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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Special Friday Edition – Baltimore Mayor – Family Leave – California, Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, Arizona

Your Daily Polling Update for Friday, May 22


Same as yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on five polls, ranging from 41% (Politico) to 46% (Economist). Without these extremes it would still be 44%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 54% today (same as yesterday), which is 10 points higher than his approval rating…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.


Among general election voters

Biden over Trump: +8 (48-40)

RON’S COMMENT: This Fox News poll gives Trump a clear national popular vote lead. Other internal data:

  • Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in this poll is rated 43% approve/55% disapprove.
  • Over 60% of voters believe “lack of available testing” and “lack of a clear plan from the federal government” are still major problems.
  • 55% believe “we should wait to reopen the economy, even if it means the economic crisis lasts longer.” Only 34% say open it now anyway.

Biden over Trump: +28 (58-30)

RON’S COMMENT: No surprise here. Trump lost California by 30 points in 2016. Other California data:

  • 68% of Trump voters are enthusiastic to vote for him.
  • 57% of Biden voters are enthusiastic to vote for him.
  • 52% of Republicans who will vote for Biden have reservations about him.
  • 38% of Democrats who will vote for Biden have reservations about him.
  • 53% of independents who will vote for Biden have reservations about him.
  • Note that even in a solid blue state like California, more voters think Trump will win than those who think Biden will win, 42-39.

Biden over Trump: +26 (57-31)

RON’S COMMENT: Trump lost Washington state by 16 points in 2016.

Biden and Trump: even (46-46)

RON’S COMMENT: Trump won Arizona in 2016 by nearly 4 points. While Republicans won the state in five of the last six presidential elections, Democrats believe they can win it this year.

Trump over Biden: +2 (48-46)

RON’S COMMENT: Trump won Iowa by nearly 10 points last time. In the last four presidential elections, the state voted Democratic twice and Republican twice.

Biden over Trump: +3 (49-46)

RON’S COMMENT: Trump won North Carolina in 2016 by nearly 4 points. Though Republicans have won the state in nine of the last ten presidential elections, it’s commonly viewed as a critical swing state based on close races in recent elections.


Among voters nationwide

% = Favorable/Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 63%/35%
Joe Biden: 48%/46%
Donald Trump: 43%/55%
Mike Pence: 42%/50%

RON’S COMMENT: These numbers from Fox News polling are good for Biden’s campaign. They show Obama, who has been under heavy attack from Donald Trump, with a strong favorable rating. They also show Biden is net favorable, albeit by only 2 points. Both Trump and Pence are under water…. Obama’s rating is the highest it’s been in this poll since early 2009…. It should be added that Trump was under water in his personal ratings before the 2016 election––and he won anyway.


Among voters citywide

Sheila Dixon (D): 18%
Mary Miller (D): 18%
Brandon Scott (D): 15%
Thiru Vignarajah (D): 11%
T.J. Smith (D): 6%
Mayor Jack Young (D): 5%

RON’S COMMENT: Dixon is a former mayor, Miller is a T. Rowe Price executive, Scott is city council president, Vignarajah is the deputy state AG and Young is the incumbent mayor…. Here’s the checkered history of Baltimore’s recent mayoral politics: Young was elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1996. In 2010, he became City Council President when Stephanie Rawlings-Blake became mayor due to the indictment of Sheila Dixon. A year ago, Young was named acting mayor due to the leave of absence of Mayor Catherine Pugh, who ultimately resigned after a scandal. Young then became the full-fledged mayor. Got it?…. The primary is June 2.


Among voters in three swing states

Do you support or oppose a national paid family and medical leave policy that would provide paid time away from work for all working people who need leave to care for a new child, their own serious illness or injury, or a family member with a serious illness or injury? 

% = Arizona/Iowa/North Carolina
Support: 84%/82%/82%
Oppose: 11%/12%/10%

RON’S COMMENT: These three key states overwhelmingly support a national paid family and medical leave policy that would provide paid time away from work for all working people who need leave to care for a new child, their own serious illness or injury, or a family member with a serious illness or injury.


by Ron Faucheux

As we know, polls of the national popular vote do not always reflect how Electoral College votes will break. In 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2.1 points, but won a majority of the electoral vote. In 2000, George W. Bush lost the popular vote by narrower five-tenths of a point and still won the electoral vote. This split decision can repeat itself in 2020, or in any presidential election. As a practical matter, however, the wider the popular vote margin the less likely the popular vote loser would be able to overcome that deficit to win the electoral vote. 

  • We know that a national popular vote loser can survive a 2.1 national popular vote deficit (we saw that happen last time), but what happens when that popular vote deficit grows to say 3 or 4 or 5 points?
  • For example––Had Clinton beat Trump by 3.5 points in the national popular vote instead of by 2.1 points, there would have been an additional 1.8 million Clinton votes spread out among the states. If all those votes had come from California and New York, for example, it would not have made any difference in the electoral vote count. But, if a portion of those 1.8 million votes had come from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin––states Trump carried by narrow margins––then the electoral vote majority may have shifted away from Trump.
  • After studying recent elections and state-by-state vote counts, we conclude that: A national popular vote loser may be able to survive a 3-point popular vote deficit in a two-way race, but when that deficit rises higher, it becomes increasingly unlikely that a national popular vote loser can win an electoral vote majority.
  • This is a practical conclusion, not a theoretical one. Theoretically, you could show that a national popular vote loser could overcome a popular vote deficit of almost any size provided state-by-state votes bunch together in ways to make that possible. But, practically speaking, a candidate who wins the national popular vote by 4 points or more is highly likely to survive most realistic state-by-state permutations to also win the electoral vote.
  • So, Biden’s 8-point lead in today’s poll puts him well outside the Electoral College Risk Window.


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
BALTIMORE MAYOR: Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore/WYPR-FM, May 11-18
FAMILY LEAVE: GBAO (D)/PL+US Action, April 13-16

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Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics will publish Tuesdays and Thursdays during the weeks ahead, but will add special editions (such as today’s) when important new data becomes available. As soon as political polling gears up again, we will return to regular daily publication. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux, Chief Analyst at Certus Insights. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2020 Ronald A. Faucheux

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Ron Faucheux

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.