Lv 6
Phil asked in Politics & GovernmentElections · 2 months ago

If polls are so sure Biden will win the upcoming election what will it take for him to lose to Trump?

6 Answers

  • 1 month ago


  • Tmess2
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    First, let's put to the side the misstatement that the polls in 2016 were sure that Clinton was going to win.  Polls are never sure of anything.  They are merely a piece of data with a margin for error and a confidence rate for that margin of error (typically a 95% confidence rate that the result will be within 3% of the margin of error).  Some commentators analyzing the polls reached the conclusion that Clinton was sure to win.  Others, who understood margin of errors and the typical error rate in polls put Clinton as a solid favorite but recognized that Trump had a chance if the "normal error" went entirely in his favor or undecideds broke in his favor (which they did).  There was one noticeable flaw in 2016 polls that pollsters noticed in the post-mortem -- education was a significant predictor in how people voted and most pollsters did not consider education in weighting poll responses.  (Weighting is how pollsters compensate for the potential that random sampling can result in an unrepresentative sample.)  That flaw led to some individual states being further off than the national polls leading to Trump winning some states that seemed further out of reach while losing some states that were originally thought to be close.

    Second, polls at this time aren't sure of anything.  They merely are a representation of where things stand today.  Based on where things stand today, Biden is in much better shape than Clinton was at her peak.  Most importantly, Clinton never approached 50% in national polls.  That meant that Trump could win by getting undecided votes or people who were leaning toward third-party candidates.  Biden on the other hand is near 50% nationally and in several swing states.  That means that Trump needs to convince voters who are currently leaning toward Biden to vote for him, a much harder task than he had in 2016.

    Having said that, current positions of voters are not necessarily set in stone, but you need for something to change.  The biggest potential change is Biden's vice-presidential pick.  If he were to pick the Democratic equivalent of Sarah Palin, that could shake the confidence that some Democratic voters have in his judgment.  Likewise, given their ages, either Trump or Biden could have a health issue develop. 

    Additionally, there is the national situation.   Right now things look very bad, the government's "efforts" to contain COVID-19 are uniformly considered a failure and the economic impact of COVID-19 have put the economy in a bad position.  If, somehow, things improved dramatically by November, Trump might get a big bounce out of the good news.

    Finally, there is Trump's favorite strategy of personally attacking his opponent. So far, Republicans have been doing their best to throw dirt at Biden, but nothing has stuck with swing voters.  (The base, of course, believes that Biden is the devil, but they were going to vote for Trump anyhow.)  There is always the chance that Trump has other dirt to throw at Biden that might stick with swing voters.  

  • 2 months ago

    There's also this now:

    "The professor famous for accurately predicting the winner of every presidential election since 1984 has issued his verdict for 2020: Joe Biden will defeat President Trump."

  • 2 months ago

    We will see how the debates turn out. 

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  • Jeff D
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    The polls were sure that Clinton would win the last election.  Perhaps they're not as accurate as you think.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Biden is the underdog. Trump supporters are extreme sure the americans like trump.

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