Poll internals reveal a bitter truth: We live in two distinct Americas

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A new CNN poll that has President Trump only four points back of Democratic nominee Joe Biden is probably an outlier, for now, but even so, it’s worth a look.

The Real Clear Politics National Average is still Biden +7.7 points, with the margin ranging from the Biden +4 in the most recent polls from CNN and The Hill, to four (ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/YouGov, Monmouth, NPR/PBS/Marist) giving the former vice president low double-digit leads.

So, OK, there’s where we are. Also keeping in mind that the RCP National Average had Hillary Clinton at +6.5 on Trump on Aug. 17, 2016.

Sorry to be that guy, but yes, there is precedent here.

And when you look inside the CNN poll, you can get a sense of how this particular election cycle is playing out closer than you’re expecting it.

It’s actually simple: Biden voters and Trump voters literally live in two different Americas.

Most obvious case in point: only 2 percent of Biden voters trust Trump to handle COVID-19; only 4 percent of Trump voters trust Biden on COVID-19.

This could be the result of COVID-19 having different impacts in different areas: generally speaking, more cases, and more deaths, in urban areas, and states in the Northeast and the Left Coast, which trend Democrat, and less impact in exurbs, rural areas and in general the flyover states, the South, Southwest and Midwest.

The South and Southwest tend to trend Republican, and as we remember from 2016, that election came down to the Midwest, which had been viewed as a Democrat firewall, then went red for Trump, allowing him to win the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by three points.

What the CNN poll defined as its battleground states – a slate of 15, 10 of which went for Trump in 2016 – is for now trending toss-up again, with Biden enjoying a narrow one-point lead, 49 percent to 48 percent.

Independents are also for now splitting in a way too close for comfort for Dems: with Biden enjoying a 46 percent-to-45 percent lead among those who don’t identify with either party, down from an 11-point lead for Biden among independents in June.

The top-line number gets your attention. It’s the internals that should have you worried.

Story by Chris Graham

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