There is an interesting post at Powerline titled “My Lying Eyes.” It’s related to one of the most talked-about topics in politics now—the disconnect many Trump supporters feel about the polls. In fact, the vast majority of Trump supporters believe Trump will win the election and there is a similar phenomenon going on with Biden supporters. They are confident their favored candidate will win too.
Biden folks are leaning on their strength in the polls and Trump’s supporters are citing voter enthusiasm, not just the size of the rallies but also spontaneous shows of support like boat and car parades. There is a vast network of Trump meet-up groups on Facebook that are prone to get out and make their presence known. Biden has nothing like that, just a steady polling lead and hatred for Trump by powerful institutions.
It’s okay to be skeptical of polls. They are an important tool that we utilize regularly at the Civitas Institute but polls have been wrong in the past.
Brooke Medina and I just recently interviewed Joseph Campbell on polling failures in presidential elections for the Civitalk podcast. Campbell, a professor at American University, wrote an entire book on polling failures after being inspired by the 2016 election. There are plenty of examples in history to study.
I think the 2020 election presidential will be close. It will undoubtedly be close in North Carolina and I have no great claim for contradicting the latest Civitas Poll which shows the presidential race essentially tied here.
There are concerning factors for both sides, such as Trump’s continued vulnerabilities in the polls with seniors and suburban women. Biden seems to have little voter enthusiasm but that’s potentially alleviated by strong dislike for Trump by many. If one supports Trump, they may find it discouraging that he has to spend so much time in North Carolina or Florida, two states he probably should have had locked up if his reelection was more of a certainty. On top of that, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown almost everything for a loop and made it even more of a difficult election to predict. Certainly, Biden’s fundraising advantage is a benefit to his overall campaign. Still, Biden lacks appearances or virtually any enthusiasm on the campaign trail and questions remain about his physical strength for such a demanding position. His constituency is almost entirely fatigue or hatred over Trump. How reliant are they to go the extra mile to vote or carry Biden to victory?
I’ve posted before about how it can be deceiving to just believe your eyes when it comes to the size of crowd rallies, but it’s clear that Trump’s enthusiasm is formidable. Are those supporters just a very vocal minority or something even bigger? A lot of experts thought Mitt Romney was going to win in 2012 because he seemed to have momentum with the crowds and enthusiasm near the end of 2012. Yet, he was easily trounced by former president Barack Obama. Is this a 2012 election for Republicans or more akin to 2016? Could this election tilt one way on lockdown fatigue or coronavirus fears? Hopefully, we will all find out soon enough and this election doesn’t spiral into a chaotic scene of uncertainty and recounts.