Nolte: In 2016, Hillary Was Polling Better than Biden in Battleground States

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden speak at the end of the Vital Voices Global Awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington on April 2, 2013.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Another sign President Trump might be crawling out of his polling hole is that he is currently polling better against Joe Biden in a handful of vital battleground states than he was against Hillary Clinton at this same time.

Trump is still behind Biden, but he’s not as far behind as he was two weeks ago, and he’s not as far behind as he was against Hillary.

According to RealClearPolitics, on August 13, 2016, Trump was losing to Hillary by 4.7 points in polls taken of six crucial battleground states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona.

Today, Trump is losing to Biden by only 4.4 points.

That might be cold comfort to Trump supporters, but it is more proof that after a disastrous summer, Trump’s numbers are improving.

For the last two months, Trump was polling worse in these states, and in some cases, much worse (four points worse) than he did against Hillary.

What’s more, Trump’s position has improved against Biden by almost two full points. Two months ago, Biden was up by 6.3 points. Now, it’s just 4.4. Keep in mind this is an average of polls, so there’s no question things are moving in the right direction. Additionally, we are seeing this movement elsewhere…

Seven weeks ago, Trump was losing to Biden nationally by more than ten points. That is now down to 7.5, with a few reliable polls showing it much closer.

Recent polling out of individual battleground states also shows some tightening. Trump is still losing in Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Minnesota, but states that were once slipping away are now within reach.

North Carolina, a bellwether, has returned to the fold.

The bad news is that, at least according to the polls, if the election were held today, Trump would probably lose and by a fairly wide margin. Also, Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton. People like Biden a whole lot more than they do Hillary. Finally, Trump is not the same guy he was in 2016. He’s been president for four years, there’s a record for him to run on.

On the plus side, though, the polls are reacting–in some cases dramatically, to a new and improved President Trump. Over the past few weeks, he’s been much more disciplined, much less self-involved, and now looks like a president who’s back in control of things, who is looking out for us, and who is taking the necessary actions when Democrats in Congress refuse. Trump’s executive action on the coronavirus relief in the form of continued unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut was a masterstroke.

It’s also my belief, just instinct–there’s no polling to back me up–that Joe Biden hiding out in his basement as legitimate questions swirl around his increasingly frail mind is starting to backfire. What had been savvy, at least when Trump was beating himself, now looks weak, like he really is hiding.

Voters like their presidents to earn their vote, to go out and ask for it. Alpha Males win elections, and Biden is quickly losing that status as he hides out while Trump shows some presidential discipline, gets things done, effectively manages the latest coronavirus flare-ups, and oversees what has so far been a solid economic recovery.

Longtime political and poll guru Michael Barone has looked at the tightening of the polls and believes Trump beating Biden is “looking more likely than it was a couple of weeks ago.” 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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