Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Big Elections Tomorrow, More On The NYT Poll, Bibi Must Go
I'll Be Hosting A Live Post-Election Recap Wed at 1pm ET - RSVP Today
Dear Friends, a big week ahead! Some things I am thinking about, working on today:
Election Day Is Tomorrow - Let’s Stay Focused People - We Have Work To Do! - Everything is close so all our work over the next two days will really matter. Thanks to everyone who has put in work over the past few months - but try to get in at least one more shift of calls or canvassing (where that is still happening) as in these low turnout off elections many races are decided by dozens or hundreds of votes.
I am still focused on Virginia. We’ve hit our fundraising goal, coming in at close to $200,000 from the Hopium community for our six candidates - thank you all! But use this link to find ways to volunteer in the home stretch - every contact with a voter in these final days really matters. Let’s do this people!
Election Recap Zoom Call Wednesday 1pm ET - I’ll be hosting a live look at these elections on Wednesday at 1pm ET. Register here, and for those who can’t make it live I will be sharing the video late Wednesday.
The Hidden Good News In The NYT Poll - I offered some initial thoughts on the NYT poll yesterday, and come back for a bit more this morning. For electoral or polling data to be considered true and accurate, there cannot be a lot of other data challenging the findings. And there is a lot of data out there right now challenging the NYT’s finding of a big Biden and Dem swoon:
Most of the national polling of the Presidential right now has the race even, not +4/+5 Trump, and Dems lead in a majority of recent Congressional Generic polls. While the NYT polling could be a sign of a new more challenging post Oct 7th environment for Biden, so far we are not seeing that in other polling, including in the many right leaning polls in 538’s averages.
As we discussed yesterday recent Congressional polling shows Democrats with meaningful advantages over Republicans, including in new polling of House battleground races which have significant geographic overlap with the NYT polling. Would be unusual for House Dems to be making meaningful gains in battleground Congressional races while Biden drops.
Other recent polling in these same battleground states have not found meaningful Republican advantages (all polls on 538): Two new Arizona polls have Rep. Gallego with modest leads, the NYT has Biden down 5 there. New GOP Senate polling in Nevada has Biden-Trump even, NYT has Biden down 11. In PA the NYT has Biden down 5, a new Franklin and Marshall poll has him up 2 and Democratic Senator Bob Casey has comfortable lead in several recent polls.
Our friend Stephen Clermont at Change Research just posted this comparison of the NYT polls with the CBS poll also released yesterday:
Yes political polling is a bit of a shitshow right now. Imagine where Biden’s numbers would be in these NYT states if 18-29 year olds were Biden +25, not Biden +6. The whole NYT analysis falls apart. In the NYT polls Biden leads Trump with battleground Hispanics, 50-42 (+8). The latest bi-partisan Univision poll, a much larger Hispanic sample, has Biden leading Trump with Hispanic voters nationally, 58-31 (+27).
Republican Presidential candidates have only topped 48% and won the popular vote once since 1988, the 2004 Bush re-election. Trump received 46.1% and 46.8% of the vote in his two elections. Polls finding Trump in the high 40s or low 50s places or with large leads over Biden place him in territory he has never himself achieved with voters, and that the Republican Party has only achieved once in the last 8 Presidential elections. That 2023 Trump could be running many points above where Republicans have been over the past generation of Presidential politics seems implausible.
This year Democrats have repeatedly outperformed our 2020 results and the partisan lean in dozens and dozens of elections across the country. We will see what happens in tomorrow’s elections, but this strong Dem performance in actual elections is perhaps the most direct and compelling data challenging the notion of a big Biden/Dem swoon. There are just limits to how far Biden can be running below other Democrats across the US.
Perhaps the most fascinating nugget in the NYT poll was this one:
Trump versus a generic Democrat is down 8 points. Trump down 8. We’ve been outperforming 2020 this year in specials by 8 points, are running 10 pts above partisan lean. What this signals is that there’s an opportunity for Joe Biden and the Democrats to win 2024 by a large margin, or as I’ve been calling it “Get to 55.” There is a deep understanding of the GOP’s extremism in the broader American electorate, which is giving us the chance to take away geographic and demographic real estate from Republicans this cycle. It’s why we’ve done so well in Republican strongholds like Colorado Springs and Jacksonville this year, why we performed so well in OH and WI, and why we are holding our own in current polling even in red states like KY, MS and OH.
