voters ARE NOT ALWAYS active or high-propensity voters.  A judgment bias may affect the outcome of those questions and no one wants to be judged by anyone regarding their lack of civic engagement.  Additionally, without weighing the results based upon previous historical turn-out models, a built-in bias could cause a lot of issues regarding the reliability of the results from biased-leaning polls in either direction.

Throughout the next couple of months leading up to election day, I will be providing polling analysis at with some short articles on the front page of the site.  My more in-depth articles, like this one, will be found in the VIP Section after September 15th.