Yes, the Polls Are Shifting

President Trump’s political obituaries count more reincarnations than a Hindu lifetime. Perhaps, a slate of polls this week show yet another rebirth. 

The president is surging in key battleground states, and at the national level, with 2016’s most accurate pollsters showing Trump en route to battleground victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, and Arizona. 

At the national level, the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD)/ TechnoMetrica Institute of Politics and Policy (TIPP) presidential election tracking poll has just four points between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, that gap flirting with just two points last week. That poll finds the president surpassing, at 46.3 percent, his 2016 number. 

Crucially, IBD says Trump has his largest lead yet among seniors, and his smallest deficit among women, while Biden’s lead with independents matches its previous low of just two points. 

Despite Biden’s lead, IBD finds 50 percent think their neighbors will vote Trump, while 35 percent say that of Biden. Historically, voter expectation is more accurate than voter intention, and an indicator of shy voters. 

Over at Rasmussen, the president’s approval rating hit 51 percent from Monday’s 52 percent high. Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll also finds the race at just two points and within the margin of error. 

Rasmussen on Monday had Trump leading Biden by 48 percent to 47 percent. Today, Biden is at 49 percent to Trump’s 47 percent—a statistical dead-heat. Biden was 12 points ahead according to that same metric four weeks ago. 

Trump’s 51 percent approval rating is four points higher than President Obama’s 47 percent approval on the same day in 2012, during Obama’s successful reelection bid. 

Of course, the state level is where it really matters. 

As a new Center for American Greatness/Insider Advantage poll of likely voters shows, Pennsylvania voters are shifting toward the president as the presidential election campaign enters its final days. President Trump now leads with 48 percent to Joe Biden’s 46 percent in a state crucial to both nominees’ chances of capturing the presidency. 

The same poll just two weeks ago showed Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by three points. 

Back then, that poll also found the Trump campaign struggling with voters over 65, a worrying sign given those voters form the backbone of Republican support. 

Yet, since the last presidential debate, the InsiderAdvantage poll shows Trump gaining with older voters and picking up support from younger voters heavily opposed to future COVID-19 lockdowns proposed by Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

Strikingly, Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage found Trump pulling 14 percent of the African American vote in Pennsylvania—near double his 8 percent national take in 2016—a notion, he said, completely alien to his 20 years in polling. 

Pennsylvania is proving problematic for the Democrats. According to the New York Times, Biden is struggling in Philadelphia, running 10 points behind Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin. President Trump is currently nine points ahead of where he was in 2016 when he won that state. 

The Trafalgar Group, widely recognized as the most accurate state pollster in 2016, today says the president has taken the lead in Pennsylvania with 48.4 percent to Biden’s 47.6 percent of the vote. 

Earlier this month, Trafalgar showed President Trump edging Joe Biden in the crucial states of Michigan, Florida, and Arizona, and the political winds swelling behind President Trump. 

In Michigan, Trump leads by 47 percent to Biden’s 45 percent. In Florida, Trump leads 48 percent to 46 percent. In Arizona, the president is four points clear of Biden with 48 percent of the vote. 

Trafalgar also finds President Trump leading Joe Biden in North Carolina with 49 percent to the Democratic nominee’s 46 percent. 

These states are key to the president’s reelection strategy. Winning the “Core Three” of Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona would leave the Trump campaign needing just one pick-up from the Rust Belt states to put him over 270 electoral college votes. 

The Trafalgar Group is routinely derided by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. Yet, Trafalgar earned the title of 2016’s most accurate pollster in a year which Nate Silver gave Hillary Clinton a 71 percent chance of victory. Silver this week gave Trump a 12 percent chance of victory. 

Trafalgar was the only pollster to predict Trump’s 2016 wins in Pennsylvania and Michigan. And more recently, Trafalgar was the only pollster to predict the Florida gubernatorial race for Ron DeSantis. The RCP average had Democrat Andrew Gillum some four points ahead going into Election Day. 

