I mean, there’s a reason the media doesn’t want to cover the story. And it ain’t just the awkward implicit comparison between the strength of Reade’s case and Christine Blasey Ford’s.
It figures that after I flagged data last night showing how remarkably stable the polling gap is between Trump and Biden that new data would emerge suggesting the gap might not be so stable now.
Reade probably won’t cost Biden the popular vote, but could she cost him the electoral college? New from Morning Consult:
Weird but true: Men are more sour on Biden lately amid the Reade coverage than women are. Although maybe that’s not so weird when you remember that women skew Democratic and men skew Republican. For some voters, including right-wing men and Biden-skeptic Berniebros, the Reade matter may be less about believing Biden’s guilty of sexual assault than discovering a new reason to reinforce one’s preexisting dislike of him. Also, the graph shows that Biden’s lost more support with women lately (down six points since late April) than he has with men (down four points), which is a big deal. Morning Consult notes that women age 30-65 were the key bloc in Democrats’ midterm takeover of the House. If they fade on Joe, Dem hopes of total control of government next year will likely fade with them.
Biden’s (presumably) Reade-related slide is also showing up in the head-to-head polling with Trump. RCP:
His lead over Trump has been in the six-point range since the start of this year, with a brief exception in late February after he’d lost the primaries Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. But lately that’s changed. Around two weeks ago, when the Reade story finally broke through, he slipped a point. Then, after holding a lead in the five-point range, he slipped another. His lead today is 4.4 points, the lowest since February 26. One wonders what the race would look like if Trump had gotten the same robust bounce that many other world leaders and U.S. governors have received from their handling of the coronavirus crisis. The president’s rating on that may be the only thing propping up Biden’s lead right now.
Biden still has two aces up his sleeve. I wrote about one of them, the shift among senior citizens from red in 2016 to blue this year, last night. The other is the shift among what Joshua Green calls “double haters,” the voters who dislike both candidates but in the end opt for one over the other. Trump cleaned up with that group four years ago, winning it by 17 points, which may have been decisive on Election Day. “Double haters” accounted for nearly 20 percent(!) of the electorate that year.
This year? Advantage: Biden.
Four years later, that same group — including a mix of Bernie Sanders supporters, other Democrats, disaffected Republicans and independents — strongly prefers Biden, the polling shows. The former vice president leads Trump by more than 40 percentage points among that group, which accounts for nearly a quarter of registered voters, according to a Monmouth University poll last week.
“It’s a huge difference,” said Patrick Murray, who oversees the Monmouth poll. “That’s a group that if you don’t like either one of them, you will vote against the status quo. And in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton represented more of the status quo than Trump did. In this current election, the status quo is Donald Trump.”…
“People like that choose the devil they don’t know,” [Republican consultant Christopher] Nicholas said, rejecting Clinton as a de facto incumbent and instead taking their chances with Trump.
Morning Consult polled the “double haters” in their survey today as well. Biden leads them 46/14, a huge advantage relative to the narrow three-point lead he currently enjoys over Trump across the whole electorate. Considering how this voting bloc could tilt the election, Team Trump should do everything they can to hype the Reade allegations notwithstanding how it might renew the focus on Trump’s own accusers. The campaign will never convince voters who dislike the president to like him now, but if they can sour some of the “double haters” on Biden they might convince more of those people to stay home or to opt for Trump as the lesser of two evils, a tactic that won him the presidency in 2016.
The question is whether that group is truly susceptible to persuasion at all. Are they carefully considering which candidate they dislike least or are the people quoted in the excerpt correct that “double haters” are mainly just voting against the status quo, in which case there’s not much Trump can do to win them back? If so then Biden’s “strategy” of hiding out in his basement makes good sense. The more the election is a referendum on Trump rather than a choice between Trump and Biden, the more the “double haters” might express their dislike for the president by pulling the lever for his opponent.
If you believe in making the race a referendum on the incumbent — as most strategists do — you can’t do much better than the president holding daily pressers while his challenger hides out in a basement. https://t.co/90fXrfdu0l
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) May 12, 2020
Exit quotation from Biden himself in his interview with GMA this morning: “Everybody says, you know, ‘Biden’s hiding,’ but I tell you something, we’re doing very well… We’re winning, if you look at all the polling data. I’m not saying that’s going to last until November, I don’t know, but right now the idea that somehow we are being hurt by my keeping to the rules and following the instructions that are put forward by the docs is absolutely bizarre.”