With the election only a few months away, the presidential race is heating up — and not in President Trump's favor. On Wednesday, The New York Times released a poll it conducted with Siena College that found presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a 14-point lead over Trump. Coupled with new electoral map predictions, Trump's path to re-election may not be as smooth as he thought.
Conducted between June 17-22, the poll surveyed 1,337 registered voters, and has a margin error of 3 percentage points. Even at this early stage, Biden's lead is significant, particular in the poll's subsurveys among certain key demographic groups. The Times noted that in the 2016 election, exit polls found Hillary Clinton only had a 7-point lead over Trump among white women with college degrees, but in this new survey, Biden leads Trump among the same group by 39 points. Among Black voters, Biden's appeal is also much stronger, as 81% of respondents said they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the former vice president, compared to just 6% of Black voters who said the same about Trump.
With protests of racist policing popping off across the country, Trump has tried to boast about how much he's done for Black people. Earlier this month, Trump shared a letter by his former lawyer John Dowd in which Dowd claimed that "Trump has done more to help our minority brothers and sisters in three years than anyone in the last 50." The lawyer also, however, referred to protesters demanding racial justice as "terrorists."
A day before sharing Dowd's letter, Trump tweeted specifically that he was a better candidate for Black Americans than Biden, specifically invoking Biden's leading on the 1994 crime bill that set in motion mass incarceration in the U.S.
It's absolutely true that the crime bill was terrible for communities of color and a reason why some will refuse to vote for Biden this fall. But that doesn't mean people of color are favoring Trump. As really anyone could predict, Black and Latinx voters are clearly towards Biden as he has a 74-point and 39-point lead in support among those groups, respectively.
Unfortunately, national polls don't make or break a presidential race, as seen in 2016, and back in 2000 when former President George W. Bush beat Democratic nominee Al Gore. Despite the fact that Gore won the popular vote by nearly 550,000, Bush won the Electoral College and thus the White House. In 2016, Clinton won nearly 3 million votes more. than Trump, but lost the Electoral College, giving Trump the victory.
However, CNN recently published an electoral map that shows things aren't looking up for Trump there, either. Amy Walter, a political prognosticator at the Political Report, wrote, "With just under five months until the election, President Trump is a severe underdog for re-election." Walter's predictions say that 248 electoral votes are solidly or leaning to Biden compared to 204 for Trump. On Twitter, CNN's Chris Cillizza wrote that even some reliably Republican states like Arizona and Texas "appear to genuinely [be] in play for Biden."
While Trump's base has been steadfast, he's always been a largely unpopular president. At the beginning of the year, FiveThirtyEight reported that Trump is the most unpopular president to run for re-election since Gerald Ford.
Trump's mishandling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic certainly didn't help matters. From ignoring the pandemic for two months to taking away funding for testing even as cases surge, the Trump administration is moving like it wants to extend the pandemic out to election season, as if that will gain him any favors. Meanwhile, his much-touted Tulsa comeback rally over the weekend barely drew a crowd worth mentioning.
While Trump could still win re-election without being popular among Americans as a whole, it's worth asking if, as protests already surge, the country could handle ignoring the will of the people once again.