Democrats, watching all polls point to a Biden lead over Trump, are breathing a sigh of relief. A few weeks back, the presumptive Democratic nominee looked woefully inadequate to take on Donald Trump.
After beating Sanders, Biden receded into the background as Trump came to the forefront with his daily press briefings. During that period in time, Democrats didn’t need polls to tell them the problem. President Trump didn’t have to fight Joe Biden. He only had to make the country forget about him.
And while many forgot Biden for that period of one or two weeks, the former vice president is now back. Trump’s extended run in front of the press is now backfiring as his inadequacies look more obvious. Biden is doing well in latest polls as Democrats finally wait to undo the most stunning defeat they’ve endured in recent times.
Democrats may get joy watching Biden taking the lead as many polls suggest. However, they would be wise not to count their chickens yet. Trump is not going anywhere.
Polls Burned Democrats in 2016
Anyone who followed the election during 2016 saw endless panel discussions and MSNBC and CNN on the latest polls. Each of these polls showed Trump losing to Clinton and the Democrats scoring a stunning victory.
The margin of difference between Trump and Clinton kept moving, but the result was always the same. We have this clip from Rachel Maddow to commemorate those days –
(The video belongs to MSNBC)
Every day, viewers of MSNBC and CNN were told Trump would lose. Everyone was told not to worry about Trump and that Clinton had all things covered.
Is it really a surprise then that the turnout amongst Democratic voters was low? If they were told Clinton would get 350 electoral votes every day on CNN, why would they go out of their way to vote?
The assurance mainstream media gives Democrats through these polls actually ends up hurting them. To win this year, Democrats must not take any poll, especially at this stage, seriously.
Another reason for Democrats to dismiss all polls at this stage is that the Biden campaign isn’t really doing a lot.
The only reason Biden is doing well in the polls is Trump’s incompetence. Many Democrats think Biden should let Trump take over the media space and self-combust over the next six months. This strategy only sounds good on paper.
Trump’s job approval rating stands at 49%. Remember Trump is currently overseeing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment is unbelievably high and the country’s GDP is contracting.
And yet, nearly half the country still approves the job Trump is doing. Despite all his weaknesses being laid bare, the president is still popular. Democrats may point to many polls, but if Trump’s approval rating is 49% in November, he will win the election.
Simply waiting for Trump to trip up is a dangerous tactic. This is why a lot of onus rests on the Biden campaign to provide a strong message.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, Biden doesn’t have a good message yet.
Polls Underrepresent The Trump Base
Another reason Democrats should ignore the polls is the underrepresentation of Trump’s base in them.
Polls in 2016 didn’t see Trump coming partly because no polling model or operation could account for Trump’s voter base.
Most Democrats think Trump’s base consists only of people standing in stadiums wearing red MAGA hats. This assumption is wrong. Many independents voted for Trump in 2016 because they wanted to get rid of establishment leaders like Clinton. They did not want four years of incrementalism with Hillary Clinton. They didn’t want a leader promising four more years of Obama.
It might be a sin to say this, but many people struggled during the Obama presidency. The former President made great promises and rode to a memorable victory. However, he didn’t keep some of his main promises like ending foreign wars and reining in Wall Street. The healthcare bill he passed served private insurance companies more than citizens. Incomes remained stagnant during his tenure for the middle class, while big corporations, banks, and Silicon Valley enjoyed exponential growth in revenue and income.
Democrats believed in the polls in 2016 and no poll saw the wave of silent Trump voters. These voters were in no mood to vote for another Clinton. These voters didn’t wear MAGA hats then. They probably still don’t.
Since it’s unclear whether polls have improved in the last four years and now account for Trump’s support better, Democrats should ignore them.
In order to ensure victory, Democrats must stop looking at polls and put pressure on Biden to run a more robust campaign.
(Image Credit – Gage Skidmore)