What does Trafalgar’s chief pollster Robert Cahaly do differently? He accounts for a “hidden Trump vote,” which he says is even greater now than it was four years ago. 

Last week, he told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity he expected a Trump win

“I see the president winning with a minimum high 270s and possibly going up significantly higher based on just how big this undercurrent is,” Cahaly said. “What we’ve noticed is that these polls are predominantly missing the hidden Trump vote. There is a clear feeling among conservatives and people that are for the president that they’re not interested in sharing their opinions readily,” he added. “These people are more hesitant to participate in polls. So, if you’re not compensating for this, you’re not going to get honest answers.”

Some observers reject the shy voter theory despite strong evidence to the contrary. The Democracy Institute, whose monthly polls have shown since June the president either winning or levelling the popular vote, find over 70 percent of Trump voters are reluctant to divulge their choice. 

The Institute’s latest work finds President Trump leading Joe Biden by 46 percent to 45 percent. Trump’s lead in key swing states including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin sits at four percent from 47 percent to Biden’s 43 percent.

This gives a projected Electoral College split of 320 to Trump and 218 to Biden.

Like Trafalgar, Democracy Institute director Patrick Basham said the hidden Trump vote has swelled since 2016, heightening since a summer of riots and protests following the death of George Floyd. 

Indeed, a recent study found nearly two-thirds of Americans were reticent to express their political beliefs for fear of social reprisals. 

About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: Getty Images

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8 responses to “Yes, the Polls Are Shifting”

  1. The President can’t win if we don’t show up. This, like all others, is a turnout election. No time to go wobbly. And even if you like your local Rep or Senator, voting D is a vote to pack the court, deny Trump judges (and lets be clear, Trump is no idealogue, he is placing ORIGINALIST judges who follow the law), and impeach the President in the next congress. Ending fossil fuels is preposterous, but as Obama-Biden proved, they are willing to hamper the economy to make woke points (which resulted in the pent up Trump boom).

  2. These polls are irrelevant when half the electorate already voted

    • Not half.

      And those early returns look nothing like what Democrats hope.

  3. Trump wins in an electoral college landslide and actually will take the popular vote – winning by a margin large enough to overcome Democrat ballot fraud. I was right in 2016 and will be right in 2020.

  4. PRESIDENT TRUMP will win in a LANDSLIDE victory, secure more seats in the Senate, and has a good chance to regain the House. He is the first POTUS since Reagan to work for EVERY and ALL American citizens. He has given us better employment for ALL citizens and greater security as a nation.

    KAG!! PRESIDENT TRUMP – 2020 & Beyond!!

  5. The President is surging. People are seeing the Democrats and the media for who they truly are. Voting for Trump is voting for America.

  6. I think there is no doubt President Trump will in fact win in a land slide, no, scratch that, a tsunami.
    Keeping POLL numbers so close together whether winning or losing isn’t very realistic this time around. Every poll anyone comes up with tries to be lenient and keeps the numbers so close together so they don’t look bad when the final result comes in. When you compare crowd size from Trump to Biden from Pence to Obama and from Harris to about anyone you can think of, the C L E A R winner is Trump/Pence. They need to quit trying to skew the evidence.
    You can’t hide in the basement forever then magically appear the winner. It just does not work that way.
    MAGA A / KAG 2020

  7. You are correct in citing the success of Trafalgar in 2016 and the credibility of it’s polling methodology,
    but you failed to cite the equal 2016 success of Richard Baris’s People’s Pundit Daily polling which had Trump winning Pennsylvania and Michigan.
    Trafalgar called Michigan and Pennsylvania, when no one else but Baris could, because it used polling technique allowing it to find the Trump “shy voter.” Baris achieved the same end but through much more in-depth “likely voter” analysis.
    This campaign, Baris is conducting a series of crowd funded Polls of the Battleground States for the Election 2020 Public Polling Project”(, which he brilliantly and engagingly discusses online(YouTube, etc.) at “Inside the Numbers.”