I got 2016 wrong. It was humbling and obviously forced me to rethink a lot. This year, instead of just diving in deep, I spend way more time talking to people all over who are actively involved in races. It is muddier, but there are some common themes that help form pictures.
For example, the President has much stronger enthusiasm than Biden on the ground and the President’s team is doing way more door to door, which actually matters.
At the same time, women, including registered Republican women, have turned more antagonistic to the GOP as a whole and not just Trump. This is pretty consistent in suburbs from Georgia to Pennsylvania.
At the same time, the President’s message is resonating with a segment of the Hispanic community that the GOP has otherwise barely been able to penetrate.
And while all of this is happening, senior citizens seem cooler to the President now than in 2016
So the questions are do the gains from some groups offset the further drift of women and the drift of seniors?
There are no major third party candidates and independents like Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullin. Where do their voters go? Probably not to Trump. But would they go to Biden?
Trump won with 70,000 votes in PA, WI, and MI, all three of which drifted decisively left in 2018 with near presidential level turnout. Does he offset, gain, or lose those votes without 3rd parties, senior drift, etc.?
All that is to say I get why Trump voters have a hard time seeing he could lose given 2016 and how strong his support is.
But I also think given just how enthusiastic his support is, there is perhaps less of a shy Trump voter phenomenon now and the Biden gap in polling, even if narrowed by shy voters, might not narrow enough.
Of course, the polling could be completely wrong. So I won’t say the President is losing or winning, but I certainly do think it is most likely Biden’s race right now, just not a sure thing.
Lastly, anecdote is not data. But enough anecdotes over time do shape the data.
You can follow @EWErickson.
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