President Trump’s electoral prospects much better than public led to believe

Surveys “identify strengths in his political standing, some of them not widely noted”

By Dave Andrusko

Elsewhere today we talk about last night’s second day of the Republican National Convention, which more than one observer has asked if it weren’t “the most pro-life convention ever?” (Hint. So far, it sure seems to be!)

This post, talking about the race for the presidency, is a natural complement to what is taking place in this virtual convention. Why? Simply because unlike pro-abortion Joe Biden, whose poll ratings received no “bounce” from last week’s clunker of a Democrat National Convention, there is every reason to believe President Trump will benefit, and perhaps a lot, from the GOP convention.

As we’ve discussed on many occasions, there is an inevitable corrective to the dominate media narrative that the contest is Biden’s to lose. He is ahead in the polls and, absent a big disaster, will win, perhaps easily—or so we’re told.

That always was bunk, and people who are honest –including reporters and columnists wholly sympathetic to Democrats—are acknowledging this. Here are two examples.

Writing at Axios, Jim VandeHei and Jonathan Swan have written a column under the headline, “How Trump could pull off another upset.” Here are some of the many nuggets:

  • “There are several signs that should give the Trump-is-toast self-assured pause.
  • “He’s doing better in some swing-state polls than he was at this point in 2016. And his floor of support holds strong, regardless of what he says or does. 
  • “Not only is the stock market on fire, but a lot of blue-collar workers in building, plumbing and other manual crafts are doing quite well, too.
  • “The New York Times profiled a swath of Trump’s steadfast supporters who ‘outlined myriad reasons for wanting to re-elect him, ranging from the pragmatic … to a gut-level attraction to his hard-nosed personality.’
  • “And the “social desirability” factor in polling — do we tell the blunt truth? — is a huge unknown this year because of the new attention to racial issues.

Then there is something we’ve discussed here on numerous occasions:

  •  “A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found 13% of voters remain ‘in play,’ enough to tip the election.
  • “It also found Trump’s standing with Hispanics is as good if not better than 2016 — and had improved his image by 20 points among whites, who are more than 70% of the electorate.”

Then there is a fascinating Wall Street Journal column, playing off of that poll, that ran August 23. Written by Aaron Zitner, the headline and subhead is long but very descriptive: “Trump Trails Biden, but Polls Show the President Has Some Strengths; Trump’s image has improved among white voters, and Republicans are growing more interested in the election.”

One of the keys is the story compares President Trump’s standings today with that they were four years ago, in addition to updating how the President has improved his polling numbers recently. Here are four important takeaways from the WSJ/NBC News poll.

#1. “An improved image among white voters: Among white voters, Mr. Trump lags behind his 2016 vote share as recorded by exit polls. But in a sign of improvement, white voters in the most recent Journal/NBC News survey were divided almost equally between positive and negative views of the president. Four years ago, by contrast, negative views significantly outweighed positive ones among white voters, 54% to 35%.”

“‘Trump improved his image among whites by about 20 points in the last four years,’ said Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who works on the Journal/NBC News survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt. ‘That’s very important because they are more than 70% of the electorate.’”

#2. “Mr. Trump trails his 2016 support levels among many groups, polling finds. Among Hispanic voters, by contrast, he appears to have maintained or even improved his standing. Some 31% of the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority group say they will back the president, a slightly higher share than the 28% who voted for him in 2016, according to exit polls.”

I’ll bet dollars to donuts this 31% will be higher by November 3.

#3. “Interest in the election has risen among Republicans in the past month and now matches Democratic interest. Some 85% of Republicans rate themselves as highly interested in the election, compared with 83% of Democrats.” Republican interest (and enthusiasm) had been consistently ahead of Democrats. As the election truly heats up—and aided by what promises to be a hugely successful convention—Republicans could well reassume a significant lead in interest and enthusiasm. And

#4. “Up-for-grabs voters lean Republican: The Journal/NBC News survey in July looked at voters who haven’t ruled out either candidate and are ‘in play’ in November. These voters as a group have characteristics that suggest they are open to Mr. Trump and his party.

“Some 22% have a positive image of Mr. Trump, while only 11% have a positive image of Mr. Biden, the July poll found. They prefer a candidate who will confront the Washington establishment, a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s pitch to voters, over one who makes an appeal based on competence and compassion, key themes during the Democratic convention. In addition, these voters want Republicans to lead the next Congress rather than Democrats, 42% to 25%.”

If you have a chance, watch the GOP convention. If you’re like me, from a working class background, those stories of everyday people plugging away in the midst of a pandemic and an economy struggling because of it, will fire you up.