Election 2020

As COVID Fears Wane President Trump's Approval Rises in Swing States

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

COVID-19 panic porn peddled by the mainstream media seems to be having less effect on voters. In the last two weeks, voters who say they have “very serious” concerns about the virus has fallen from 49% to 45% in six key swing states. This drop could be attributed to the fact that positive tests are declining along with hospitalizations.

According to Worldometer, it is clear we are also getting better at managing and treating the illness. Despite higher case numbers later in the summer, there have been lower death rates than earlier in the pandemic. Perhaps this is because terrible governors, like New York’s Andrew Cuomo, have stopped shoving patients into nursing homes, in combination with better treatment options.

COVID New Cases
Worldometer screenshot.
COVID daily deaths
Worldometer screenshot.

Even NPR had to note that among nations with more than 50,000 cases, the United States has one of the lowest case fatality rates. This ranking indicates we are generally effective in protecting the vulnerable and treating patients who become ill.

Where’s the Spike in COVID-19 Deaths?
COVID nations rating
NPR screenshot.

With this decreasing panic, President Trump’s favorability in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is rising. According to a CNBC/Change Research poll of 4,904 people, President Trump’s approval rating has increased from 46% to 48%. Voters also increased their approval of his handling of the pandemic from 44% to 47%.

In the poll detail, it appears unaffiliated voters may have been under-sampled. Democrats made up 38% percent of respondents, and Republicans made up 35%. Given that 34% of voters in 2016 exit polls identified as independents according to Pew, it would seem affiliates of both parties are oversampled. This mostly applies to Democrats who did not go to the polls in greater numbers than Republicans in the last election.

Despite the sampling, President Trump’s numbers are rising. And he is within striking distance in most swing states. The Michigan numbers seem off based on other polling I have seen, and given the sampling imbalance, this could be a factor:

  • Arizona: Biden 49%, Trump 47%
  • Florida: Biden 49%, Trump 46%
  • Michigan: Biden 50%, Trump 44%
  • North Carolina: Biden 48%, Trump 47%
  • Pennsylvania: Biden 49%, Trump 46%
  • Wisconsin: Biden 49%, Trump 44%

There are a few more notable results. The top-line national result in a recent CBS/YouGov poll makes no sense given the poll detail. With only 3% of voters claiming they are undecided, the national results have Biden at 52% and Trump at 42%.

However, President Trump has a ten-point lead over Joe Biden with independent voters. There is simply no world in which he trails Biden by ten points overall unless your sample is 42% Democrat, 30% Republican, and 27% independent. This lopsided sample would generally be referred to as a suppression poll, but it does have other good news for President Trump.

CNN Poll Shows Trump Closing the Gap With Biden and Has More Enthusiasm from Supporters

President Trump has a six-point advantage in enthusiasm for voting this year when expressed by political parties. Voters over 45, more likely to vote for Republicans generally, have a 13-point enthusiasm lead over younger voters. Whites without a college degree and men, other groups where the president has an advantage, each has a four-point lead in enthusiasm over those with degrees and women.

And once again, it could not be any clearer that Trump’s voters are voting for him. Only 38% of Joe Biden’s voters are casting a vote because they like him. The remainder will vote for him because he is a Democrat or because he is not Donald Trump. By contrast, 71% of the president’s voters are voting for him because they like him.

This result matches other polls and is also a losing trend historically if you look at polling for John Kerry, Walter Mondale, or Mitt Romney. Add this to the lack of a post-convention bump for Biden, and historical trends are not on his side, no matter how much oversampling pollsters do.

Rasmussen’s daily presidential poll today has Trump (45%) and Biden (46%) in a dead heat nationally. The president has gained 3% since last week. Rasmussen tends to sample consistently and always uses likely voters. Zogby also published approval numbers today that show President Trump with 52% approval overall. This result includes 36% approval among black Americans, 37% among Hispanic Americans, and 35% among Asian Americans. They also use the likely voter standard.

The Democrats are running on COVID. They criticize the administration’s response and insist they can do better. If Americans continue to be less concerned about COVID as the pandemic wanes, they are going to be looking for other reasons to vote for them. Democrats are just praying voters don’t look at Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two more months of good job numbers, superior enthusiasm, and a post-convention bump, and the president may just have this locked up.

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