New Poll spells trouble for Dems

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Trump still competitive in battleground states

There’s roughly a year to go before we decide who will become President of the United States on January 20, 2021. Recent polls telling us who’s up and who’s down rarely cause a rise to my blood pressure.

Until the one that just came out, that is.

The New York Times/Sienna College poll, released yesterday, should be a wake-up call to all of us who think that Donald Trump is a disaster for America. The idea that he could win again, even with all we know about his presidency, is beyond frightening. However, when you look at the results of the poll, the warning signs are flashing loudly.

But many may ask, “What’s the big deal? All the top tier Democrats are leading Trump overall nationally, some by nearly ten percentage points.” That’s true. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all lead Trump when you ask the whole population who their voting preference would be. When you consider the whole population though, the results are skewed due to the inclusion of California and New York, two heavily democratic states.

So yes, if we held the popular vote today, Trump would lose ‘bigly.’

Unfortunately, the popular vote in our country doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s all about the battleground states and the dreaded Electoral College. And by looking at the poll, the current president isn’t detested as much as we might think. He’s got a real shot to win these states again, especially if Democrats do not nominate the correct person to run against him.

Among registered voters, Biden defeats Trump by small percentages in four of the states, is even in Michigan, and loses by two points in North Carolina. Sanders leads in three states by low margins, and Trump leads in three by equally small margins. Warren fares the worst, only beating Trump by two points in Arizona, barely losing to him in three states, and is even with him in two.

These particular states are important in that Trump won them all in 2016. Most experts agree that Democrats must win at least three of these states in 2020 if they have any chance of victory.

I’m not a polling expert. But these numbers spell trouble for Democrats, in my view. It’s tough for me to understand some of the voting public, especially in these particular states. I look at the news coming out every day. Are they not paying attention? There’s a disconnect, for sure.

Trump’s approval rating has been consistent since the day he was sworn in, roughly 38-42%, and he remains the only president in modern history never to crack the 50% mark. Yet his base, concentrated heavily in these battleground states, poses a significant barrier for Democrats.

The fact is, the same voters who represent Trump’s base, are not leaving him. White working-class voters with no college overwhelmingly favor Trump. Just as they did against Hillary Clinton in 2016, these voters will stick by him through thick and thin—crimes or no crimes committed.

As the results of the poll suggest, Trump’s advantage in the Electoral College remains virtually intact since 2016. Through the Mueller Report, all of the various scandals and corruption, as well as the current impeachment inquiry–it doesn’t matter. He could lose the popular vote by millions—and still keep his job. Only in America, I suppose.

I realize we’re still a long way off till next November. So much could happen between now and then. If there’s one thing we know for sure, this president will continue to abuse his office in ways we previously thought were unimaginable. Nothing shocks us anymore. The lows continue to sink even lower.

But this poll has changed my perception. While I’m generally impressed with the field of Democrats running for the nomination, I now find myself wondering which one of these candidates can beat Trump. My progressive heart says it’s Elizabeth Warren. My brain says not so fast.

To be clear though, I’m not sure if this poll is an outlier or a significant trend. A recently released Emerson College Poll, for example, shows that in Michigan, Biden, Sanders, and Warren all beat Trump by 8-12 points. That would seem to contradict the New York Times/Sienna poll, which shows Trump performing much better there. At this stage of the campaign, it’s just too early to tell.

However, it’s not too early for my hair to be on fire. That’s just me, I suppose. Not all of the public is in tune with the political world– not as much as myself, that is. That will change as we get closer to the 2020 election.

But my concern is genuine. We cannot let this man win the presidency again. And while I’d love nothing better than to elect a more left-leaning candidate who wants to do big things, realism has begun to set in. I can state, emphatically, that I will vote for whomever the Democratic candidate will be.

I know that Joe Biden is the safe vote. I realize his appeal to those white working-class voters who went for Trump in 2016, after voting for Obama twice before. He’s a known quantity, is a good and decent man, and would hold up well against Trump’s attacks. Even Trump knows this. He’s not a fool, politically that is. He knows he’d have the most trouble going after Biden. Look no further than the current crisis he finds himself in. It wasn’t Warren, Sanders, or anyone else who he wanted Ukraine to dig up dirt on. It was Biden.

