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Why I'm Optimistic We Will Win This November - My Latest 2024 Election Take (5/1/24)

Do More, Worry Less/Welcome New Subscribers!

Dear Friends,

Sending along the recording of the talk I gave last night to Hopium paid subscribers. You can find it above. I opened up with a 20 minute overview of the national political landscape and then answered questions for another 40 minutes or so. It was a good group and I think you will find the things we discussed useful in your work.

As I reviewed last night, here’s my basic take on the 2024 election right now:

Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. We have a very strong case for re-election.

The Democratic Party is strong, unified, raising tons of money and winning elections all across the country.

And what do they have? They have Trump, the ugliest political thing any of us has ever seen, leading a party far more a raging dumpster fire than a well- oiled political machine.

One of the things I discussed was my take on recent polling. Here’s what I am seeing now…..(all polls can be found on 538)

In 538’s national Presidential polling average Biden has gained 1.7 pts against Trump in recent weeks, and the general election head to head is essentially tied. We’ve also seen a 3.5 pt gain for Democrats in recent months in 538’s Congressional Generic (which party will you support for Congress), and Dems now have a slight lead though it too is essentially tied. A majority of the national polls this week have the Biden tied or ahead, with 3 - Marist, Ipsos and FAU showing small Biden leads. It’s a close, competitive election with Dems gaining some ground in recent weeks.

In the battle for control of Congress, our Senate candidates all show modest but consistent leads, and Navigator Research has found our House candidates in better shape than Rs in the battleground. Lots of work ahead but this early data is encouraging.

In the Presidential battlegrounds, both polls this week - CBS and Emerson - had all the states they polled inside margin of error. The CBS poll was a little more favorable to Biden than Emerson but again what both found was the battleground states up for grabs.

I’m also coming to believe that these “bad candidate” problems Republicans had in 2022 are occurring again this year, and is going to become material in many of the battleground states this year, particularly in Arizona, North Carolina and possibly Wisconsin too. Kari Lake and the 1864 fiasco are going to be huge drag on the GOP in Arizona. Bat shit crazy Mark Robinson is going to be a big drag on the Rs in North Carolina based on recent polling, and a very not ready for prime time Eric Hovde is already struggling in Wisconsin. The strength of our candidates in the battleground right now - and their weakness - is an increasingly important part of how 2024 is unfolding.

Part of the reason Hopium has been focusing so much on Arizona and North Carolina for our political work is that given how extreme and wild the top of the ticket is in both states I think more is possible in both states this year. And let’s be very clear - if Biden wins AZ and NC we are going to win the election this November.

On Tuesday night we had another meaningful Dem overperformance in an election with real voters voting, something we’ve been over and over again since Dobbs two years ago. In a special election for the US House in NY-26, our candidate Timothy Kennedy received 68% of the vote. Congressman Brian Higgins received 64% of the vote there in 2022, and Biden 62% in 2020. This is a similar level of overperformance over the 2020 result we saw in the run up to the 2022 election, one which turned out far better for us than most expected.

As you often hear me say we’ve had a repeating electoral dynamic since Dobbs - Dems overperform, Republicans struggle. My explanation for this dynamic is that Dobbs broke the GOP, and for many non-MAGA Rs the party had at that moment just become too extreme, too dangerous. Since Dobbs Republican candidates have had performance problems because a chunk of their coalition just isn’t enthusiastic about following MAGA candidates and the escalating extremism of the GOP. And where this reticence manifests is when Republicans vote and have to make an actual decision on whether to support MAGA. While they may want to vote R in a poll, when voters have to pull the trigger and actually vote Republicans repeatedly perform worse than expected.

We’ve seen this dynamic - Republicans repeatedly struggling - show up in 2024 now too. We saw it in the Tom Keen January special election in Orlando; in the Suozzi win in February; in Alabama a few weeks ago; in NY-26 Tuesday; and most importantly we’ve seen it again and again in Trump’s Presidential primary performances, where he has repeatedly underperformed public polling and Haley repeatedly performed far better than anyone expected, even after she dropped out of the race. Remember in 2024 Trump has been repeatedly *underperforming* public polling.

