Come on, man. There are a number of outcomes that might be plausible from next week’s election. None of them include Joe Biden winning Wisconsin by seventeen points, two more than Barack Obama’s margin in 2008. Yet that’s what the Washington Post and ABC News finds as its polling finale in the state, along with a somewhat more reasonable seven-point Biden lead in Michigan:
Former vice president Joe Biden continues to outpace President Trump in two crucial Midwest battlegrounds, currently holding a slight lead over the president in Michigan while showing a much more substantial advantage in Wisconsin, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls.
The surveys show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan by 51 percent to 44 percent, with Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen at 3 percent. In Wisconsin, likely voters favor Biden by 57 percent to 40 percent, with Jorgensen at 2 percent. Among registered voters, Biden’s edge in Michigan is five points, while he leads by 17 points in Wisconsin.
Could Biden have a lead, even a substantial lead, in Wisconsin? Sure; unlike four years ago, Democrats and their nominee aren’t ignoring the state. Neither is Trump, whose ground game has always had the state as one of its top targets. The latest increase in COVID-19 cases certainly makes Trump a bit more vulnerable, too, although some of the anger for that might be directed at Democratic governor Tony Evers, too.
Anyone who has watched politics in Wisconsin knows, however, that there isn’t room for a seventeen point lead in either direction. Thanks to the Act 10 fight and the recall effort to remove Scott Walker, the partisan political landscape in Wisconsin has become far too polarized to get 57% for one candidate and 40% for another. The trenches have been dug for a decade there, and not many people cross through no-man’s-land. Democrats can win in Wisconsin — and they probably would have in 2016 if Hillary Clinton hadn’t taken the state for granted — but it’s not a 17-point-win state for either Democrats or Republicans. It’s probably not even a seven-point-win state in either direction.
A look at the RealClearPolitics aggregation shows just how ridiculous this result is. None of the polling has ever shown Trump ahead, although a recent Susquehanna poll (with only 500 likely voters) put the race at a 45/45 tie. Even Trafalgar has it as Biden +2 at 48/46, still a virtual tie. This WaPo/ABC result of Biden +17 is almost twice the gap as the most Biden-friendly poll this month, however, with almost every pollster putting this race in single digits.
Give the WaPo/ABC and their pollsters credit for huevos grandes, though. This is one hell of a bet on credibility they’re putting down in the last week of an election. If they come close, they’ll look like geniuses. It’s much more likely they end up with the huevos all over their faces.