LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Last Night’s Debate – Iowa Senate Shift? – Montana Senate Tight

Your Daily Polling Update for Friday, October 23, 2020

Down 1 from yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on seven polls, ranging from 41% (Quinnipiac) to 51% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would be 43%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 54% today (+1 from yesterday)…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.

by Ron Faucheux

Last night’s faceoff was a far better civic exercise than the first debate. That’s good for the country.  

  • The moderator, Kristen Welker, did a great job. She kept the program running and stayed out of the discussion, which is what moderators are supposed to do.
  • Donald Trump did far better than in the first debate and beat expectations, although the bar was low. He was forceful without being rambunctious and was reigned-in by the microphone cutoff. But his lack of plans for a second term––especially on healthcare and the pandemic––continue to be obvious. His comment about being the “least racist person in the room” was, well, a bit much.
  • Joe Biden, as usual, was uneven. He was given more opportunities to deliver his message than in the first debate, but missed many of them. His messaging was often less coherent than Democrats would have liked. On occasion, he seemed exasperated––a sentiment shared by his supporters. He appeared overly anxious to bring this campaign to an end––maybe not the best look for a candidate, but a feeling shared by most Americans.
  • Each side got most of what they wanted on policy. Biden made his points about the coronavirus, national unity and race. Trump made his points about the economy, China and trade. Of course, media analysts are now having a field day fact-checking the claims.

The big question is whether the debate fundamentally changed the dynamics of the race––which is what Trump, running behind in the polls, needed. Based on polls, the answer is no. Three instant post-debate polls show Biden with an advantage over Trump: 52-41 (Data for Progress), 53-39 (CNN) and 54-35 (YouGov).
Underlying these numbers are feelings on both sides that have hardened to such an extent that few minds were capable of being changed. The undecided vote is small and, perhaps most importantly, nearly a third of the electorate has already cast ballots. 
But, let’s not forget––today is eleven days before the election. It was eleven days before the last election when FBI Director James Comey announced he was reopening the e-mail investigation of Hillary Clinton.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Among general election voters

In the States
States Trump carried in 2016
FLORIDA (St. Pete): Biden +2
FLORIDA (Rasmussen): Trump +4
PENNSYLVANIA (Morning Call): Biden +7
KANSAS (NYT): Trump +7
MONTANA (NBC-MT): Trump +8
States Clinton carried in 2016
RON’S COMMENT: Florida remains a battle, but Biden continues to look good in Pennsylvania and Michigan. It will be worth watching how the fracking and fossil fuel issue plays out in Pennsylvania…. Trump leads Kansas and Montana, but by lesser margins than he won those states by in 2016: Kansas 21 vs. 7 points; Montana 20 vs. 8 points.

Among voters in each state

(Emerson) Sen. Joni Ernst (R) over Theresa Greenfield (D): +1 (46-45)
(NYT) Sen. Joni Ernst (R) over Theresa Greenfield (D): +1 (45-44)
(Monmouth) Theresa Greenfield (D) over Sen. Joni Ernst (R): +2 (49-47)
RON’S COMMENT: New polls showing Ernst ahead are good news for the GOP. She had been running behind. Monmouth still puts Greenfield slightly ahead. In any case, this is worth watching.
Sen. Gary Peters (D) over John James (R): +6 (45-39)
RON’S COMMENT: Same as we said last time––Peters can’t seem to expand his lead and James, within striking distance, can’t seem to strike.
Sen. Steve Daines (R) over Steve Bullock (D): +1 (48-47)
COMMENT: Touch and go. Another race worth watching.
Roger Marshall (R) over Barbara Bollier (D): +4 (46-42)
COMMENT: Marshall leads the race for this open seat, but he isn’t out of the woods yet.

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
STATE POLLS: Pollsters indicated along with results; most interviewing done within the last week, or otherwise noted. 

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Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics publishes daily, Monday thru Friday, between now and the Nov. 3 election. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron

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