So, all right, President Joe Biden hasn’t been doing well in the polls. Voters are concerned about his advanced age, policy failures and diminishing returns, cognitively.
However, if the Democrats want to avoid another Trump administration, all they have to do is replace Biden on the ballot with someone popular, right?
I mean, let’s say things really start going south before the primary process begins. Uncle Joe could pull an LBJ — or rather, be told to pull an LBJ, since it’s clear the guy isn’t in control of much at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — and say he would not be seeking nor accepting the party’s nomination. Assuming Biden can still read the teleprompter right and get out of the way, Donald Trump would be yesterday’s news, right?
Not so fast, according to a new poll from the U.K.’s Stack Data Strategy.
The online survey of more than 15,000 registered voters between Oct. 13 and Nov. 3 found that Trump would beat Biden in the Electoral College if the election were held today and they were the two party’s nominees — and he’d also beat two of Biden’s most likely replacements, apparently by a wider margin.
The poll used a “Multi-level Regression and Poststratification (MRP) model — a statistical technique that uses large sample national polling data to create estimates of public opinion at lower geographic level” — to arrive at its conclusions.
While Stack’s analysis found that Biden would win the national popular vote again by a slim margin in a rematch — 49 percent to 48 percent — this wouldn’t carry over to the Electoral College, where Trump would win handily, 292-246.
“The poll shows Trump on course to win back four key swing states that Biden won in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” Stack Data Strategy said in a news release.
“All of these states were won by Trump in the 2016 election before flipping to Biden in the 2020 election, preventing Trump from the same path to the White House,” it said. “These states are vital for Trump’s re-election.
“These four states had the closest margins out of all states in 2020, and Biden managed to win Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin by less than one percent of the vote. In our current projections, however, we are seeing significant swings towards Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania. In Georgia, Trump leads by 3.3% in our projection, while he is also projected to win Pennsylvania by 2.3%.”
However, Stack acknowledged that “the battleground states remain extremely tight.”
“Four states are forecast to be won by less than 2% of the vote. Under the current estimates, Trump would win the vote in Arizona by 1.4% and in Wisconsin by 0.9%,” the news release said.
“This far out from the election, these are very small differences within a margin of error, and it is far from impossible that the Democrats will be able to close the gap by November 5th.”
It’s worth noting that Stack, which is based in London, didn’t give a margin of error in its poll, and there were significant issues with opacity elsewhere in the survey, too.
The news release obtained by Politico merely noted the pollster “set quotas on age and gender (interlocked), region, level of educational attainment, ethnicity and past voting behavior at the last presidential election.”
“By using strict quotas regarding education and ethnicity, we were able to overcome the challenges that online polling frequently faces, namely its limited reach in groups of people with lower educational attainment and within Hispanic communities,” the pollster said. “Our underlying sample is representative of US adults, including these ‘hard-to-reach’ but electorally crucial sub-groups.”
Keep that language in mind, because it’s part of the reason, while it’s OK for conservatives to get excited about this survey, we shouldn’t get too excited.
That being said, back to the idea of replacing our senescent Oval Office puppet with his veep or the other major Democrat being floated for a presidential run, California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“Despite recent calls for change, our polling also shows that neither party would benefit from a change in candidate, President Trump would beat both of Biden’s possible replacements by an even greater margin,” said Joe Bedell, Stack’s North American head.
Neither Bedell nor any of the releases elaborated on how much worse either would do, however. What is clear is that a replacement on the GOP side would not go so hot, either, according to the survey: “Joe Biden would beat [Florida] Governor Ron DeSantis by a score of 359 electoral college votes to 179.”
However, there is a caveat to all this: While Stack’s news releases are filled with an avalanche of jargon about how its methodology is profoundly accurate, what it sounds like is an online survey that was skewed toward voters with lower levels of college education. Online surveys, many have posited, are less reliable than more traditional forms of polling.
Then there’s the issue of slant: Given that Stack worked with the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2022 midterms, it’s safe to say that — however accurate its predictions were — it still has issues regarding where its bread is buttered.
So, yes, the survey has the good news for conservatives that 1) Trump would win enough battleground states to carry a 2024 rematch and 2) he’d also handily beat Harris or Newsom, should Biden pull an LBJ.
However, with tight margins and no margin of error given, that prediction becomes problematic.
Then there’s a model specifically designed to capture more blue-collar voters — a staple for both Trump and Biden, but a demographic practically allergic to Harris, Newsom and DeSantis thus far.
And this is to say nothing about the possibility of more charges and/or convictions for Trump by the special counsel or opportunistic local prosecutors.
Nevertheless, Stack touted the survey as the “most comprehensive poll to date” — and given its 2022 NRCC track record and other self-touted successes, it might be right.
And what’s more, as bad as our visibly geriatric president may be, the much-hyped backups who are supposed to wipe the floor with Trump if they get a shot at him? Yeah, they’ll apparently do even worse.
Sweet dreams, West Wingers.
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