August 23, 2020

I have been conducting polls for over 30 years and I have never seen such odd survey results as I have seen in this presidential election. To this point, the results of several recent polls conducted by the Harris Research Associates for NBC/Wall Street Journal Surveys confirm this observation.

The average sample size for each of the 11 polls, was over 500 interviews conducted live from both land lines and cell phones. These are quality surveys.

In all these surveys, a question was asked how positive or negative (very, somewhat, and neutral) feelings they had for Donald Trump. In eight of these surveys, they also asked the same question for Joe Biden as well. Below are the “Very Positive” responses for each candidate.

Trump Very Positive % Biden Very Positive %

30 18
29 15
29 17
31 16
29 18
33 14
29 NA
27 12
30 NA
28 11
28 NA
Average 29.3 Average 15.1
Trump and Biden Very Positive Ratings

Trump scores an average 14% more “very positive” reviews than Biden, which would normally suggest he is the front runner. But he is not, as the table below showing the trial ballot results from the same surveys makes clear.

Trump and Biden Percent of Two Party Vote.

Not only is Trump not winning the popular vote, but he is trailing Biden by almost 9%. This relationship, in my experience, is highly unusual. So what’s happening? Well the problem for Trump is that he is not only leading with the very positive views, he is also winning the “very negative” ratings as well.

AVERAGE % 44.4AVERAGE % 28.2

When you subtract Trump’s very negative scores from his very positive ones, he comes up with net positive of only 2.8%. Biden on the other hand, has net positive of 22%, a difference of 19 points in Biden’s favor.

The expression you either love him or hate him could be Donald Trump’s campaign motto.

Trump has cultivated this love / hate relationship with voters by his actions and statements that often divide the public along partisan lines or what many call polarization. And it shows. Yes, his base is solidly with him, but the final question is will it be enough on election day. Be safe…

By Jim Kane

Jim Kane is a pollster and media advisor, and was for fifteen years an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Kane is founder of the polling firm USAPoll and served as the Director of the Florida Voter Poll. His political clients have included both Republican and Democratic candidates, including the Republican Party of Florida, and both the Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel newspapers. At the University of Florida, Professor Kane taught graduate level courses in political science on Survey Research, Lobbying and Special Interest Groups in America, Political Campaigning, and Political Behavior. In addition to his professional and academic career, Jim Kane has been actively involved in local and state policy decisions. He was elected to the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation Board (1978-1982) and the Port Everglades Authority (1988-1994). Kane also served as an appointed member of the Broward County Planning Council (1995-2003), Broward County Management Review Committee (Chair, 1990-1991), Broward County Consumer Protection Board (1976-1982), and the Broward County School Board Consultants Review Committee (1986-1990).

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