When he managed to win the 2016 election by eking out an Electoral College victory despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, many political pundits took a long look at the exit polls and declared that Donald Trump had created a very unique base of support that included white suburban women, whites without college degrees, and senior citizens.
Four years later, however, the same coalition that propelled Trump to one of the biggest upsets in presidential election history is fraying, and he’s underperforming by a large margin with several key groups, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
In the head-to-head horse race, Trump continues to trail Joe Biden by seven points nationally, which is concerning enough for the president’s reelection team. But a closer look inside the poll reveals that Trump’s famed base is quickly abandoning him. For example:
Blue Collar Workers Without College Degrees
In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton in this important group by eight points. Now, however, his support over Biden with this same demographic is down to three percent, a loss of five points, which could spell big trouble in states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Be sure and note that Trump is losing voters with college degrees by a whopping 24 points. Clinton only won that group by 9 points in 2016.
The Gender Gap
Women make up the majority of the electorate, and their support is crucial to any presidential candidate. And that’s why the numbers from the NBC poll are certain to be especially troubling for the Trump war room.
After losing to the first female presidential nominee in U.S. history by nine points among women four years ago, Trump is now behind by double-digits (21 points) to Biden. At the same time, his support among men is down four points. Those numbers point to not only a loss for the incumbent, but a possible landslide for Biden, NBC News notes:
“That’s a gender split that basically makes it impossible for Trump to win the popular vote. Women tend to make up more of the electorate than men.
“And a split like that would make an Electoral College win extremely unlikely for Trump. It would require swing states to have electorates or gender splits that look dramatically different from the overall national figures.”
White voters went for Trump by large enough numbers in key states — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania — that he was able to win those states by narrow margins and collect all of their electoral votes. He did that by winning those voters by a 21-point spread over Clinton.
Now, however, Trump leads among white voters by a mere six points, which suggests that many whites who decided to give him a shot in 2016 don’t think he deserves a second term.
How important is the white vote to a presidential candidate? Consider this fact from NBC:
“In 2008, when Barack Obama won the White House decisively, he won 43 percent of the white, non-Hispanic vote. And overall, he won the popular vote in 2008 by about 7 points, equal to Biden’s current lead in the poll.”
Polls, it should be said, are snapshots in time, and the election remains five months off. But at the moment, Donald Trump appears to be in a very deep hole statistically, and if Biden can do just marginally better than Clinton did in 2016, he will be the next president. That, however, depends on each of us who are disgusted with Trump making our voices heard loud and clear on November 3.