The United States of America is one of the most historic countries in the world. It was founded on the principles of freedom and democracy, and has since gone on to become a superpower. Now, as the world turns further into the 21st century, the question is: which presidential candidate do the odds favor of taking over from Donald Trump? Here are the odds-makers’ responses.
Bernie Sanders Leads In Early Andmidst Super Tuesday Polls
The Democratic candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, has seen an increase in popularity in recent days, primarily due to his stand on key issues such as health care and housing. According to a poll conducted by the New York Times/Surveymonkey, 44% of Americans would vote for Sanders, while 35% would pick former Vice President Joe Biden. Furthermore, 16% of Americans would choose someone else, while 4% are unsure.
If these numbers hold, they would represent a sea change for the Democrats. For much of the Obama era, Biden was the clear favorite among Democrats, particularly young voters. In the Times/Surveymonkey poll, only 28% of respondents chose Biden, while 36% picked Sanders. Furthermore, 54% of respondents said they were not sure who they would vote for in the 2020 election.
The early and mid-March dates of the primary election may not bode well for Trump, who is expected to take a substantial hit in the polls. Despite this, the president still holds an 11% lead over his Democratic challenger, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
Biden Wins Most Black Supporters
One of the most significant changes in this year’s presidential election is the shift in support among ethnic minorities. Where once Bernie Sanders was the clear choice of young whites, the tables have turned, and now African Americans and other minorities are flocking to support Biden.
According to a Morning Consult poll conducted in early March, 26% of African Americans said they would vote for Biden, while 18% picked Sanders. Furthermore, only 9% of respondents said they were not sure who they would support in the Democratic primary. The poll surveyed 1,993 adults in the United States, and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2 percentage points.
Biden’s surge in popularity among traditionally Democratic constituencies will be a boost to his campaign, and could help him overcome any polling deficits among white voters. According to data from the 2012 and 2016 elections, as well as recent polling, Biden is the candidate most likely to win the black vote. In the Democratic primaries, the vice president leads with 26% among African American respondents in a Morning Consult/Politico survey, while Sanders comes in second with 18% and Elizabeth Warren is third with 12%. Furthermore, 65% of blacks said they are certain to vote in the Democratic primary, compared to 39% of Hispanics and 41% of whites. In 2012, Barack Obama received 77% of the white vote, compared to 14% for Mitt Romney, according to exit polls. In 2016, Hillary Clinton secured 66% of the white vote, compared to 28% for Trump and 5% for Sanders. This year, many factors could contribute to Trump’s steep decline among white voters, including his decision to ban many foreign-born citizens from entering the country and his criticism of prominent black politicians who have supported the president.
Trump’s Approval Rating Hits New Low
While Sanders has seen a rise in support among younger Americans, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 34, the president’s approval rating has taken a hit in recent weeks. According to a Gallup poll conducted last week, Trump’s approval rating is currently 37%. This low rating is largely the result of a 23% decline in his approval rating among adults aged 35 and older. In the poll, 37% of respondents approved of the way Trump was handling his job as president, while 59% disapproved.
Gallup’s numbers are in line with other polls. An average of 41% of respondents approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 54% disapprove. Furthermore, only 22% of Americans said they were very confident that Trump would handle the economy in a way that would benefit them, compared to 41% who said they were not too confident and 27% who said they were not sure. Finally, only 28% of respondents said they were very confident that Trump would do enough to protect the environment as president, compared to 40% who said they were not too confident and 32% who said they were not sure.
Trump’s poor poll numbers suggest that his legislative agenda — which includes a promised replacement for the Affordable Care Act — has not resonated with the American public. In the 2018 midterm election, Democrats picked up 126 seats in the House of Representatives, which could give them the ability to block many of Trump’s proposals. This is particularly notable since GOP representation in the House is currently at its lowest point since 1948. The president is also facing an impeachment inquiry, with the House Judiciary Committee reviewing evidence of possible wrongdoing by the president. This inquiry could end in either Trump’s acquittal or impeachment.
The numbers suggest that while Sanders has seen a surge in support among millennials, the country at large may not be feeling the same way about his campaign promises. According to a YouGov/HuffPost poll conducted last week, only 18% of respondents said the economy would be the most important issue to them in the 2020 presidential election, compared to 27% who cited health care and 15% who cited terrorism. Furthermore, 29% of respondents said they were most concerned about the economy, while only 21% were worried about terrorism and 13% were preoccupied with health care.
Who’s Gaining, Losing And Staying In The Polls?
While Trump’s standing in the polls has declined, several other candidates’ popularity has increased. According to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Joe Biden’s favorability rating is now 47%, a 13% increase from last month and the highest it has been in the average since March 2019. Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur whose presidential campaign is centered around the concept of universal basic income, is also showing significant growth, with his favorability rating now standing at 31%. This is the highest it has been in the average in more than a year.
Both Biden and Yang have pitched themselves as the anti-Trump candidates, citing the president’s unpopularity as the reason for their own popularity. In some cases, their polling numbers have even surpassed those of their Republican opponents. For instance, according to a Monmouth University poll, 45% of respondents have a favorable opinion of Biden, while only 38% have an unfavorable opinion, a +7% net favorable rating. In comparison, 41% of respondents have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 55% have an unfavorable opinion, for a net +14% rating.
The numbers indicate that while there is considerable unease among respondents regarding the coronavirus, particularly among Trump’s core supporters, there is also a sense of resignation that this year’s election will result in a victory for the Democrats, who have positioned themselves as the answer to Trump’s perceived flaws.
How Is The Coronavirus Changing Voting Behavior?
One of the most significant changes in the 2020 presidential election is how the pandemic has impacted voting behavior. Specifically, the number of people who intend to vote has increased, albeit slightly. In a Pew Research Center survey conducted last month, 48% of respondents said they are very likely to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary, while only 37% said they were very likely to vote in the Republican primary. In comparison, 28% said they were very likely to vote in the Democratic caucus, while 24% said they were very likely to vote in the Republican caucus.
On the other side of the aisle, 27% of registered voters said they were very likely to vote in the Democratic primary in a Pew Research Center survey conducted last month, compared to 27% who said they were very likely to vote in the Republican primary. Furthermore, 22% of respondents said they were very likely to vote in the Democratic caucus, while 19% said they were very likely to vote in the Republican caucus.
These numbers represent a small rise in voter interest, in the context of an overwhelmingly lackluster approval rating for the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. Only 29% of adults said they approved of the way President Trump was handling the coronavirus pandemic, while 62% disapproved. Furthermore, 64% of respondents said they were not sure how Trump was handling the crisis, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
However, this increase in voter interest does not necessarily translate into actual turnout, since participation in the primaries is voluntary and ballots are not sent out until the day of the election, as mandated by state law. Nevertheless, the data indicates that more Americans are interested in voting than in recent years, and perhaps suggest that the nation is more receptive to the idea of participatory democracy than we have been in years.