In my view it’s far more likely that the Biden-Harris ticket can lift itself up over the next year to that generic Dem level than that vote stays home or wanders to a third party candidate or Trump. Our advantage right now feels structural, independent of any candidate. As I often say Joe Biden is a good President, has a very strong case for re-election and we know from polling that when people are informed of Biden’s accomplishments his numbers can improve, substantially. Getting him into a better place is a doable thing, and will become easier once it is clear the election is Trump vs Biden.
In talking to folks over the weekend about our current moment, I came across an analysis I posted on June 21, 2022, three days before Dobbs dropped and Roe ended. It’s called “Red Wave? Hard To See One Now,” and contains this relevant passage:
Any fair analysis of this cycle would work hard to balance the obvious challenges for Democrats – Biden’s low approval rating/inflation, etc – with the really significant challenges Republican’s face – blown COVID, ongoing radicalization/insurrection, terrible candidates, horrifically divided party, very low party approval, ending of Roe, return of mass shooting, etc. Most of what we've gotten so far from many analysts is why the election is going to be tough for Democrats, leaving out all the clear and serious liabilities Republicans will be struggling to overcome this year. Given the data presented here that downplaying of the GOP's struggles this cycle needs to change. A clear sign that Republicans know this thing ain't breaking their way right is now is Senator McConnell's working with Democrats on gun safety legislation, an almost unimaginable event. For Mitch, that he needed to do something like this is a sign of a weak hand, not a strong one. It is an affirmation this election is not performing as Republicans had hoped, or as much the media is presenting it today.
I wrote the following in a recent memo, The Strategic Context for the 2022 Election is Changing: "New events – Russia’s ongoing aggression, mass shootings, the end of Roe, a more complete understanding of MAGA’s attack on our political system – are together creating a new strategic framework or context for US politics now. That new strategic context is giving Joe Biden and the Democrats the opportunity to reframe the economic conversation, something the White House began in earnest yesterday; and it will make it far more likely Democrats will be successful at labeling Republicans out of the mainstream, extreme, unfit. While these new realities may not be showing up in polling yet, it is our belief that the election has fundamentally changed in the last few weeks, something that will become clearer to all in the coming days."
What I found in my research suggests that maybe these GOP vulnerabilities are beginning to show up in polls, and that this election may be much competitive today than is understood; that perhaps fear of MAGA remains the most powerful force in American politics as it has been the last two cycles, more powerful even than disappointment in Joe Biden. Does that mean a red wave won't eventually form? We don't know. We do know, however, that it hasn't formed yet. Of the 10 most recent generic ballots in 538's tracker, Rs only led in 3, and the average was 42.2 Dem, 41.9 GOP. Again, not a wave.
Finally, a note on election analysis. This is my 16th or 17th cycle working full time in Democratic politics. I have seen a lot over those years. Been on both sides of waves, lost and won a Presidential election. Had lots of election night joy, and lots of heartbreak too. What I've learned is that every election is unique, and none is like any other. There are no ironclad political rules, or immutable political physics. That because something has happened before it doesn't mean it will happen again. That to understand an election you have to follow the data, not history, not wives tales and wise guys, but data. That's what I work so hard to do, every day. And that data I am seeing suggests this is far more likely to be a competitive election than a wave. And frankly, given what has happened to the GOP, that shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone.
I am very open to the idea that the favorable political environment which generated our strong performances in 2022 and 2023 is changing, and becoming for now, more hostile to Biden and the Dems due to the tragic aftermath of October 7th. But it isn’t there in the data, yet. We will learn a lot more tomorrow in the November 7th elections and in polling in the weeks to come. As I wrote yesterday, what we know, now, a year before the 2024 elections is that we have a lot of work to do to have the election we all want to have, but in every way imaginable I would much rather be us than them.
Bibi Must Go - I don’t know how it is going to happen, but it is time for Bibi to go. He has repeatedly failed the people of Israel; has lost the support of Israelis themselves; his right-wing government has blown the response to October 7th; and he is in the process of losing the support of the voters of the governing party of the US, the Democratic Party. Here is some remarkable new data from a CBS poll, which shows far more support among Democrats for military aide for the Jewish President of Ukraine than the Jewish President of Israel:
Bibi has been an historic disaster for the people of Israel and the broader Middle East, and needs to go, as soon as possible.
Keep working hard all. Tomorrow is a big day - Simon