WASHINGTON — President Trump is getting blown out by Joe Biden in the states that will decide the 2020 presidential election, according to a bevy of high-quality new polls that give the clearest picture yet of how dire things look for the president’s reelection prospects right now.
New polls from New York Times and Siena College found Trump losing six different states he won in 2016, trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by between six and 11 percentage points in those states.
In the three states Trump narrowly carried en route to his surprise 2016 win, Biden is beating him among registered voters by double-digit margins. Biden leads Trump by nine points (47% to 36%) in Michigan, eleven points (49% to 38%) in Wisconsin, and ten points (50% to 40%) in Pennsylvania. He’s also leading by 49%-40% in North Carolina, 48% to 41% in Arizona and 47% to 41% in Florida.
If Biden sweeps those states, he’d be at least 333 Electoral College votes, far more than the 270 needed to carry the White House and slightly more than President Obama managed in his 2012 reelection campaign.
And while the six states polled by the New York Times are the core of the 2020 battleground, if the election map doesn’t shift dramatically between now and November, Biden would have a real shot at winning a number of other states once thought to be firmly in Trump’s column.
The ongoing economic crisis and public health disaster caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as Trump’s polarizing response to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, have put him far behind Biden in places like Ohio, Iowa, and even Texas.
Biden held a 46%-45% lead in Ohio in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The last high-quality poll of Iowa, from the Des Moines Register, had Trump up by just 44%-43%. And recent polling in Georgia and Texas has found margin-of-error races in both states as well. Trump won Iowa and Ohio by wide margins in 2016. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia was Bill Clinton in 1992, and the last Democrat who won Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
If Biden somehow wins those states, an unlikely scenario but one in the realm of possibility, he’d be at 413 Electoral College votes, the largest margin since President George H.W. Bush thumped Michael Dukakis in 1988.
The NYT/Siena’s state polls reflect the same reality that their national survey released Wednesday showed: If the election were held today, Biden would crush Trump. That poll showed Biden with a 14-point national lead, and his average lead in recent national public polling just hit 10 points.
The NYT/Siena polls are high-quality, and considered more reliable than basically any other public pollster. And their state-level polling doesn’t look like an outlier compared to other recent high-quality polling, either — a poll released Wednesday from the respected Marquette University found Biden with a 49%-41% lead in Wisconsin.
Those numbers also match Republicans’ own internal polls — numbers that have had them panicking for weeks that they’re headed to a complete electoral wipeout that would likely hand Democrats Senate control, as well.
The new NYT/Siena numbers show Trump’s poor prospects are putting Senate Republicans in danger: Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) trails by 9 points and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is down by three in a race many think could be the tipping-point race for Democratic Senate control. In Michigan, one of only two targets for the GOP this election, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is up by ten.
A few caveats. First, these polls are all of registered voters, not likely voters — and Republicans tend to perform slightly better in likely voter polls.
Second, there are still four long months until the 2020 election. Biden’s current national polling lead over Trump roughly matches Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump in April 2016, and just a few weeks before the election she was still up by six points on average (things tightened fast and hard in the closing week of that race). Four months ago, Trump’s impeachment was just wrapping up, Bernie Sanders was still the Democratic front-runner and most Americans hadn’t started worrying in earnest about the coronavirus. A lot can happen in four months.
But the economic and health effects of the coronavirus appear to be growing worse: the unemployment rate remains high, and COVID-19 cases are spiking. Republicans say unless something dramatic changes on that front, they’re likely to be wiped out in the fall.
When VICE News asked one GOP strategist on Wednesday what needed to change for Republicans to avoid a electoral bloodbath in November, their answer was telling: “Go get a fucking vaccine.”
Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump in a photo dated Wednesday, June 24, 2020 and former vice president Joe Biden on June 2, 2020. (Photos: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images and Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)