I’m hoping that after the Republican national convention concludes this week, the nation’s pollsters go out and start conducting more surveys, because it feels like we’re not getting as many as we usually do in the late summer of a presidential campaign year and in a political culture that obsessively devours new polling results and pores over them for signs of significant change.
Today is August 27. No one has polled Colorado since July 26. No one has polled voters on Trump and Biden in Iowa since August 2. We’ve had one poll of Trump and Biden in Minnesota since August 10, and it showed a tie. We’ve had one poll of New Hampshire since July 28.
The only new state poll out so far today is from Franklin and Marshall, surveying 681 registered voters in Pennsylvania from August 17 to 21 and finding Biden ahead, 49 percent to 42 percent. Obviously, that’s not what the Trump campaign wants to see in a key swing state. But the previous Franklin and Marshall survey had Biden head, 50 percent to 41 percent — so maybe there’s been a little movement in Trump’s direction, or maybe it’s just noise within the margin of error. If there’s any factor that should make the Biden campaign a little less confident, it’s that the new survey was conducted during the days of the Democratic National Convention, when for two hours a night, the Democratic Party had the stage to itself to make the case for Biden. A poll conducted during convention week is just about the ideal circumstances for a candidate. And once again, there’s no discernable bounce or bump from the selection of Kamala Harris, although Biden may have simply not had that much more room to bounce or bump.
It’s possible that the race is stable and headed towards a Biden landslide, and that the next round of polling in a week or so will show no movement towards Trump or GOP convention “bump.” But those CNBC polls from yesterday suggest that the swing state numbers are closer than the national numbers, and in some cases, much closer. We would have a better sense of where things stand with more survey results. But . . . we must wait.