The Icosahedron #11 ft. Trevor Smith, Ph.D., on National Data/Methodology

By: Trevor Smith, Ph.D.

The meltdowns seen on Twitter over CNN’s August poll were pretty hilarious and the reassurances to trust the polling average from professionals even more so. But it is really strange to have such massive changes in results.

Biden leads this year, on CNN alone, are:

  • March: +10
  • April: +11
  • May: +5
  • June: +14
  • August: +4

So, naturally we’re curious. Besides the tired, old mistake of calling adults and screening down to registered voters, what in the world is going on here?

After looking at their crosstabs, the answer was pretty simple: CNN is having a horrible time controlling their Independents in the sample, likely due to screen down methods and buckshot sample framing.

At WPAi, we use the 2016 Presidential Vote to help control these types of inflections among Independents, but who knows what CNN uses… if anything at all.

What we do find very interesting is the 65+ portion of their samples as in every single poll since March but for June, Biden has led by double-digits. Let us reiterate this point again: voters aged 65+ are not a monolith and while they have been friendly to Republicans over the past decade, they have been hit very hard by the pandemic and the economy.

The Democrats are seeing this in their numbers and are using the blatant lie about Social Security checks going out through the mail (President Obama ended this practice) to enhance this whole USPS issue that is occurring. Be that as it may, again, in your campaigns you need to identify how to shore up and, in many cases, bring these voters back.

Enthusiasm (pre-Harris VP choice)

We wanted to update our enthusiasm measure to capture any pre-Harris enthusiasm that might exist. As we did a few weeks ago, we’re looking at the net enthusiasm both overall and two specific groups of voters using all Economist/YouGov polls since June .


President Trump Enthusiasm

  • Enthusiasm for President Trump overall has increased a bit since June, 1%.
  • Overall, people are slightly more upset since June (45 to 46%), but overall enthusiasm for his campaign has increased 2%
  • Both Trump and Biden voters’ enthusiasm for Trump has remained relatively the same: 0% change in net enthusiasm among Trump voters and <1% change in net enthusiasm among Biden voters.

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Biden Enthusiasm

  • Biden, on the other hand, has increased his net enthusiasm 23% among his current voters.
  • At this same time, Trump voters are starting to solidify against Biden with a net negative change of 11%.

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Moving closer to the election might be naturally producing these results, but we’ll be curious to see in the next couple of polls if the Harris VP nod has any effect on enthusiasm.

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