By Washington Examiner for Lolwe digital
Poll after poll in swing states shows Joe Biden edging ahead of President Trump in head-to-head match-ups, a troubling sign for Republicans as the Trump administration fields constant criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic: down in Florida and Michigan by 4 points, in Wisconsin by 3 points, losing by 8 points in Pennsylvania.
But the polls also show some silver linings for Trump and suggest that when, and if, life turns relatively normal before Election Day and after the height of the coronavirus pandemic, he could close the gap on Biden’s lead.
A Quinnipiac Florida poll conducted April 6-20 finds Biden with a 4-point lead over Trump, 46% to 42%.
The Quinnipiac Florida poll shows a major warning sign for Trump: loss of support among older voters. A demographic that Trump won by 17 points in 2016, Florida voters over 65 now favor Biden by 10 points.
But that might be balanced with Trump gaining ground among Floridians aged 35-49, who Clinton won in 2016 by 15 points but favor Trump by 4 points in the Quinnipiac poll.
“Even in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, Florida delivers a familiar deja vu in the head-to-head presidential race,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. “It’s Biden, but it’s close as independents play a huge potential role. Sound familiar?”
In Wisconsin, a Marquette University poll finds Biden leads Trump 48% to 45% despite Trump having a slightly better net favorability rating than Biden.
The silver lining for Trump in Wisconsin: 11% of respondents had no opinion of Biden or had not heard enough about him, leaving room for the Trump campaign to define their rival to voters.
North Carolina showed a similar trend. A Public Policy Polling survey conducted April 14-15 found Trump just one point behind Biden, but Trump has a slightly higher favorability rating, and 12% of voters were not sure how they felt about Biden.
A Michigan Fox News poll, where Biden leads by 4 points, conducted April 18-21 suggests that Trump is losing support amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A majority of Michiganders, 59%, thought Trump was too slow in responding to the virus, while Democratic Michigan Gov. Grethen Whitmer, who has instituted extremely strict stay-at-home orders, has a much higher job approval rating than Trump, 63% compared to 47%.
Trump won Michigan in 2016 by less than a quarter of a percentage point, but Biden leads Trump by 8 points in the poll, 49% to 41%.
A second Fox News April 18-21 poll in Pennsylvania, which found Biden 8 points ahead of Trump, similarly found that 58% thought Trump was too slow in responding to the coronavirus and high support, 69%, for the state’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf.
“If voters approve of his leadership style but are questioning if it is right for the future, holding onto Pennsylvania will be challenging for Trump. But if they like Trump personally and will line back up behind him in November, the race could be very close,” said Chris Anderson, one of the pollsters whose firm conducted the Fox News poll.
Another tool in Trump’s basket? The enthusiasm of his supporters.
While an April 7-8 Arizona poll from OH Predictive Insights found that president trails Biden by 9 points in Arizona, it also noted that Trump has a much higher level of enthusiasm among his supporters: 88% of those who picked Trump said that they are very or extremely enthusiastic about voting for him, while 78% said the same for Biden. (Other recent Arizona polls find Biden leading by smaller percentages.)
If coronavirus fears still sweep the country in November, turning out voters “is going to be made even more difficult if a candidate’s supporters are not enthusiastic about voting for them in the first place,” said Jacob Joss, data analyst at OH Predictive Insights.