Two New States Have Become Surprisingly Competitive
Author: Greg Valliere
June 4, 2020
IT’S TOO EARLY TO MAKE DEFINITIVE PREDICTIONS about the November election, but our view that Donald Trump is the underdog is reinforced by two surprising new polls — from Fox, no less — that show Joe Biden slightly ahead in Texas and Ohio.
BOTH STATES have generally been considered Trump territory; he easily carried them in 2016 — Texas by 9 points, Ohio by 8 points. If forced to wager, we’d bet that Trump will win them again, by a much closer margin. At the least, he will have to spend time and resources in both states.
POLLS HAVE BEEN SUSPECT SINCE 2016, so we rely on the aggregate of all polls that is published on the excellent web site, RealClearPolitics.com. As of this morning, the RCP average has Biden ahead nationwide by 7.8 points, with him leading narrowly in Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (a separate poll in the latter state yesterday shows Trump narrowly ahead).
WE HAD THOUGHT THAT TRUMP could gain some ground this week as a “law and order” candidate, but the looting has subsided — and it’s possible that his tough talk about sending troops to states has backfired.
THAT’S BECAUSE HE CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE any more key constituencies, and the reaction to his photo op at a church on Monday night alienated religious leaders — and especially the military. Trump is intensely disliked at the Pentagon, and now Defense Secretary Mark Esper is on thin ice. Highly respected Gen. James Mattis, the former Defense Secretary, issued a scathing denunciation of Trump yesterday.
TRUMP ALREADY HAS ALIENATED people of color, college educated women, young people, suburbanites, and environmentalists. Yes, his base is rock-solid, but it’s far from a majority of voters. And new polls show Trump slipping badly among independent voters.
TRUMP AIDES ARE POINTING TO THE SURGING STOCK MARKET — and rising bond yields — as signals that the economy is recovering quickly. And Trump will insist on more stimulus this summer, which could help his prospects. The markets are so euphoric that — to our astonishment — there’s little sentiment that Biden could win the presidency.
IF TEXAS AND OHIO ARE REALLY COMPETITIVE, Biden most assuredly could win the presidency (despite his flaws, which Trump will exploit). What the markets have to appreciate is that this race isn’t about Biden, who’s merely adequate; it’s about Trump, whose temperament repeatedly raises concerns — even at the Pentagon.
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