Polling guru who predicted Trump's 2016 victory: 'We’re watching an incumbent self-destruct'
With Election Day just one week away, polls signal that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will take the Oval Office. President Donald Trump's supporters are pointing to the outcome of the 2016 election in hopes that the president will defy the odds. Democratic voters are also on edge because they, too, vividly remember the upsetting outcome of that election.
Now, the polling guru who predicted Trump's 2016 win is admitting that he, too, is betting on a Biden win. During a recent interview, Dave Wasserman, a polling expert who analyzes Congressional races polls via the non-partisan Cook Political Report, has revealed just how difficult it will be for Trump to win the upcoming election.
According to Vanity Fair columnist Mark McKinnon, the takeaway was clear: the president will need an electoral sweep to beat Biden and it does not appear that will happen.
After talking with him I came away with the sense that Trump is not just toast, but burnt toast. To use a poker metaphor: In the last election, Trump won by pulling an inside straight. This time he'll need nothing short of a royal flush—by pulling an ace from his sleeve.
Wasserman outlined the differences between this election and the 2016 election that awarded Trump his first term.
"There are a couple of important differences," Wasserman said, adding, "At the district level, the polling that we're seeing is pretty consistent; it's in line with the national polls that suggest that Donald Trump is underperforming his 2016 margins [by] anywhere from 8 to 10 points, with few exceptions."
He also noted important differences between Biden and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Wasserman added, "There are a couple of exceptions: One is in really heavily Hispanic districts. [These] are places where Donald Trump is approaching or even exceeding his 2016 performance. But we also are seeing in really wealthy suburbs or highly white-collar, professional suburbs—even in traditionally conservative metro areas—that Joe Biden is doing 10 or more points better than Hillary Clinton did."
The poll expert also explained how Biden's polls fair differently from Clinton's polling in 2016. Wasserman compared the 2016 polls to the erratic diagrams you see on an EKG. Unlike Clinton, who rarely maintained a consistent lead over Trump, Wasserman notes that "Joe Biden has never been behind; he's had a fairly stable lead that's ebbed around the margins."
So, what's the bottom line? Wasserman believes Trump needs to "win all of the states that are really close in the polls right now: Florida, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina." and "he's gotta break through in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Arizona to have a pathway to replicating his success in 2016."
With all that has transpired, Wasserman is convinced that will not be an easy feat for the president because Biden appears to be "doing better in Arizona than in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania."
Although Trump managed to snag the 2016 election, Wasserman believes what the American public is witnessing now is "an incumbent self-destruct."