HUNTSVILLE — As your local election headquarters, News 19 is committed to giving you the clearest, most up-to-date polling information in the race for president. Last week, we began a project that will run up to election day.
News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown is breaking down the A-graded polls from fivethirtyeight.com from the past two weeks started two decades ago by Nate Silver, who may be the most prominent statistician in the country who looks at and evaluates polls. Brown has outlined why he’s focused on those polls.
“In fact he has evaluated, as best I can tell, over 400 polls looking at over 15 years of data,” Brown said. “He developed a grading system and roughly 3 percent of all the polls he evaluates — he gives this ‘A grade’ to.
Last week, the poll average showed Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump 50 to 43.
That theme continued the national polls covering the presidential race.
“The President’s support is largely static, Biden’s support has increased slightly,” Brown said Wednesday. “And so the gap between the two candidates has gone from about 7 or 8 percent to almost 12 percent.”
The polling data shows Biden with a comfortable lead in four polls released in the past 10 days.
As a candidate in 2016, President Trump lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College vote, carrying key battleground states. He’s trailing this election cycle.
“Florida and North Carolina remain competitive, but Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, remain, they’re increasingly tilting in the Biden direction,” Brown said.
Despite the 2016 polls, Trump pulled an upset. Brown said the terms of this race are different.
“2016 was Donald Trump running as an outsider,” Brown said. “2020 is a referendum on Donald Trump’s performance as president. That’s the way it works for all presidents seeking a second term. In fact, if anyone was perceived as the incumbent, or the entrenched establishment in 2016, it was Secretary Clinton, not Mr. Trump.”
The numbers suggest only about five percent of voters remain undecided.
“What we’re seeing now is the gradual shrinking of truly undecided voters,” Brown said. “It’s looking bleak for the President if he hopes the remaining undecideds will save him. Because in most of the grade-A polls we’re looking at, Biden is at the 50 percent mark or slightly above the 50 percent mark, and so the President basically needs a net shift of support from Biden to him. There’s just probably not enough undecided voters at this juncture to produce a popular vote victory for the President.
“Now one thing that should be noted, there may be enough Independent voters still left to produce him with an Electoral College victory, assuming he can get those popular votes distributed in the right manner geographically.”
Trump has seen his support fall sharply among college-educated women. Older voters and white males without a college degree remain the President’s staunchest supporters. Brown said older voters tend to identify more closely with religion and the Democratic Party is seen by those voters as being less committed to what they view as “traditional values.”
The President’s failure to add to his roughly 43-44 percent is the biggest challenge he faces, Brown said. And, the polls suggest Independent voters are leaning away from the President.
“I think it’s performance and style,” Brown said. “It’s performance in his method of messaging and I think it’s, finally over time, it’s worn thin with Independent voters. I think the friction that is within the gears of government right now, voters want some relief.”
Biden isn’t the dominant question on the ballot, Brown said, it’s the President.
“Clearly those independent voters are going to be focused on, ‘Do I want Donald Trump for a second term?’ Frankly all other factors are pretty much secondary,” Brown said.
Brown said the current polls add up to a Biden victory, but the election is three weeks away.
“”If you take the major pollsters right now and you consider only the states Clinton carried by a comfortable margin, and you add to it the states where Biden leads by more than 5 percent currently, Biden has enough electoral college votes to be elected President of the United States. He’d be at roughly 294, and 270 you’re elected.”
Polling Average October 1-14, 2020
|October 6||Survey USA||43||53|
|October 7||Fox News||43||53|
Week to Week Comparison
|||TRUMP||BIDEN||# OF POLLS|
Battleground States Poll Averages – October 1 – 14
|||TRUMP||BIDEN||# OF POLLS|