My point here is not to endorse a particular candidate. I have my feelings, and I like some better than others. I realize that Biden isn’t the new kid on the block. It’s unlikely he’ll inspire the 18-24 crowd much, at least not like Obama was able to do. But yes, Biden can win. And if he’s the guy, I’ll vote for him enthusiastically. If it’s Elizabeth Warren? I’ll do the same. Sanders? Of course.

Again though, this is my view. What worries me most, and even keeps me up at night, is whether the rest of the country feels the same way. Not the Trump cult, of course. We know what they’re going to do. It’s the rest of the voting public that concerns me.

When I see progressives on Twitter and other social media closing ranks around a single candidate, it worries me. Why? The vitriolic back and forth I see daily, makes me think we could easily have another repeat of 2016. Back then, we had Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters at each others’ throats. Many of the Sanders people decided it was better to support third-party candidate Jill Stein and others, rather than punch the card for Hillary. We know what happened, do we not?

I get the passion and allegiance. I sincerely hope, however, that when it’s all said and done, reasonable people will get out and vote for the Democratic candidate. The Times/Sienna Poll tells us that the most unpopular and corrupt president in our lifetime could win again. Yes, my hair is on fire, and my blood pressure is up.

Am I wrong?

28 comments

  1. I suspect that this poll is an outlier, so not really indicative.

    As for the candidates: Many people like Biden, because he is centrist. But I don’t agree. Biden is uninspiring. And many voters may not be enthusiatic enough to show up at the polls if Biden is the candidate. My tentative preference would be for Mayor Pete, but I’m okay with whoever wins the nomination. Warren and Sanders will generate more enthusiasm than will Biden.

    Of course, there will be attack ads. Warren has shown how she can fight back (“yet she persisted”). I’m not at all sure that Biden would handle the attacks any better than Hilary did the last time around.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Agreed Neil. Biden is not inspiring. He’s not my first choice by any means. I’m wondering what you think about Amy Kloubachar? Do you think she has a chance to gain momentum? She’s definitely a centrist and could coax a few of those people in battleground states to switch from Trump to the Dems. As I said in my post, my heart is with Warren. But, I’m open to whomever the Dem is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. She’s ticked up a percentage point or two. Certainly not enough. Until we see how these primaries play out, we just don’t know yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I too prefer Mayor Pete, but this intolerant country has a long way to go before a gay man has a chance to win the states the Dems need to win to defeat Trump. Biden could falter, but at this stage, his popularity with blue collar workers and black voters gives him the best chance to win those states. It’s good to be idealistic, but it’s better to be pragmatic if we’re going to save this country from four more years of Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree with you about Mayor Pete. I like him. But I just don’t know if were there yet as a country. Hell, we seem to have a hard enough time with a woman candidate! I’d love it if a woman were to beat his butt in November. Just don’t know if it’s possible

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      2. I too am a Pete supporter. HOWEVER, I agree his chances are very slim.

        While the odds tell us Biden will win the nomination, it pains me. Sure, I’ll vote Blue, but Biden is no spring chicken and has actually been “showing his age” with his various and sundry gaffes. Good grief! We’re got an old fogey in the WH now who can’t remember “people he’s met and stood beside in pictures.” (OK. I do admit there’s more here than simple memory loss.) But seriously, IMO, we NEED to get some younger and more progressive people in the job. But alas. I’m not holding my breath.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Long way to go Nan. After Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, we’ll have a much better idea. I remember when Obama won Iowa. Up till then, I didn’t think he had a chance. That changed everything. You never know. We could see some surprises.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This — Are they not paying attention? — is the key. No, most are NOT paying attention. They have families to take care of … which means going to work everyday, paying the bills, taking the kids to the doctor, putting food on the table, keeping the car running, etc., etc., etc.

    So, taking all this into consideration, when it finally comes down to actually voting, yes, most Democrats will probably vote for Biden — simply because he’s “familiar.” And the Republicans will vote for Trump — primarily because Faux News had told them what a great leader he is and ALL THAT HE’S DONE FOR THEM (snarkiness intended).

