Digging into the details of recent 2020 polls

Even without evaluating the poll numbers on the race for the White House, we can still draw a number of interesting reviews about the 2020 elections, as all sides try to figure out which way things will go on November 3.

The polling data is a reminder of the divisions we see more broadly politically in the United States.

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+ The “Never Trumpers” may be key. One of the friendliest pollsters for President Trump has been the Rasmussen poll. But the namesake for that organization - Scott Rasmussen - no longer works for that polling group. Rasmussen still deals with polling, and says he believes the small group of GOP voters giving up on President Trump could well provide the margin of victory if Joe Biden wins.

+ The Obama health law remains popular. It might be hard to believe for Republican voters, but Obamacare now routinely shows positive numbers, even though President Trump and GOP lawmakers in Congress are dead set in their drive to cancel the law, and yank it out by the roots. It’s a reminder why Democrats no longer run from the law, and trumpet the protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

+ Polls at the local level show trends, too. We are getting a number of polls about individual Congressional district races around the country, and part of those polls almost always include a question about the race for President as well. We’re starting to see a number of results where the President is not doing as well as four years ago. This is a Republican poll showing the President trailing in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. Mr. Trump won here 53-44 percent over Hillary Clinton. It is not going that well right now in 2020.

+ Voting early vs voting later. The polls are also starting to gather a lot of relevant data about who is casting early votes, whether by mail or in person. In some states, there is data which is head-shaking, showing a huge advantage for Democrats. One of those states is Pennsylvania, where Democrats are hoping to ride a wave of new support from the suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The big unknown at this point is whether just the same number of Democrats are going to vote early - or if they are generating extra turnout in 2020 as well.

+ The Coronavirus continues to cause problems for Trump. It almost doesn’t matter what state is polled. The numbers are not good on the handling of the virus outbreak by the President. A Quinnipiac poll in Georgia showed a 44 percent approval to 54 percent disapproval, while another Q poll in Ohio showed it at 46-51 against the President. But not surprisingly, there is a big partisan divide when it comes to the virus. Independents make a big difference against the President on this issue. Earlier this week, the President blasted CNN for spending too much time on the virus, saying the network was full of ‘dumb bastards.’

+ Taxing the rich is popular in both parties. I know Republicans are much more likely to oppose tax increases. But there is a very strong coalition all around the nation for levying new taxes on the wealthy. In Arizona, there is a ballot measure which would add a 3.5 percent tax surcharge on those making over $250,000 a year (for an individual) or $500,000 a year (for a couple). It’s getting a majority of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats, and two-thirds of Independents. The extra money would go to fund higher salaries for teachers.

+ The two parties can’t even agree on where they live. This was from the Pew Research Center, which asked respondents to self-identify where they live. “Urban, suburban or rural? Americans' perceptions of their own community type differ by party,” the Pew study found. Evidently people of different parties see their own neighborhoods differently. Guess that shouldn’t surprise us.

+ Weed is going to be street legal in more states. Polls continue to show voters in several states are more than ready to allow recreational purchases and use of marijuana, as the legalization movement continues to gain steam. Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey could decide to take that step in two weeks.

November 3 is almost here.