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Biden has a narrow lead. Now is not the time to get comfortable

As the election approaches, polling companies are working diligently to gauge the mood of the nation by asking voters which candidate they prefer to vote for.
Picture Courtesy of BBC

With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has taken a double-digit lead over President Trump, according to the latest NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll; but it’s not the time for Democrats to celebrate.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, NPR reported that the former vice president is leading Trump 54% to 43% among likely voters in NPR voting polls. This is the highest level of support Biden has received since the poll began testing the head-to-head match-up in February 2020. Biden has pulled ahead in several key states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which were crucial to Trump’s victory in 2016, but Trump is still within striking distance of a potential victory.

According to the Pew Research Center, Trump continues to hold an advantage over Biden in the share of his voters who say they support him strongly. Today, 68% of Trump voters say they “strongly support” their preferred candidate, compared to 57% of Biden’s voters. This is an increase from 46% in August 2020. Trump voters remain considerably more likely than Biden voters to say their choice in a candidate is more of an expression of support “for” their preferred candidate. By contrast, Biden’s voters are considerably more likely to say their choice is mostly against Trump, the Pew Research Center reports.

Male voters are divided in their vote, with 49% favoring Biden and 45% favoring Trump. In 2016, men favored Trump by modest margins in pre-election polls, as well as among validated 2016 voters.

Biden holds a wide lead in states viewed as likely to vote Democrat or that lean Democratic; these are called the  “blue” or “lean blue” states. In these states, 60% of voters support Biden, while 35% support Trump. Trump holds a narrow lead of 50% to 43% in “red” or “red-leaning” states. And across nine states viewed as “battleground” states by election analysts— Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin— Biden holds a narrow edge of 50% to 45%, according to the Pew Research Center.

Biden has continued to hold an advantage with voters who are Black, Latine, white, college-educated, female, inhabitants of cities or suburbs, young and independent. Biden is currently leading in this survey with white voters 51% to 47%.

According to CNN exit polls, Trump won white voters in 2016 by 20 points. Biden is standing strong at 51% among white voters, which, according to the Roper Center at Cornell University, is the highest for a Democrat dating back to the 1976 election of Jimmy Carter, when U.S. racial demographics were far less diverse.

NPR reports that if Biden does win the predicted level of white voters on Election Day, it would indicate a very large blue wave building for Democrats up and down the ballot. Trump’s strongest groups continue to be white evangelical Christians, rural voters and white without college degrees. Trump’s advantage among white people who did not receive a college education is down 19 points from last month. Back in September, Trump led among white people without college degrees 63% to 33%, but that margin has significantly narrowed in the month of October to a 54% to 43% advantage, still in Trump’s favor. This is the demographics that Trump won 66% to 29% over Hillary Clinton in 2016.  

The one group the Biden campaign has to be concerned about is Latines, as he is leading only 55% to 37% over Trump. On Sept. 8, Business Insider reported that Biden and Trump were fighting to energize the Latine vote and win the swing state of Florida’s 29 electoral votes. A poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International and the Miami Herald showed Biden leading Trump 55% to 38% in the Miami-Dade County, FL. But overall, among Latine voters, Trump narrowly led Biden 47% to 46%, with Trump swamping Biden among Cuban-American voters 68% to 30% and Biden winning over non-Cuban Latine voters 58% to 32%.

June 25, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks to Stacie Ritter, right, and her son, Jan, during a meeting with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act in Lancaster, Pa. Biden is hoping to capture Florida and other pivotal states by pushing Latino turnout rates higher than when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016.
AP Photographer: Matt Slocum, File

The Latine vote is crucial in this election. These numbers demonstrate the challenges that Biden faces in hopes of attracting significant Latine support and exceeding the electoral performance of the last two Democratic presidential nominees, former president Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Business Insider reports.

 An NBC News/Marist Florida poll conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 6 showed that Biden and Trump were tied at 48% among likely voters, with Trump edging out Biden 48% to 47% with registered voters. However, Trump leads Biden 50% to 46% among likely Latine voters, according to the survey, which would be a significant turnaround for the incumbent Republican president.

According to Time Magazine, Biden’s soft support among Latine voters has been an ongoing issue for months, and his campaign has devoted more resources to Latine outreach by reserving Spanish-language ad buys and employing more Latine staffers. On Sept. 2, 2020, Lissandra Villa wrote an article called “Democrats Worry Joe Biden Is Taking Latino Voters for Granted.

“When it comes to Latino voter outreach these days, Democrats can only really compare and compete with themselves. So far, the consensus among political observers is that Democrats—and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden—have not done enough,” Villa said.

Villa’s article highlights the overwhelming responses to a Telemundo and BuzzFeed News poll conducted in June 2020. Between June 5-22, the survey questioned 638 people who identified as Hispanic and 685 non-Hispanic people between the ages of 18 and 34.  The poll found that non-white young voters overwhelmingly supported Biden’s campaign. Sixty percent of young Latine voters, 75% of young non-Hispanic black voters and 72% of young non-Hispanic Asian voters said that they would vote for Biden, compared to the respective 19%, 12% and 16% who said they would vote for Trump. Forty percent of young non-Hispanic white people said they would vote for Trump, compared to the 48% who said they would vote for Biden, according to Buzz Feed News. Young Latine voters were asked to name politicians who had “shown up” for the Latine community and 33% of respondents said no one.

Young Latine voters said that they were more likely to vote for Biden in the upcoming election, but they are still unsure about what the result will be. In August, Biden and Trump were separated by just 1% when the voters were asked who was likely to win the presidential election. Fifty-three percent of voters said they believed Biden will win and 52% said that they thought Trump will be reelected. Seventy-three percent of young Latine Biden supporters expressed that they believed Trump supporters would cheat to win the election, while 51% of Trump supporters said Biden supporters would cheat to win the election.