    Now as to who will actually walk away with the prize? NO predictions!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right. It’s called life, right? It’s why so many in the country just don’t have the time for the daily Trump chaos. Come election day, we must have a candidate who inspires. I really believe that. I’m like you though….no predictions here!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. No, my friend, you are not wrong. This poll may be, as Neil said, an outlier, but the reality is that with gerrymandered districts in many states, the uber-propaganda machine running at mach speed, and Trump’s foolishly stubborn base, next year’s election is not, as many believe, a sure thing. There was a time when any president who had committed as many crimes, had abused the Constitution in the many ways Trump has, would not stand a snowball’s chance, and the GOP would have been looking for a new candidate, looking to cut their losses. But, this is today, this is the era of racism & bigotry, a time where people are more concerned with their own self-interest than the health of the nation. This is a time when we are divided by nearly every issue, when profit seems to override humanity. There are very real problems for the democratic party, no matter which of the top three become the nominee. Those of us who care, who stay informed … well, our hair is on fire and our blood pressure is up. Excellent post, Jeff.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jill! You know, I heard a little slogan this morning. I can’t remember who said it. But it’s something along the lines of: Dems are the party of WE….Repubs are the party of, What about ME? I think it says so much about where we are in our politics these days. They are clearly the party of Trump, who as you and I know, only cares about himself. His supporters certainly share that characteristic. MY taxes…MY white dominance…MY stocks…They don’t give a damn about what he does to the rest of the country as long as they perceive he’s helping them individually. We’ve become such a selfish society, and who else should be the standard bearer than King Trump himself?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow, Jeff … that slogan says it all, doesn’t it! That is sooooooo very true! That defines the ideological differences between the two parties. We have indeed become a selfish, greedy, and arrogant society. People today think that they are entitled, somehow ‘better’ because of whatever criteria they use to judge others. Some days I really hate this world, y’know?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do Jill, I do. I’m with you. It’s depressing when you think about it. But I do know there’s a lot of people like you and I, and most of the people on this platform, that do care about what happens in the world. We care about the planet, and our neighbors. I have to remind myself of this, especially when I’m at a traffic light and a MAGA dude pulls up next to me!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hear you … one day I was at a red light behind somebody with a Trump bumper sticker and I was all set to ram him from behind, when my daughter reminded me it was her car I was driving and that she’d really like to have it in one piece to get to work the next week. Sigh. This toxicity is turning us into people I don’t want to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    I was pondering on a similar post, when Jeff’s post popped up in my inbox. He has said it better than I could have. This is not the news you want to hear, but it is the news you NEED to hear, for next year’s election is not, as some believe, a sure thing. Thank you, Jeff, for this analysis … though it may not be what we hope to hear, it is certainly information that we should be thinking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff, as before with Hillary, Dems need to get out and vote. As what happened with Brexit, young folks need to get out and vote. People marched the week after the Trump election and after the Brexit election. Did those folks vote? Many did not.

    Trump won because he got less fervent people to stay home. Hillary was an imperfect candidate and he used that. He also used the feeling the Bernie was treated unfairly. Trump knows how to sell off fear and off messaging. He is are horrible manager as reported by several financial reporters and as evidenced by the chaos and incompetence in his White House.

    Please vote. I can assure you the Dem candidate will not be favored by all Dems. There are the lesser of two evils.

    Keith

    PS – Dem candidates need to shout from the roof tops that they will reenter the Paris Climate Change Accord after the inauguration. The world needs our active participation in this accord as we are a top polluter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true Keith, on all points. Yes, the lesser of two evils certainly would work in this case. We, and our planet cannot have this man around for 4 more years. No way.

      Like

      1. Jeff, with all of the policy decisions I have disagreed and his known lying and bullying going into the election, what I feared most was his damage to the planet. Dems need to be unashamed of protecting our planet. And, by the way, the job growth and competition with others are in renewables and innovation. So, it is not an eirher/ or question. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d be ok with any of your top three. In fact, I’d say they’re my top three as well. Mayor Pete is definitely on the upswing though. It’s going to get real interesting…real soon.

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    1. The talking heads say Pete may have problems with the African Americans (who are generally very religious) due to his sexual preference. But from my perspective, I’d love to see him at least make it to the primaries. And then … who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True Nan. I’m still not sure if America is ready for an openly gay man for president. It certainly doesn’t bother me one bit. But Americans, even some Democrats, would have a problem with it. But, maybe I will be proven wrong in my concern. I hope so. I like the guy.

        Liked by 1 person

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