While the mainstream media is once again pushing the narrative of the inevitable coronation of the Democratic nominee, the polls might actually be telling a much different story than most headlines suggest.
According to Newsweek’s Katherine Fung, while “polls show that swing state voters may prefer Democratic nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump … Trump is doing better than he was this time in 2016.”
“According to an analysis from Real Clear Politics, Biden holds a 4.4 percentage point lead over the president in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona,” she explains. “However, Democrat Hillary Clinton was ahead of Trump by 4.8 points in these swing states this time in 2016–a slightly greater advantage than the one Biden currently has.”
Biden’s leads in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states Trump won, are also smaller than Clinton’s leads at this time four years ago. “The Real Clear Politics average shows that Biden is ahead with a 6.3 lead in Pennsylvania and a 6.2 advantage in Michigan. Comparably, Clinton was leading in these two states by 9.2 points and 9.6 points, respectively, this time in 2016.”
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Similarly, polls for Wisconsin and North Carolina show Biden with a smaller lead than they did for Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
The only outliers to this trend are Florida and Arizona. Biden’s lead in Florida is at 3.5, compared to Hillary’s 3.2 point lead in 2016. Biden also leads in Arizona by 3.4 points, compared to Trump’s 0.7 point advantage in 2016.
One other curiosity is Georgia, which I doubt anyone actually believes Biden will win, but where Trump was ahead by 4.7 points in the polls at this time in 2016. Biden supposedly has a 0.3 point lead there now.
What does all this mean? Is Trump going to outperform the polls again? If he does, is there reason to be concerned about Florida and Georgia? Trump supporters may be quick to dismiss polls, and they have every reason to do so. But, make no mistake about it, these next few weeks are very critical. Trump may do better than polls suggest he will, but that’s no reason to be overconfident.