The polling danger for Trump: Erosion among independents and those with college degrees

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Biden leads by 10 points, 53 percent to 43 percent.

The 2020 race has been unusually stable, with Biden holding a healthy polling lead for months. Nothing seems to have shaken the race’s fundamental stability. Various new revelations, the conventions, the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic: None has reshaped the contest to any noticeable degree since Biden became the Democratic nominee.

In the 2016 presidential race, Post-ABC polling was more variable. From June to October, there was a 9-point spread in the margin between Trump and Hillary Clinton in our polls, from a six-point to a 15-point Clinton lead. This year, the spread has been five points, from a 10-point to a 15-point Biden lead.

That persistent lead is a function of a number of important shifts in support since 2016. We took demographic data from each poll and averaged the margins among each group for the periods after the party nominees were set. Here’s how Trump’s position has changed with each.

You’ll notice first that the average of the overall margins is similar. Clinton led by 11 points on average, compared with Biden’s 12 points. One key difference: By September, her lead was only 7 points. In the final weeks of the campaign, our tracking polls had that margin narrowing further.

When looking at party, we see that both Republicans and Democrats are more supportive of their party’s candidates than in 2016. But there’s a significant difference among independents, who prefer Biden by 18 points in polls this year compared with five points four years ago.

Support by age shows another important shift. Younger voters are more heavily supportive of Biden than they were of Clinton, but voters younger than 45 made up 38 percent of the vote in 2016. Those ages 60 and older made up 34 percent