The state of the race: Why the polls mean more this year than they did in 2016

Many Trump supporters, and even wary Biden supporters, look at today’s polls with skepticism. People argue that polls once showed Hillary Clinton would beat Trump. While Clinton won the popular vote, she lost the electoral college. One important factor, however, that contributed to the surprise win in 2016 was polling error though. The polls lacked weighting for education because non-college-educated voters tend to support Trump more strongly. Those problems were fixed by the 2018 midterm elections.

And there is this vital polling difference to consider as well: Clinton never enjoyed the polling leads that Biden does. It very different in 2020.

Marist College and Quinnipiac University polls, for example, showed Clinton leading Trump in Pennsylvania 39 percent to 38 percent in July 2016. A Real Clear Politics average of Pennsylvania polls in the lead up to the election showed Clinton up a similar 1.5 percent. It was very tight.

But a Monmouth University Pennsylvania poll released last week shows Biden leading 52 percent to Trump’s 42 percent. And a New York Times/Siena College poll last month showed the same exact lead for Biden, 50 percent to 40 percent.

The Real Clear Politics average shows Biden leading by 8.7 percent and he has also consistently polled over 50 percent in recent months, something Clinton never did.

Another important factor is that White college women are breaking away from the Republicans and Trump in a way that is unprecedented in modern politics. Biden’s up a solid double digits over Trump with college white women. It’s very difficult for Republicans to compete in the suburbs if they’re losing white college women by a tremendous margin.

Of course anything could happen in 2020, which is one of the most unpredictable years on record. But things are looking well by historical standards for Biden and very poorly for Trump.

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