If you go back a month or two, polling conducted on likely voters in next year’s Presidential election showed Mr. Trump had a huge problem on his hands: all of the top-tier Democratic contenders in the primaries were looking like easy winners if pitted against Trump in the general election.
But that picture is changing. Over the past 10 days, we have seen polls from Quinnipiac, Fox News, and Emerson all release results on hypothetical general election races. The sum total of their findings is that Joe Biden is now the only candidate reliably polling to beat Trump in 2020 across the various polls.
Fox News and Emerson show Bernie Sanders eeking out a nail-biter versus Trump (where he was a wide winner some weeks ago), but Quinnipiac has Trump winning by a point in that matchup.
Elizabeth Warren polls as a dead draw against Trump in the Emerson results, but she loses by a point in the Fox News poll, which has Biden up by 10 points on Trump. She also comes up a loser in the Quinnipiac poll.
Kamala Harris is a tie or loss in all three.
Only Joe Biden polls as a winner in all three, and by an average margin of over 6 pts. It’s not even close.
As we have outlined, we believe this data demonstrates an example of our Fundamental Axiom for this election. If you are a Democrat, and a polling representative calls you up and asks you who you would vote for if your choices were Donald Trump and Joe Biden, you will answer Joe Biden, no matter whether you are an extreme progressive just back from a Bernie Sanders rally and still wearing the “Socialism Works!” T-shirt or a moderate looking fondly back on Clinton’s first term.
That vote is absolutely guaranteed because of the historically unique character of Trump’s first term, and his willingness to overtly spend time and energy courting partisan hatred as a dog whistle to his core supporters.
However, if you are an independent with moderate political leanings (the most common profile of an American voter) — and you don’t really like Trump at all, but you are put off even more by radically progressive policy ideas such as eliminating private health insurance and using tax dollars to pay for education and medical care for illegal immigrants, then you may end up saying “Biden” in that same situation, but end up saying “Trump” if presented with “Sanders”, “Warren”, or “Harris” as the alternative.
Our thesis is that Biden continues to gain support from likely primary voters — even extremely progressive ones — precisely because he is able to get that centrist support and everyone can see it.
That thesis continues to bear itself out in the polls.