The Trump Campaign is Back, and The Polls Show It
By Oliver Kline
Last week, I sat down to cover Joe Biden’s incredible and seemingly immutable polling lead over President Trump. For most of the past three months, Joe Biden has held a consistent 8% lead in national polling. Since then, those paragraphs I wrote have been scrapped. That’s because Donald Trump has managed to narrow this race following the Republican National Convention to uncomfortably close margins, especially in the most pivotal states. The RealClearPolitics battleground average, an indicator of polling data in swing states, has dropped from a 6.2% Biden lead to 2.7% since late July. In Florida, Joe Biden has fallen from 7.8% to 3.7% during that time. In Michigan, his lead has fallen from 8% to just 2.6%.
What’s more, President Trump’s approval ratings have been steadily climbing. While approval ratings hovered between 38% and 41% since June, many polls indicate those numbers have since stretched into the mid-forties and continue to climb. A recent survey by Emerson College, one of the most reliable pollsters in the nation, reports Trump reaching 49%, a net 2% approval rating for the first time since January 2017.
Many pundits have predicted the race to narrow as election day draws closer, though I personally didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
In fairness, this could be a post-convention boost, a temporary surge in support for the President that could return as time passes. Even still, this is concerning news for the Biden campaign. While the former Vice President still maintains his lead in Arizona, Florida, and across the Rust Belt, states like North Carolina have become tossups.
Throughout their convention, Republicans banked on anti-BLM sentiment and disapproval of recent protests to sway soft Republicans and independents back towards President Trump. Unfortunately, new polling data from the Marquette University Law School demonstrates this tactic just may be working. Since June, approval for Black Lives Matter protests has fallen from 61% to 48% in Wisconsin, the site of major protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake. Amongst Republicans, that number has dropped to 18%. As support for BLM fades, Donald Trump is stoking up fear amongst predominately white Republican voters. After pointing guns at peaceful protestors in St. Louis, for example, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were invited to the convention to warn listeners that Democrats wanted to bring crime and chaos to the suburbs.
While Donald Trump seems to be relying on racism to narrow this race, we should never underestimate just how effective that strategy can be.
Joe Biden currently holds a moderate yet undoubtedly fragile lead over the incumbent in most swing states. As it stands, FiveThirtyEight assigns Biden only a 68% chance of victory with two months until election day. And while The Hill predicts Biden’s national lead returning to its peak, the aforementioned Emerson College poll assigns Biden a meager 2% national lead. This election cycle is far from over. Regardless of whether or not this polling boost is here to stay, it does send a dangerous message: Joe Biden can always be one news story, one poor debate performance away from watching Inauguration Day from his home in Delaware.
Oliver Kline is a Sophomore from Portland, Oregon studying political science and history.
Note: The GW College Democrats News & Blog Committee’s mission is to highlight, empower, and facilitate the political expression of its members. As such, the views expressed in this article are based on the opinions of its author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the whole of GW College Democrats, its executive board, or its senior deputy board.