Over the last couple weeks PPP did polls testing the leading Democratic contenders for President against Donald Trump in both Arizona and Iowa.
On the surface the numbers are decent but not amazing for Democrats. Donald Trump won Arizona by 4 points in 2016. Currently he ties Joe Biden, leads Bernie Sanders by 1, leads Elizabeth Warren by 2, and leads Pete Buttigieg by 3. Trump won Iowa by 9 points in 2016. Currently he leads Pete Buttigieg by 1, Joe Biden by 3, and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren by 5.
When you dig further into the numbers though a clear picture emerges- Trump’s position would be much, much worse if voters who don’t like him- or even just those voters who voted against him in 2016- end up unifying around the eventual Democratic nominee.
In Arizona more than 80% of the undecideds in every match up between Trump and the individual Democratic candidates disapproves of Trump. And the undecideds also voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by anywhere from 45-50 points. If you allocate the undecideds based on whether they approve of Trump or not, all of the Democrats move into leads ranging from 4-6 points. If you allocate the undecideds based on whether they voted for Clinton or Trump in 2016, all the Democrats move into leads ranging from 2-4 points.
|Horse Race (Arizona)||Undecideds Trump Approval||Undecideds 2016 Vote||Undecideds Allocated By Trump Approval||Undecideds Allocated By 2016 Vote|
|Biden 46, Trump 46||9/83||Clinton 57-11||Biden 53-47||Biden 52-48|
|Trump 47, Sanders 46||10/80||Clinton 60-11||Sanders 52-48||Sanders 51-49|
|Trump 47, Warren 45||6/88||Clinton 58-13||Warren 53-47||Warren 51-49|
|Trump 47, Buttigieg 44||7/88||Clinton 58-8||Buttigieg 52-48||Buttigieg 51-49|
It’s a similar story in Iowa. Trump’s approval rating with the voters who are undecided ranges from 3 to 7%, and the undecided group voted for Clinton over Trump by an average of 31 points. If you allocate the undecideds based on Trump approval Buttigieg takes a 2 point lead and the other three Democrats all tie with Trump. If you allocate them based on their 2016 vote, Buttigieg ties Trump, Biden and Sanders trail him just 51-49, and Warren trails 52-48.
|Horse Race (Iowa)||Undecideds Trump Approval||Undecideds 2016 Vote||Undecideds Allocated By Trump Approval||Undecideds Allocated By 2016 Vote|
|Trump 49, Biden 46||5/60||Clinton 35-14||50-50||Trump 51-49|
|Trump 49, Sanders 44||3/73||Clinton 53-11||50-50||Trump 51-49|
|Trump 49, Warren 44||3/71||Clinton 47-10||50-50||Trump 52-48|
|Trump 48, Buttigieg 47||7/59||Clinton 40-16||Buttigieg 51-49||50-50|
Trump is stuck at 46-47% in Arizona (and has a 46/52 approval rating) and is stuck at 48-49% in Iowa (and has a 48/48 approval rating). He appears to have very little room to grow among undecideds. These numbers suggest that the fate of the 2020 election really stands in the hands of the voters who don’t like Trump. Trump does not have enough people who like him to get reelected- the only way he does is if the voters who don’t like him refuse to get on the same page after the Democratic primary is over. Right now we see a lot of people saying they will vote for Biden but not Bernie or will vote for Bernie but not Biden- if those people get on the same page once the nominee is chosen, Trump will lose. If they don’t, it will be close.