On second thought: New polls show that Biden isn't collapsing after all

Monday presented a question. Did that new Monmouth poll with a suspiciously small sample capture the start of an avalanche in Grandpa Joe’s support, with Biden dropping 13 points(!) in two months, or was it an outlier?

Wednesday brings the answer. Outlier, per new surveys from Morning Consult, Suffolk, and Quinnipiac, each of which finds him winning about a third of Dem primary voters and maintaining a healthy lead over Warren and Sanders.

In fact, it’s such an outlier that Monmouth itself issued a press release today saying yep, it’s an outlier.

I make this solemn pledge to you, though: I will never let the whiff of garbage around a too-good-to-check poll deter me from blogging that sucker on a slow news day. Pointless freakouts are what the Internet is all about.

New from Quinnipiac:

Warren is competitive with him among whites but Biden continues to blow the rest of the field away among black voters, winning them 46/10. That’s the difference. As for the other polls out today, Morning Consult has the race Biden 33, Sanders 20, Warren 15 whereas Suffolk has it Biden 32, Warren 14, Sanders 12, each a far cry from Monmouth’s numbers showing Biden sliding to third place at 19 percent. Three different surveys show no one within 13 points of him. Frontrunner status: Secure.

That’s not the most notable result in the Quinnipiac poll, though. They took the public’s temperature on the economy and found opinion shifting a bit towards pessimism, a bad omen for Trump next year. For only the second time in the past year, more people disapprove of his handling of the economy than approve, a 46/49 split (42/51 among independents). He’s at 38/54 on trade, and the share of the public that says the economy is doing “excellent” or “good” has slipped to 61 percent, a solid number but the lowest he’s seen since April 2018.

The upshot is that, for the moment, he’s getting wrecked head to head with the Democrats. Especially the two grandpas.

As we’re all well aware after 2016, the election doesn’t turn on the popular vote. He could lose nationally to Biden and still win the presidency if he reassembles his swing state coalition. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Morning Consult also has his job approval under 50 percent in multiple battleground states, including Iowa and the entire Rust Belt. He’s even slightly underwater in Florida and North Carolina. And needless to say, he couldn’t win the electoral college if he lost the popular vote *badly.* A narrow defeat of a few points in the PV can be overcome by winning with razor-thin margins in battlegrounds. A blowout loss in the popular vote will carry over to battlegrounds. If 40 percent really does end up as his ceiling next year, he’s looking at a landslide.

But don’t worry. Americans on both sides are preparing to rationalize away a defeat by their preferred candidate, per Suffolk:

Thirty-eight percent saying *in advance* that they’re “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that an unfavorable result will be legitimate is a lot of institutional distrust. Imagine what the numbers will be if Trump loses and then spends the ensuing months in full sore-loser mode, a la Democrats and Russia.

Exit question: How far would Trump’s approval rating need to fall by next spring for him to invent an excuse to withdraw from the race? Down to 30 percent, maybe? I don’t think there’s anything he could do — barring economy calamity — that would lose him enough Republicans that he might touch 30.