And there it is…

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Looking at the polls in April, and trying to glean something out of them for an election that isn’t until November, is always foolhardy. It’s like watching the first inning of a baseball game and saying “if this were the ninth inning…” Suffice it to say that it doesn’t translate.

That said, in early 2024, there were some polls that had Donald Trump ahead of President Biden – and so the (entire) media (on both sides) tried to milk those scary polls for as much ratings as they could get out of them. It didn’t matter that the polling averages showed Biden and Trump roughly tied, with Trump ahead by a mere rounding error. The media ignored the polls that had Biden ahead, and hyped the polls that had Trump ahead.

Then something started happening a month or two ago. As consumer confidence indexes showed that more Americans believed the Biden economy was a strong one, and as the media finally began belatedly talking about Trump’s worsening senility, there were more new polls showing Biden ahead than showing Trump ahead. Funny enough, the media suddenly stopped talking about polls almost entirely at that point. But the polls continue to exist even when the media is pretending they don’t exist, and it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Biden pulled into the lead in the polling averages.

Sure enough, this week Newswire ran this headline: “BIDEN TAKES LEAD OVER TRUMP IN NATIONAL POLLING AVERAGES.” And there it is. Keep in mind that the various polling analysis sites do their averages in different ways, some of them going back further on the calendar than others, some of them doing a weighted average, and so on. So Biden isn’t ahead in every polling average yet (RCP still has Trump ahead by a shrinking 0.2 points).

But the point is that Biden is indeed now “ahead” in at least one major average of national polls, and is about to pull ahead in another major average of national polls. Head to head polling still doesn’t give us a straight story this early on. But if the media thought that such polls were so newsworthy back when Trump was nominally ahead, then it’s no less newsworthy now that Biden is ahead.

It’s also worth noting that the polls being released right now were conducted largely or entirely before Trump’s criminal trial began. Most Americans don’t pay attention to politics on an every day basis, and may not have even been aware that Trump really was going on trial until it actually happened a few days ago. So if Biden is going to get a bump from Trump being on criminal trial, we’ll begin seeing it the numbers that get released next week. Then we’ll wait to see if Biden gets another bump when Trump is convicted.

In any case, keep in mind that even if Biden is now “ahead” in the polling averages, it doesn’t mean we can just put our feet up and expect him to automatically win. Elections are won by the side whose activists put in the most work on volunteering, phone banking, targeted small dollar donations, voter registration drives, and so on. So if we want to make sure Biden really does win, we’ll start putting in that work now.

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