Last month, I reported on the first round of swing state polling ahead of a presumed rematch between incumbent U.S. president Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump next fall. That round of polling – conducted by Bloomberg and Morning Consult – showed Trump leading Biden in five of seven key battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and tied with him in a sixth swing state (Michigan).
Biden was ahead of Trump in just one of those states … Nevada.
These swing states determined the winner of the past two presidential elections … and will determine the winner of the next one. Accordingly, they are the polls to follow … not the nationwide surveys which offer insight into the increasingly irrelevant popular vote.
This week, fresh polling from The New York Times/ Siena College showed Trump expanding his advantage over Biden in these critical battleground states – leading by four percentage points in Pennsylvania, five in Arizona and Michigan, six in Georgia and a whopping eleven percentage points in Nevada. In this survey, Wisconsin was the only swing state which went for Biden – by a narrow two percentage points.
(Click to view)
Surprising? No. It’s been an absolutely terrible year for the incumbent. In addition to a languishing economy and the reemergence of impeachment proceedings, Biden is dealing with a war in the Middle East that has pitted him against one of his key progressive constituencies.
The NYT/Siena pollsters surveyed 600 registered voters in six swing states for a total of 3,600 responses. The polling was conducted over the past six weeks – meaning it started in late September. As was the case with the Bloomberg/ Morning Consult data, the Times/ Siena polling did not factor in third party candidates – which are poised to play a potentially significant role in some of these critical battleground states.
Take a look at the numbers …
ARIZONA – TRUMP 49 BIDEN 44 (+5)
GEORGIA – TRUMP 49 BIDEN 43 (+6)
MICHIGAN – TRUMP 48 BIDEN 43 (+5)
NEVADA – TRUMP 52 BIDEN 41 (+ 11)
PENNSYLVANIA – TRUMP 48 BIDEN 44 (+4)
WISCONSIN – BIDEN 47 TRUMP 45 (+2)
Not surprisingly, Times reporters moved quickly to downplay the damaging data.
“It’s important to note that polls are snapshots, not predictions,” reporter Shane Goldmacher noted. “A campaign is coming to mobilize young and diverse Democratic constituencies. And answering a call to say no to Biden now can be very different than proactively going to a voting booth to cast a vote for Trump in 12 months.”
Translation? Move along, nothing to see here …
A far more accurate assessment of the numbers was provided by the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.
“Public-opinion polls are a snapshot in time, and results can change quickly in politics as events intrude,” the paper noted. “But the polls have been sending Democrats and President Biden the same election warning for months, so perhaps they’ll eventually start listening.”
According to the paper, the latest numbers represented “a five-alarm fire for Democrats a year before the election.” And given Trump is trailing a generic Democratic candidate in all of those swing states, the paper suggested “there’s a compelling case that Mr. Biden can best help his party, and the country, by announcing he won’t run again.”
Former White House staffer David Axelrod – already contemplating a post-Biden election – wrote on X that “it’s very late to change horses,” further pointing out there was “risk associated with changing course now, as there is little time left for a primary campaign.”
“A lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict and Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm,” Axelrod added.
“Only (Biden) can make this decision,” Axelrod continued. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?
As I reported last week, Democratic party officials have been working behind the scenes to “convince Biden to give up his bid for a second term” and allow a more electable candidate to “inherit the party’s nomination.” We’ve specifically heard reports from party insiders that they have prepared a “retirement” statement for Biden – along with an endorsement of California governor Gavin Newsom as the Democratic nominee.
Will these numbers convince them to put pressure on Biden publicly to stand down?
Axelrod is correct: A lot can happen in a year. And will.
But Biden’s position is on the verge of becoming electorally untenable … which could prompt Democrats to take drastic action in their bid to retain control of the White House.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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