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Trump Is Winning—But Don’t Believe the Polls


“From what I know, this is the first time a President has actually came to the hood,” a Bronx man, apparently in his late thirties or forties, said in an interview about Donald Trump’s Thursday rally in Crotona Park. “I know presidents has came to the Bronx before, but we’re talking ‘bout Woodlawn, Riverdale, he has came to Morrisania, south Bronx—the hood hood.”

And the hood hood seemed to come out for Trump. Reports on the size of the crowd vary widely—from five to eight to 10 to 20 thousand. Regardless of the true number, even a CNN reporter had to admit it was “certainly a bigger crowd than I think Democrats would like to see, particularly given this is one of the bluest counties in the entire country.” It’s not just a CNN reporter, either: Poll after poll suggests something strange is happening in the American electorate.

Which is not to say that a Bronx rally, or the often-teased Trump rally in Madison Square Garden, will actually bring states like New York into play come November. But in the places that matter, Trump’s lead in the polls have proven rather durable in the midst of four criminal prosecutions against the former president.

In the top seven battleground states, Trump’s lead is on average three points, according to RealClearPolitics, and has been around three points since the beginning of this year. In Arizona, Trump currently has a 4.1 point advantage in the polls. Not much has changed since January. The same can be said for North Carolina, where he has an average lead of just over 4.5 points in the polls.

In Georgia, the former president’s lead is about 4 points, which is slightly less than it was in January, but there is no clear trend that the current president is eating away at Trump’s deficit. That possibility has become increasingly unlikely now that the criminal case against Trump in Fulton County will have to wait until after the election thanks to improprieties of many sorts from District Attorney Fani Willis.

Trump’s margins in Wisconsin, after he took the polling lead there in February, also seem stable at around 1 point, plus or minus a half. It’s a good sign for the Trump team, but with margins like that, who knows what election day has in store.

In Nevada, meanwhile, Trump’s average lead in the polls since January widened, then shrunk, but has started to widen again. Real Clear Politics says Trump’s average lead is around 4.5 points in the polls. The same can be said for Michigan, where Trump’s lead is about a point.

Pennsylvania, unsurprisingly, remains the great unknown. Trump currently has about a two-point advantage over Biden, but there have been four lead changes thus far in 2024.

The recent New York Times Sienna poll, one of the polls incorporated into RealClearPolitics’ averages, had results that mostly mirrored the general trend in battleground states. Among registered voters, Trump is up in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. He’s behind by two in Wisconsin. Among likely voters, Trump is up in Wisconsin but down in Michigan.

But why start this column with a comment made by a Bronx man from the “hood”? Because, despite the consistency of these polls, the data underpinning these results suggest a tectonic shift in the American electorate and is of a piece with the sentiment on display in the south Bronx Thursday afternoon.

In the NYT/Sienna poll, for example, the underlying data that breaks down respondent’s based on age and race are downright mystifying. In a head to head matchup between Trump and Biden across the six battleground states polled, Trump leads by 3 points in the 18–29 age demographic, 8 points in the 30–44 demographic, and 14 points in the 45-64 demographic. But he’s losing by 3 among voters over 65 years old. This is almost the opposite of what happened in the 2020 election. Topline results by race aren’t surprising at first glance. Trump is up with whites, down heavily with blacks. With Hispanics, however, Trump is within spitting distance. And, with blacks, Trump is polling over twenty percent.

Poll after poll I’ve looked into this election cycle has found similar results. Trump is ahead, but because of a new coalition of voters that is younger and browner than anything America has seen in the Trump era, let alone this century. Which is why I still believe, despite this consistency, that all the polls are fake. Certainly, it’s Trump’s race to lose. But Trump, his campaign, and the GOP should campaign like the race will come down to a few thousand votes in a handful of states—because it probably will.

Continue Reading at The American Conservative.

The American Conservative

The American Conservative is a bimonthly print and daily digital magazine of measured, principled conservatism. We believe in ideas over ideology and principles over party.

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