I also think we’ve seen this dynamic in the recent Marist polling that breaks out likely voters from registered voters, something few polls are doing right now. In this week’s Marist poll Biden leads 50-48 (+2) with registered voters, but 52-47 (+5) with “definite” or likely voters. My explanation for this is as people move from being an adult to registered voter to likely voter to actual voter and are faced with pulling that lever for MAGA Trump and Republicans lose ground. As voters get get closer to voting, and go through the process of having to consider the options in front of them, a meaningful number just can’t go for MAGA and either don’t vote or choose another option (Haley, the Dem). This 2024 MAGA ugliness and extremism is too much for too many, and the GOP coalition doesn’t stay together, Republican candidates struggle, underperform and lose, again and again.

Will this happen again this November? Will Americans, as they check into the election, and see Joe Biden good President, Donald Trump the ugliest political thing we’ve ever seen, become more Dem and propel us to victory? I continue to believe this is the most likely scenario this year. And this is why our work in helping voters understand the choice in front of them, and in building our big, muscular campaigns that will also help voters understand this stark and consequential choice is so vital. It’s why every day we need to do more, worry less. For doing more is what is going to make sure we win this November.

I also want to share a chart from a new, large sample, high quality Pew poll of adults (making it a bit more R than likely voters) taken in early April but released this week.

There is a lot here to look at but a few key points:

  • Biden is +21 with 18-29 year olds, close to his +24 performance in 2020. This is where the Harvard-IOP youth poll also found Biden. So two very high quality large sample polls of young people have the youth voting hovering around 2020 and no big erosion.

  • The Hispanic result, +8 Biden, is far below his +33 in 2020. This data is consistent with other polling showing 2024 weakness for Biden with Hispanics, and suggests the campaign really has to step its Hispanic efforts throughout the battleground. Biden’s performance with African-Americans is also off from 2020, but not as much as Hispanics here. Yes - work to do to bring some of our wandering coalition home.

  • Based on what I wrote above, and what we’ve seen in actual voting this year, it is very unlikely Trump holds more Republicans than Biden does Democrats. There is an area I think of enormous opportunity for us in the coming months - we go bring our coalition back together and keep theirs splintered and unhappy with the MAGA takeover of their party.

Honestly, when I look at that chart, what I see is opportunity to make gains and go out win this thing in the coming months.

I talk about the importance of the rebellion Trump is facing inside the GOP and the struggle MAGA has had in bringing the rest of the GOP along in this clip from my Monday discussion with Lawrence O’Donnell:

Finally, at the end of my talk last night I share my current thinking about the protests, something I wrote about here and here this week. It begins around minute 49. The bottom line - I think the protesters are blowing it right now. While we should always support peaceful protests, these protests have not been as peaceful as many profess, and they should not and cannot interfere with the millions of students taking their finals and graduating in the coming weeks.

Here’s Biden on the protests from morning:

Let’s Do More, Worry Less - In the next few days I will be announcing the next phase of political work together - an endorsement of top open seat and challenger candidates who will take back the House for us this November. In the mean time, we continue to support and raise money for 3 important projects:

If you are feeling anxious today make a contribution to one of these vital 2024 projects, or sign up to do some volunteer work for them wherever you are. So grateful for how much we’ve already done, and I am also so excited to see members of our community comparing notes on the work they are doing in paid subscriber chat each day… at Hopium we try every day to do more and worry less. Remember, hopium is hope with a plan. We don’t just hope we will win elections and defeat MAGA, we do the work to make it so.

Keep working hard all. I am very optimistic about winning this November, and really really proud to be in this fight with all of you - Simon

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Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
Hopium Chronicles With Simon Rosenberg Podcast
Expert commentary from a 30 year veteran of US politics. Here we'll be working on strategies to defeat MAGA, tell our story more effectively and ensure freedom and democracy prevail. Expect sharp analysis, live events and all sorts of Hopium!