Election 2020

Likely Voters Believe the Country Will Be More Divided if President Trump Loses

Screenshot via C-SPAN

According to a new Rasmussen poll, likely voters see a more divided America after four years of the Trump presidency but think the country is less divided than it was when Barack Obama left office. This finding is consistent with polling by Gallup in January of 2020. At that point, Americans were feeling significantly better about race relations and several other big-ticket issues:

Trump
Screenshot from Rasmussen poll.

American satisfaction with race relations increased 14 points between Barack Obama leaving office and President Trump’s re-election year. It was the fourth in the list of most improved metrics, behind the economy, national security, and military preparedness, which were arguably the president’s most significant accomplishments in his first term until COVID-19 hit. Despite the economic turmoil, he is still trusted more on the economy that Joe Biden in the majority of polls.

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The percent of Americans who see the country as more divided is nine points lower than it was as the Obama presidency came to a close. This decrease is despite the significant unrest and violence we have seen this summer. That is quite an accomplishment. It is also reflected in a shift in who likely voters blame for the division:

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters say Trump is more to blame for the division in America, while 45% blame his political opponents more. This compares to 52% and 38% respectively last October.

There has also been a significant increase in the plurality of voters who believe the country will be more divided if President Trump loses in November. It has gone from 38% in October to 46% in the poll released today. This plurality includes 65% of Republicans and 39% of unaffiliated voters. The poll was conducted from August 26-27 during the final two days of the Republican National Convention, which may have had an impact.

Democrats are most likely to see the nation as more divided, with 73% agreeing. A majority of Republicans (55%) agree with the statement and unaffiliated voters sit at 60%. It is easy to imagine, given the view expressed in January, how much lower these percentages would be in the absence of the current riots. President Trump needs to continue the messaging centered on how all Americans, regardless of race, class, or gender, were benefiting in the first three years of his presidency.

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Joe Biden has lost ground in Rasmussen’s Weekly White House Watch since the end of the Democratic National Convention. With a margin of error of =/- 2, it looks like anybody’s race at this point. Biden had 46% support, and President Trump had 45%. Democrats’ internal polling must be similar because Biden is leaving his basement and denouncing the violence after three months of silence about it.

He emerged today to speak in Western Pennsylvania. He chose this location despite pressure to visit Kenosha, Wisc., following the recent riots, destruction, and violence. Avoiding Kenosha seems like a sign of weakness, especially since Trump intends to visit the ravaged suburb tomorrow. The speech did not go well for Biden. When discussing the pandemic, he lost his place several times, and struggled to make any sense.

The pivot Democrats and the media have taken since Friday could give a person whiplash. After months of gaslighting and denying the violence we could all see with our own eyes, they began acknowledging it and giving tepid objections. Don Lemon let the cat out of the bag and recommended Biden make a statement about the violence because it was showing up in polls and focus groups—more proof the Democrats will say anything they need to in order to win.

Democrats may also be making a miscalculation with the heavy emphasis on the pandemic. Increasing information is emerging, which indicates the risk and impact of the virus is much lower than initially thought. Positive tests are also decreasing in much of the country, as well as overall. Over the next 60 days, Americans are likely to turn their attention to post-pandemic issues like the economy and jobs. Both issues are winners for Trump.

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