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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

State of the Race Update Provides Glimpses of Hope for Biden

Some nuggets from “The states to watch on the 2024 electoral map” by Domenico Montanaro at npr.org:

“Trump holds slight advantages in most of the swing states right now, according to averages of the polls. Strictly going by the polls, Trump would have a 283-255 lead (if you give Biden Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are currently statistical ties)….But the toss up states are expected to be close, within just a few points, in either candidate’s direction. Biden currently has a massive war chest and ad-spending advantage. In addition to personnel, ads are the largest expenditure of a presidential campaign.”

“In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden has caught up, pulled even or taken a lead in some recent surveys. And Pennsylvania happens to be where Biden and allies are spending the second-most on ads right now — almost $4 million in the past month and a half since Super Tuesday, the unofficial start to the general election….That’s only slightly behind what they’re spending in Michigan. Biden is trying to make up ground there with younger voters and Black voters, groups he’s lagging with. Trump and groups supporting him have spent only about $700,000 in Pennsylvania in that same time frame….Team Biden has also spent $2 million in Wisconsin. Trump and groups supporting him have spent nothing there so far….Most of the money in this election is going to be poured into seven states, and they fall into two familiar buckets — the so-called “Blue Wall” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and the Sun Belt states of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.”

“The Blue Wall states are home to significant shares of white, working-class voters, but Biden has retained strong support with unions. Democrats are also putting in significant efforts, especially in Wisconsin, to reach Black voters and be on college campuses. All three states have significant Black populations and multiple colleges and universities.”

“While North Carolina was also close in 2020 — within 2 points — given its history of voting Republican, it begins the cycle in the Lean Republican category. Democrats feel the gubernatorial race in the state could help them, as Republicans nominated a highly controversial candidate, who could turn off swing voters….The increasing population of white, college-educated voters in the state’s Research Triangle continues to make the state competitive. But Republicans have won it in all but one presidential election since 1976.”

“The industrial Midwest has moved more toward Republicans because of the shift toward the GOP among white voters without college degrees. That’s why states like Ohio and Iowa, which were competitive for decades until the Trump era, are no longer Democratic targets….It’s the key group Trump is targeting. But they are declining as a share of the population and of the electorate. That’s a big reason Trump lost despite whites without degrees voting at a higher rate in 2020 (64%) compared to 2016 (55%), according to data from Michael McDonald, the preeminent turnout expert in the country and professor at the University of Florida….It’s also because of the continued shift with college-educated white voters toward Democrats. In 2020, Trump won college-educated white men by 3 points in 2020, according to exit polls, but the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showed Biden winning the group by more than 20 points.”

“In addition to the Latino population increase in the Southwest, McDonald pointed to the uptick in Asian Americans, and a remigration of Black voters to Georgia as to why those states continue to trend toward Democrats.”

“This year’s election is also going to be different from 2020 in a very big way. Because of the pandemic, mail-in voting was used widely and that contributed heavily to increased turnout. In 2020, 66% of registered voters cast ballots, the highest since 1900. That’s unlikely to be the case again, McDonald noted….”I would be very surprised if we have a turnout rate like we saw in 2020,” McDonald said. “And the people who would most likely then not participate … are going to be these lower-education voters. And so it’s going to pose a real challenge to the Trump campaign, to energize these folks yet again to vote in 2020.”

Montanaro also provides some revealing graphics. Read the entire article to get a clearer sense of his take on the ‘state of the race.’

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