Election 2020

Poll: Despite Democrats' Show Trial, 2020 General Election Still Wide Open

Donald Trump speaks during a South Carolina Republican primary night event on Feb. 20, 2016, in Spartanburg, S.C. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Although Democrats are doing everything in their power to undermine President Donald Trump, a new poll concludes that voters remain as split as ever on the question of whom they plan to vote for in November 2020. Forty-two percent of respondents said they plan to vote for the Democratic nominee, while 39 percent say they will vote for President Trump. With ten percent undecided, this race could be won by either side.

According to the poll conducted by Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, 42 percent of those asked say they will either definitely or probably vote for whomever Democrats nominate. On the other hand, 39 percent say they will either definitely or probably vote for Trump. Eight percent, meanwhile, told pollsters that they plan to vote for a third-party candidate. Lastly, 10 percent say they are undecided.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still perceived as the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump. Twenty-six percent said he has the best chance of beating Trump if they go head to head. He’s followed by Bernie Sanders with 11 percent. None of the other candidates reaches double digits. Elizabeth Warren is in third place with a mere seven percent saying they believe she is best able to bring down the sitting president.

Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, tells The Hill that the poll shows “Trump has an uphill battle to get reelected. Of course both Bush and Obama seemed weak going into reelection campaign as well.” He adds, “And they were able to pull it out. So with a year to go, I’d call it a competitive race.”

An important point to be made is that the poll was taken “among a representative sample of 1,859 registered voters.” In November another pollster, Rasmussen, explained that it’s far more reliable to focus on likely voters. “All American Adults don’t vote,” Rasmussen Reports wrote on Twitter on November 23rd. “A portion of Registered Voters also don’t frequent national elections. That’s why we invest the extra $$ to ask political questions to only Likely Voters. And we do this using techniques to assure privacy — just like in the voting booth.”

This is important to keep in mind because Rasmussen performed much better than the majority of its competitors in 2016 with regard to the Electoral College results. Rasmussen Reports was not surprised by the eventual results.

In other words, if we look back at 2016, it’s quite likely that Harvard CAPS/Harriss Poll underestimate the Trump vote. Perhaps not by much… but as we saw in 2016, very little is needed in order for Trump to win. Last time, the difference was made by 107,000 voters living in three different states.

So, when a pollster asking “registered voters” about their preference concludes that it’s a “competitive race,” it’s actually a very good, positive sign for President Trump.