Trump’s Electoral Wall is Falling Down
Trump’s Ceiling Down to 270, Biden’s Floor Up to 269
By Scott Adams
The latest record breaking outbreak of the coronavirus across the country, and especially in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona, will impact the vote this fall. It bodes horribly for Donald Trump. Two-thirds of voters disapprove of his handling of the pandemic.
The Trump campaign cancelled a July 12th airport hangar rally in New Hampshire, one of the President’s much hyped pick up states. A June 16 St. Anselm poll has Biden up 7 points in the Granite State. The rally was apparently cancelled due to a problem with crowd size and fears of Covid-19. Last night, Trump replaced embattled campaign manager Brad Parscale who supervised the poorly attended Tulsa rally.
We are two months away from the start of early voting. Minnesota, once seen as one of President Trump’s few pick up opportunities, opens voting on September 18th. A June 19th Gravis poll has Joe Biden up 16 points, 58–42.
Minnesota now strongly leans Democratic for Biden and Senator Tina Smith’s re-election. But the North Star State also has two media markets — the Twin Cities and Duluth — that broadcast into Wisconsin. The Dairy State is where Trump must make his last stand. Trump will have to buy in Minnesota, just to reach western and northern Wisconsin.
Of the three Midwest firewall states, Wisconsin has a larger share of white voters. Trump’s base is white, male and non-college educated. In Real Clear Politics’ (RCP) polling averages, Trump is losing in all three states — Down 7.7 points in Michigan, 7.8 points in Pennsylvania and 6 points in Wisconsin. Biden’s largest pick up leads are in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Trump’s Ceiling Down to 270
If Trump loses Michigan and Pennsylvania, and carries all the other states he won in 2016, including Wisconsin, he will hit 270 Electoral College votes. This total includes the one electoral vote Trump won in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District — Maine and Nebraska apportion Electoral Votes by Congressional District.
But to get to 270, Trump must run the tables in so many expensive, competitive Electoral College rich states.
Biden has gone all in with staff and ads in the three firewall states of Michigan (16 EC) Pennsylvania (20 EC) and Wisconsin (10 EC), as well as in Florida (29 EC), Arizona (11 EC) and North Carolina (15 EC). RCP’s average has Biden leading 6.4% in Florida, 2.6% in Arizona and 2% in North Carolina.
Trump is statistically tied in the polls and in danger of losing a trove of Electoral College votes in Texas (38 EC), Ohio (18 EC), Georgia (16 EC) and Iowa (6 EC). Trump won these states in 2016 by 9 points in Texas, 8.5 points in Ohio and Iowa and 6 points in Georgia. Trump’s campaign just spent $1.3 million in Georgia and $600k in Ohio in mostly negative ads attacking Biden. The President’s campaign only spent $150k in Michigan (Grand Rapids market) a potential tell on their strategy to 270.
Biden’s Floor Up to 269
It’s hard to see Biden losing any state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 when she garnered 232 Electoral Votes. All Biden needs is 38 more Electoral College votes to reach 270. Texas alone could deliver the victory. Check out the interactive map at 270 To Win.
Biden’s floor is possibly as high as 269. The floor is calculated by taking Clinton’s 232 votes and adding 37 Electoral College votes from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine’s 2nd CD.
The former Vice President is getting pushed to go big in Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Ohio. This week, Biden responded by launching a Covid-19 themed TV ad in Texas, his first expenditure in one of the four states where he is now even with the President. Texas has the most pick up House opportunities for Democrats, though Republican Senator John Cornyn holds a 10 point lead. Georgia has two Senate seats on the ballot. In Iowa, Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield leads Senator Joni Ernst by 3 points in a June 10 Des Moines Register poll.
Expect Biden to buy broadcast and digital ads in Iowa, and the neighboring Omaha market, to help Greenfield’s senate race and give him even more options to 270. Nebraska’s 2nd CD, encompassing Omaha, and its one Electoral College vote, offers Biden another road to 270. A July 13 GQR Research poll in Nebraska’s 2nd CD has Biden beating Trump by 7 points, 51–44% with Democratic House challenger Kara Eastman up 1 point 50–49% over Republican Congressman Don Bacon. In 2018, Bacon edged out Eastman 51–49%.
It makes sense for Biden to buy time in Maine, to nail down the 2nd CD vote and help Democratic challenger Sara Gideon’s bid to unseat Republican Senator Susan Collins. Hillary Clinton won Maine by 2.5%. In the only recent presidential poll (July 3, PPP-D) Biden is up 11 points in Maine and Democrats flipped Maine’s 2nd CD in 2018.
Trump is Left with Crumbs
Of the states that Trump is currently in the lead, only three offer double digit Electoral College votes, Indiana (11 EC), Tennessee (11 EC) and Missouri (10 EC). The President won the Show Me State by 19 points, yet he is only up 6.4 points in RCP’s Missouri average since Memorial Day.
Trump is experiencing serious falloff in many states that he carried in 2016.
Trump carried Arkansas by 27 points, yet a June 10 Hendrix College poll has him up 2 points. Likewise in Alaska where Trump won by 15 points, a July 9 PPP poll has Trump up a scant 3 points. Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan has a 5 point lead (39–34%) over Independent Al Gross with 27% undecided and Independent Alyse Galvin is up 2 points over At-Large Congressman Don Young 43–41 The Independent candidates have the backing of Alaska Democrats.
Trump’s 20 point margin in 2016 in Montana is down to a 9 point lead in a July 10 PPP poll, while Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has a 2 point lead in his challenge to Republican Senator Steve Daines.
Trump has serious obstacles to reach his 270 Electoral College ceiling. The President could drag down Republican House and Senate candidates.
The Toxic Brand Goes Negative
The Trump campaign has no choice but to continue to go negative on Biden. Trump’s disapproval numbers are a severe, if not catastrophic problem. Poll after poll show Trump’s favorability and leadership ratings have cratered. The next round of polling in battleground states will be conducted while political ads are running. The results should provide insight as to whether Trump’s ads are having any effect.
Trump’s brand is toxic. It doesn’t help that every ad includes an image of the President with the words “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.”
Scott Adams is Executive Creative Director at award-winning Green Alley Strategies, www.greenalleystrategies.com.