First, Joe Biden’s poll numbers are starting to tighten. Biden has enjoyed a comfortable lead throughout both the primary polling against Trump, and post nomination. But there are concerning trends for Biden that mirror those of Hillary Clinton’s position in August 2016. In fact, Biden is doing worse in the polls than Hillary was at this time — but you wouldn’t know this based on media coverage of course.
Pollster Frank Luntz breaks it down. On August 25, 2016, Hillary held a +9.2 advantage over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average for Pennsylvania, a state she lost. Currently Joe Biden holds a +5.7 average lead. In Michigan, Hillary held a +9 advantage in polling, a state she also lost. Biden is at +6.7. In Wisconsin, the state Hillary lost and infamously did not visit once for the duration of the general election, Hillary held a lead of +11.5. Biden sits at +6.5. The only state of the crucial swing stats where Biden’s polling outperforms Hillary’s is Florida, where Biden holds a +4.8 average lead. Hillary’s lead was +2.9. She of course lost Florida as well, all but sealing the presidency for Trump and the unthinkable for the media. Biden still holds about an +8.5 lead nationally, but for a candidate who is perceived to have less professional baggage and considered more likable than Hillary, these numbers should be putting the Biden campaign on alert.
Biden also received no post-convention bump, as most candidates do when more voters start paying attention to the election. Biden was of course at a historical disadvantage with COVID-19 canceling out the possibility of a large-scale convention, but the trappings were all there: video presentations, major endorsements, candidate speeches. Yet still nothing.