When Scott Rasmussen asked 1,200 registered voters: “Are you enthusiastic about your support for [Trump or Biden], or is he simply the lesser of two evils?” the results were remarkable. Seventy-six percent of them said they were enthusiastic about President Trump, compared to just 49 percent about former Vice President Joe Biden.
Even more remarkable is their response to the second half of that question: 41 percent think Biden is the lesser of two evils, while just 17 percent think that Trump is.
The takeaway? In that sample, Trump’s supporters are not only vastly more excited about their candidate than are Biden’s, but many of Biden’s supporters are only supporting him not because he is a better candidate but because he is the lesser of two evils!
Can Biden win if this sample is reflective of the body politic?
Another poll helps answer that question. On Tuesday, the latest CBS News poll of 2,071 likely (not necessarily registered) voters showed Biden’s support slipping by two percentage points compared to a month ago, and now leads the president by just four percentage points, 47 percent to 43 percent. It could be even tighter, as the margin of error in the CBS poll is 2.6 percent.
But, buried in that CBS poll conducted by YouGov are some other results that help answer that question. Eighty-one percent of those polled “are thinking about” the 2020 presidential race either “a lot” or “some” of the time. Ninety-three percent of them either “definitely” or “probably” will vote in that election.
So what are these likely voters thinking about? Seventy-two percent of them consider the health of the economy as a “major factor” in deciding whom to support in November. And how do they rate Biden in running the economy if he wins? Forty-six percent think he would do either a “somewhat bad” or “very bad” job.
On that basis alone, one would think Trump, assuming the economy continues its rebound from the shutdown, should win in a walk.
Unfortunately, President Trump is going to need all of the enthusiasm he can muster to win in November. According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden leads Trump in five of the six so-called battleground states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and North Carolina.
In Arizona, which Trump won by 3.6 percentage points, Biden leads by four points. In Florida, which Trump won by 1.2 percentage points, Biden leads by 3.5 points.
In Michigan, which Trump won by a scant 0.2 points, Biden leads by a healthy 5.5 points. In Pennsylvania, which Trump won by 0.7 points in 2016, Biden leads by 6.5 points. In Wisconsin, which Trump won by 0.8 points, Biden leads by 2.7 points.
In North Carolina, Trump won in 2016 by 3.7 points and presently leads Biden by just one point. And that advantage could disappear now that Trump has decided to move the location of the Republican Party’s national convention elsewhere.
At least two things need to happen for Trump to win. He must continue to galvanize his already enthusiastic supporters and get them to turn out in November. And the economy needs to rebound sharply. That way, Biden, already considered by many not as the leading candidate but as the best of a bad lot, won’t get the opportunity to mishandle the economy the way so many think he would if he were president.
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