It turns out that things there might actually be worse for Trump. But it’s hardly the only indication that his 2020 polls are getting worse.
The Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that a poll that was conducted in the same period as the earlier Michigan poll, but a day later — and by the same pollster, Epic-MRA — showed that Biden’s margin was actually 16 points. That’s within the margin of error of the other poll, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump’s numbers deteriorated that week. But when you compare it with Epic-MRA’s earlier polling, which in January showed Biden up just six points, that does indicate a decline for Trump: from Biden at plus-6 in January to Biden between plus-12 and plus-16 in early June.
And there are plenty of other examples where that came from this month. For this post, we will focus not on all polls of a given state or the national race, which can be scattershot, but on polls that were run by the same pollster, as the Michigan ones were.
A clear majority of them suggest that Biden’s lead is expanding.
- An Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register by respected pollster Ann Selzer last week showed Trump up by just one point (44-43), after it showed him up 10 in March (51-41). The new poll tied for Trump’s smallest margin to date — in any poll — in a state he won by nine points in 2016.
- A Wisconsin poll for Fox News early this month showed Biden up nine points (49-40) after leading by five (46-41) in January. The new poll tied for Trump’s biggest deficit to date in a state he won by one point in 2016.
- A CNN poll last week showed Biden up 14 points (55-41) nationally after it showed him up five points (51-46) last month.
- A Washington Post-ABC News poll from late May showed Biden up 10 points nationally (53-43) after it showed him up just two (49-47) in March.
- A Fox News poll in late May showed Biden up eight points nationally (48-40) after it showed him tied with Trump (42-42) in April.
- A CNBC poll in late May showed Biden up seven nationally (48-41) — his biggest margin to date in a poll that earlier in the month showed him up three.
Other national polls don’t show such significant changes in Biden’s favor. An NPR-PBS-Marist poll had Biden up six points in February and seven points today. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll had Biden up by seven in both April and today. And Monmouth had Biden up nine points last month and up 11 points this month.
What none of these polls show, though, is Biden’s margin getting smaller. And many of them show it getting significantly bigger. Indeed, when it comes to high-quality national polls, to find one that shows Biden’s lead shrinking by even a point, you have to go back to April, according to RealClearPolitics’s compilation of polls.
And Trump’s declines in many of these polls track with a decline in his approval rating, which Gallup pegged at 39 percent last week after showing it as high as 49 percent on multiple occasions this year.
That doesn’t mean it will always be thus, of course. Polls will shift as the race continues, and it’s difficult to see Biden maintaining such sizable leads in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. (The Michigan poll, in particular, showed Biden with a massive and tough-to-believe margin among independent voters.)
But the growing volume of polls we have in these and some of the other most important swing states — along with some states that Trump won big in 2016 but are polling competitively, such as Iowa, Arizona, Texas and Ohio — do suggest at least a modest decline in Trump’s fortunes. And right now, they are the kind of margins that suggest Trump needs much more than a slight improvement or for the polls to have been off by a few points, as they were in 2016.