‘Progressive’ Poll: Biden Lead over Trump in Florida Barely Beyond Margin of Error

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump is barely beyond the margin of error, according to a poll released on Tuesday by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling. Biden has the support of 48 percent of voters compared to Trump’s 44 percent support, a four point margin that is only 0.2 percent outside of the survey’s 3.8 percent margin of error.

Key findings of the PPP poll include:

  • Women support Biden over Trump by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin, while men support Trump and Biden equally, both receiving 47 percent support.
  • Trump leads among white voters 59 percent to 39 percent, while Biden leads among Hispanic voters 41 percent to 25 percent and also among black voters, 87 percent to 6 percent.
  • Biden leads Trump among all age groups: 47 percent to 42 percent among those age 18 to 45, 47 percent to 45 percent among those age 46 to 65, and 52 percent to 47 percent among those over the age of 65.

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Florida by just 1.3 points, 49.1 percent to 47.8 percent.

The Sunshine State’s 29 electoral college votes were an important building block in Trump’s 306 to 232 election day electoral college win over Clinton. (Note: Due to seven faithless electors, the final tally when the electoral college votes were counted in a joint session of Congress in January 2017 were 304 electoral college votes for Trump and 227 votes for Clinton).

Had the president lost Florida, has electoral college margin over Clinton on election day in 2016 would have dropped to 277 to 261, just seven more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency with a majority of the 538 electoral college votes cast.

Notable in the results of the PPP poll released Tuesday is the finding that only six percent of black voters in Florida say they intend to vote for President Trump, which is lower than the eight percent of black voters who supported him in the 2016 presidential election. Several other recent polls suggest that support for President Trump in among black voters may be higher in 2020 than in 2016.

According to its website, PPP is unabashedly progressive:

As a progressive firm, we understand and support our clients’ goals, so when you hire PPP, you know you have a partner that is fully invested in your organization. Our team will work with you every step of the way to help you confidently leverage public opinion for your cause. (emphasis added)

Fivethirtyeight.com, which tracks the results of polling firms over time, gives PPP a grade of B.

The PPP poll of Florida presidential voter preferences released on Tuesday asked five questions about voter attitudes, one question about past voting behavior, five questions about demographics, and one question about mode of response.

Three of the five questions on voter attitude were related to the Trump-Biden matchup.

Curiously, the other two questions were not about the two key substantive national issues on which most other recent polls have focused–race relations in the era of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd riots, and government responses to the coronavirus–but instead on attitudes towards President Trump’s change of residence from New York to Florida

Those questions were framed in a leading way.

To the question: Would you say you are more proud or ashamed that Donald Trump lives in Florida?

  • 42 percent responded “Proud”
  • 47 percent responded “Ashamed”
  • 11 percent responded “Not sure”

To the question: Would you rather that Donald Trump claimed New York as his home or claimed Florida as his home?

  • 47 percent responded “New York”
  • 37 percent responded “Florida”
  • 16 percent responded “Not sure”

Thirty-nine percent of poll respondents self-identified as Democrats, while 37 percent identified as Republicans and 24 percent self-identified as Independents.

Sixty-eight percent of poll respondents self-identified as White, while 14 percent self-identified as Hispanic or Latino, and 14 percent self-identified as African-American.

Fifty-three percent of respondents were women, while 47 percent were men.

Fifty-two percent of respondents were contacted by text, while 48 percent were contacted by landline.

According to the PPP survey results released on Tuesday, the “survey of 671 Florida voters” was conducted between August 21 and August 22 and has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

The Real Clear Politics Average of Polls listing for the PPP poll of Florida describes the sample survey as “671 RV,” or registered voters.

It is unclear if the database used by PPP to secure responses consisted of actual registered voters in Florida or was simply a list of residents of the state. That distinction matters a great deal, because actual voting behavior in elections is a function of registered voters who are motivated enough to cast ballots.

Most polling firms distinguish between likely voters, who are both registered to vote and are likely to vote, and registered voters, who may or may not be likely to vote. Some firms poll only residents, who may or may not be registered to vote.

Breitbart News contacted PPP for comment on this question of poll methodology as it relates to the survey sample, asking if the 671 Florida voters were registered voters or residents of Florida who self-identified as voters, but has not yet received a response.

According to the most current Real Clear Politics Average of Polls, Biden leads Trump in Florida by 4.8 points, 49.8 percent to 45 percent.

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