Trump 2020 polls: White-collar revolt against the President is peaking
Compared to other Republicans, Trump has underperformed with these voters since he started his first presidential campaign in 2015. And by flouting science and openly igniting racial tensions, he now directly centers the campaign debate on two of the main dynamics that alienated these voters from him. This shows signs of accelerating the displacement of these voters – who had never supported a Democratic presidential candidate in polls before 2016 – away from the GOP to an unprecedented new level.
In contrast, although widespread concern in Black and Hispanic communities for both the death of George Floyd and the disproportionate burden they faced as a result of the coronavirus epidemic could increase their participation compared to the lukewarm level of 2016, so far most 2020 polls have not shown that Biden is improving on Hillary Clinton. margin among them. Trump, meanwhile, maintains a steady lead among white voters without a university degree, although almost all surveys show that his margins with women in this group have narrowed considerably since 2016.
Return to 2016 themes
Trump has always tried to convince his predominantly non-university, non-urban white base that he can “alone” protect them from the twin forces he describes as threatening their interests: contemptuous elites who despise their values, and dangerous minorities and immigrants. who allegedly threaten their jobs and physical security.
Under enormous pressure from the coronavirus epidemic and massive nationwide protests against racial inequality, Trump returned to these main themes.
Observers on both sides believe Trump sees his disregard for local officials and medical experts at rallies as a way to strengthen his identity as a foreigner who breaks the rules to defend the interests of his constituents. But on both sides, many believe that this approach carries enormous risks, particularly with older voters who have a college education, both of whom have expressed high levels of concern about the pandemic.
For Trump, hosting an event that didn’t require masks “is a bit deaf in this part of the state,” Charles Coughlin, a veteran Republican consultant based in Phoenix, told me. “This is part of [his] anti-establishment shtick, who seems to wear very thin in a crisis. “
In Navigator surveys, about two-thirds of whites with at least four years of degrees have always expressed concern that Trump ignores the opinions of experts, with more than half saying they are very concerned about this scheme, a- he declared.
Trump organizing the rallies despite advice from public health officials is “just fodder for ignoring expert advice, which has always been a deep concern for voters,” said Gourevitch. “They also play in the aspect of self-absorption that he needs these rallies for himself and his own re-election rather than for the good of the people.”
Republican counselor Alex Conant, director of communications for Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign, said such figures among well-educated voters (as well as comparable weakness among seniors) show the price of understating the crisis by Trump and his open challenge to public health. officials.
“I think that’s why he loses in all of these swing states,” said Conant. “I think there is a slice of his base that likes it and that supports him a lot by being cautious about the wind and hitting the campaign track. And that is part of his base with which he is very But then if you’re an independent voter or a more traditional conservative … it’s a constant reminder of everything you don’t like about being president. We are far from talking about taxes and judges. “
Similar concerns about race relations
All indications are that Trump’s response to Floyd’s death and the protests it sparked is dividing the electorate in the same vein. After initially expressing concern about Floyd’s death, Trump returned to more familiar ground by urging greater force against the violent protesters (and applying him before he marched to the Church of St. John’s), highlighting these racist videos and repeatedly denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement.
In all of these gestures, Trump echoed the arguments of Richard Nixon, who won the presidency in 1968 in part by promising to restore “public order.” But in the process, Trump can only demonstrate how much the country has changed since the days of Nixon. Above all, polls this spring regularly show that Trump’s belligerent message about race alienates not only the growing number of voters of color, but also the same white, university-educated voters already worried about his handling of the coronavirus.
As Matt McDermott, a Democratic pollster, argued, these results point to a critical change from 1968: while most white suburbs believed that Nixon could alleviate the unrest, many equivalent voters today believe that Trump’s confrontational and confrontational language about race increases the risk. violence in their communities.
Navigator polls have also found that two-thirds of college whites have expressed concern that in times of crisis, Trump makes matters worse “with … inflammatory words and actions.”
In 2016, exit surveys by Edison Research for media organizations that included CNN showed that Trump had a narrow 3-point victory among white people in school, while the U.S. National Election Studies survey gave Clinton an advantage of 10 points – the first time this survey had ever shown that the Democrats won in this group.
Despite the differences in overall margins, these analyzes converged around a key point: all of them showed that Clinton won among white women with college education. Trump, in turn, led among white men with a university degree in all but Pew, and even this study gave Clinton only a very small lead.
But compared to one of these 2016 results, almost all of the latest national polls show that Trump is slipping more on both fronts.
Among white men in school, Trump was 8 points behind in the CNN survey and 12 points behind in the NPR / Marist survey; Quinnipiac’s average showed Biden a 4-point advantage among them, at least closer to Pew’s 2016 result.
All of this indicates that November could produce perhaps the biggest gap between whites with and without a university degree. In most national and national polls, Trump consistently retains a huge advantage of at least 2 to 1 among white men in blue collars, his best group in 2016.
And while polls consistently show that Trump’s margin among white-collar blue-collar women has been shrinking since 2016, in most polls, he maintains at least some lead with them.
Now, with Trump’s messages and performances on the virus and race further frustrating these voters, the GOP is facing elections that could consolidate and even extend the Democratic advance in these well-educated suburbs.
Republicans could lose other seats in the House in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Tampa, Florida, among others; resistance in major metropolitan centers is the main threat to GOP senators in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and possibly Iowa and Georgia; and Trump is faced with the prospect of an even deeper decline in the largest metropolitan centers, not only of traditionally blue states, but also of emerging battlefields of the sunbelt, including Arizona, Georgia and the Texas.
Trump has guided his responses to the two major crises of 2020 almost entirely to his base of non-university, non-urban voters, while alleviating the concerns that well-educated metropolitan voters have consistently voiced in polls. This reflects the belief of many Republicans that his most likely path to victory is to reveal even more voters to his base than in 2016, particularly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three states of Rust Belt who launched his election.
GOP pollster Whit Ayres and other Republicans also said Trump could recover at least some ground among well-educated white voters by describing Biden as a threat to raise taxes and hurt the economy and their lives. equity portfolios.
But Conant, the GOP consultant, says that Trump has dug a big hole in the white-collar suburbs by reacting so cavalierly to the two national earthquakes that caught their eye.
“He really doesn’t want to talk about the pandemic, which everyone in America is thinking about,” said Conant. “It’s the same with the Black Lives Matter protests as well. He really didn’t want to talk about George Floyd, which everyone in America has been talking about for a month. When you have this kind of disconnect between the leader and the voters you see in the potential [electoral] wave which is now more likely than not. “