A new Quinnipiac poll is being peddled by the mainstream media with the headline that Biden leads Trump by a 15-point margin and Trump’s favorability is plummeting. What is rarely mentioned in these cherry-picked narratives is that last spring, long before the foreign coronavirus devastated entire sectors of the economy and cities from DC to Seattle descended into chaos, Biden led Trump by a 13-point margin. If anything, the fact that Trump hasn’t ceded more ground over the past year is surprising. Even more surprising is the fact that compared to last year, Biden’s favorable numbers have actually fallen.
Despite President Trump being blamed incessantly for everything from the coronavirus to riots and economic fallout, the shift toward Biden from one year ago has been exceptionally modest. Last June, Biden led Trump 53% to 40%. Now, on the heels of coronavirus, record unemployment claims, and mass riots, Biden leads 52% to 37%.
Yes, Trump lost ground and Biden gained modestly since June 2019, but it is hard not to wonder why Trump hasn’t lost more substantially and Biden hasn’t gained more substantially given everything that has happened in the last year. If anything, the major shift has not been toward Biden, but an increase in third party and undecided voters. Notice the share of third party and undecided voters rose from 5% in June 2019 to 9% in July 2020 as shown below.
These numbers get more interesting when broken into demographic categories. Among men, 10% are now undecided or would vote for someone else, among voters 18 to 34, 12% are now undecided or would vote for someone else, among African American voters, 14% are now undecided or would vote for someone else, and among Hispanics, a full 15% are undecided or would vote for someone else, as shown below.
What’s more, Biden’s unfavorable numbers have actually risen, and his unfavorable numbers have fallen since last year. That is correct, in the midst of a pandemic that the mainstream media won’t stop blaming President Trump for, Biden has lost ground while commentating from his bunker. As shown below, Biden’s unfavorable numbers rose from 39% in May 2019 to 43% this month, and his favorable numbers fell from 49% in May, 2019 to 45% this month.
Biden continues to struggle substantially with men, Hispanics, and young voters. As shown below, 50% of men have an unfavorable view of Biden versus 39% who have a favorable view. Among Hispanics, 42% hold an unfavorable view of Biden compared to just 33% who hold a favorable view, and among 18 to 34-year-olds, 43% hold an unfavorable view of Biden compared to just 36% who hold a favorable view.
President Trump’s approval rating on the economy has taken a nosedive the past few months, but his approval ratings on race relations and foreign policy are exactly the same as they were one year ago – 31% and 37% respectively. On healthcare, President Trump has actually gained modestly post-covid. His approval rating on healthcare stood at 33% in August 2017, peaked at 41% in May 2020, and then fell to 35% this month, despite the health crisis.
The mainstream media has spent the spring and summer relentlessly running the narrative that Biden is gaining rapidly against Trump, but the reality is a lot more nuanced. Yes, Trump’s approval rating has taken a hit, in large part due to being a sitting President presiding over one of the most disruptive and deadly pandemics in modern history. Yet his numbers are surprisingly resilient even on race issues, and his approval has gone up on healthcare. Biden, for his part, is losing favorable numbers compared to last year, and continuing to struggle with men, young voters, and Hispanics.