The Times-Siena Poll on the 2016 Presidential Race: Why Mr. Biden vs. Mr. Trump… and What Do You Think?
The former president’s showing in these head-to-head polls appears to stem in equal measure from Mr. Biden’s vulnerabilities, Mr. Trump’s strength and the sour mood of the electorate and its pessimism about the economy. The surveys underscore the fact that, in close elections such as the past two presidential races and as 2024 is expected to be, even marginal changes in voting patterns can be enough to swing a state toward a candidate.
There is no reason to think that next November’s final election tally will match those from the surveys. But if they did, it could represent an epochal shift in American politics, one with the potential to reverberate for decades as young and nonwhite voters make up a growing share of the electorate. There would be a lot of blurred patterns in American politics. Generations would become divided between race and generation. It would be the culmination of a decade-long realignment of the electorate, which was spurred on by Mr. Trump’s conservative populism and dashed Democratic hopes to win over a new generation of young and white voters.
Voters trust Mr. Trump more than Mr. Biden to manage the economy by a margin of 22 percentage points. On the economy, Mr. Trump is more trusted across every age group, among white and Hispanic voters and across the educational spectrum. In most of these states, the share of voters who say they are voting based on the economy has increased in the last year.
Gail Collins: Bret, I know you’re busy writing about your reporting trip to Israel, and I am looking forward to reading all your thoughts. Can we tell you about the Times- Siena poll on the presidential race that came out on Sunday? Donald Trump is leading in a majority of the states.
Bret: For all we know, Biden may be physically fitter than Alex Honnold and mentally sharper than Garry Kasparov, even if he’s hiding it well. But this poll is pretty much voters yelling, “We don’t think so.” Ignore it at your peril.
Gail: Well done. Well, you and I both hoped he wouldn’t run for re-election. But he did, and he is — and as I’ve said nine million times, he’s only three years older than Donald Trump and appears to be in much better physical condition.
Biden should not be jailed as an alcoholic, as the indictment of the US Justice Department is an opportunism
Can you tell a good word for DeanPhillips, who is challenging Biden? Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, would be more confident as a president of the US, if the Biden team had lost Kamala Harris.
Bret: Harris could well be the best vice president ever, though she’s also hiding it well. But the point here is that voters are underwhelmed, and her presence on the ticket compounds Biden’s already abysmal numbers.
Gail: I’m tormented by this whole national vision of Biden as an aging dolt while Trump plays the energetic orator. It was noted recently by our colleagues Michael and Michael Gold that Trump has had a string of un forced gaffes and garble in his speeches.
Trump has been the bomba of idiocy. But too many people seem more impressed by his rhetorical force than appalled by his moral and ideological destructiveness.
Bret: That’s a great question. As a matter of law, I think Trump belongs in jail. The political problem is that the indictments can help him in his appeal. He wants to cast himself as the Josey Wales of American politics. The Justice Department is corrupt and broken, so even if it does something to hurt him, it is proof that he is a dishonest person. A lot of people agree with him.
Bret: Perfectly said. The good news is that the negatives of Donald Trump are very high. They’re just not as high as Biden’s. Which means Democrats could easily hold the White House with another candidate. You seem hesitant to push the idea.
Gail: Yeah, since Biden is very, very definitely running I don’t see any point in whining about the fact that I wish he wasn’t. He’d still be 10 times a better president than Trump.
Biden has a really good record. The economy has picked up. He was able to get a huge program passed for infrastructure projects. He’s always got the fight against global warming on his agenda. He stands up firmly for social issues most Americans support, like abortion rights.
There’s more reason to rest on his laurels and pass the baton to a younger generation. I think a bunch of Democrats would trounce Trump in a general election by showing up to the debate with a pulse and a brain. Let me begin with four people.
As for Tuberville, who is holding some 370 senior military promotions hostage because he objects to Pentagon policies on abortion, I suggest he should have a look at what just happened in Israel. The country just paid a dreadful price in lives in part because far-right politicians ignored the degradation of the country’s military readiness while they pursued their ideological fixations. I hope defense hawks like Lindsey Graham join forces with the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to change Senate rules and move the nominations to a vote.
Readers won’t be surprised to know that I disagree with Tlaib’s views. She is an embarrassment to her party and the House. But that’s exactly the reason I oppose efforts to censure her. The differences between America and Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza are that they stand for free speech even though they suppress it. Not muzzled by her colleagues, the right censure for Tlaib would be to be voted out of office.
What do you thankful for? Gail: I just can’t tell you how much I’m thankful for (and why I don’t) think about the unions
Gail: But let’s get back to that poll for a minute. Only six percent of the respondents were identified as union members by me. I think the unions have done great things for the working class and middle class in this country and I’m very much saddened by their dwindling influence.
Gail: Bret, we’ve entered the November holiday season — really did enjoy the trick-or-treaters last week and was pleased to notice that the popular costumes in our neighborhood seemed to go more toward skeletons and ghosts than celebrities and pop culture heroes. On to Thanksgiving and after, I am going to want you to come up with a list of things you are thankful for.
Gail: This is the Republican debate week with Donald Trump not in it, and several people nobody has heard of. I guess your fave Nikki Haley is near the head of the pack, such as it is. Think she still has a whisper of a chance?
Not sure. But you’ve somehow reminded me of a lovely poem by Adrienne Rich, which seems to capture both Haley’s candidacy and my daily struggles with coherent prose.