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Forget the National Polls – It’s the Battleground State Polls that Count!

A Commentary By Brian Joondeph

Election season is well underway. President Joe Biden is mumbling and stumbling his way toward his party’s nomination for a second term, the final nail in the coffin of American greatness and exceptionalism.

Former President Trump is supposedly so unlikable that his opponents are trying to arrest and imprison him in the style of a banana republic dictatorship, which America is rapidly becoming.

Opinion polls are a snapshot of public sentiment and preferences. In the case of presidential election polls, polls reflect the views of a hopefully representative sample of the U.S. voting population which when extrapolated, mirror the views of the entire country.

But are national polls truly relevant? The president is not selected based on a national popular vote, despite efforts from the left to decide elections in this manner.

Otherwise, a handful of large Democrat controlled cities could control the election outcome through votes and voter fraud. What about the rest of the country?

The Founding Fathers, in one of their many acts of genius, devised the Electoral College. Each state is allocated some of the 538 electors corresponding to the state’s number of congressional (House and Senate) representatives.

The winner of the popular vote of each state is typically assigned all the electors in a winner-takes-all manner. In other words, the presidential election is a series of 50 state elections, not one big national election.

As such, even small states have enough electoral college votes to be relevant whereas in a national popular vote, smaller states would be drowned out by large metropolitan population centers.

Most states are reliably Democrat or Republican, and their electoral college votes are a foregone conclusion. But a handful of battleground states may tilt one way or the other, depending on the year. It’s these states where the election is often decided, a battle between the two parties, hence the battleground designation.

In 2000, George W Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore by a half of a percent. In 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2% to Hillary Clinton. The Electoral College trumped the popular vote in these outlier elections.

National polls are certainly favorable for Trump and his supporters. Rasmussen Reports May 3 survey results are an example, “Trump now +10 over Biden.”

CNN confirms. In their recent poll among registered voters, Trump’s support sits at 49% compared to Biden at 43%.

While good news for Republicans, at least those Republicans preferring to win rather than pouting over Trump’s name calling and brash personality, the election comes down to a half dozen or so battleground states. What do those state level polls say?

Let’s ask Real Clear Politics, which tracks and averages these polls:

-- Wisconsin: Trump 47.4%, Biden 47.3%

-- Arizona: Trump 47.8%, Biden 43.8%

-- Georgia: Trump 48.4%, Biden 43.6%

-- Michigan: Trump 47.1%, Biden 46.6%

-- Pennsylvania: Trump 47.8%, Biden 45.5%

-- North Carolina: Trump 47.5%, Biden 42.7%

-- Nevada: Trump 48.0%, Biden 42.6%

It’s these seven states that will likely determine who will be in the Oval Office a year from now. These seven states represent 93 electoral college votes, a third of the necessary 270 votes for victory. And Donald Trump leads in all of them.

The point is to not focus solely on the headline-grabbing national polls. Although they are useful, that’s not how presidential elections are decided.

The above polls illustrate the political landscape today, but much can and will change over the next five months before the election.

President Biden’s poll numbers are sinking in Titanic fashion, a damning referendum on his presidency.

Rasmussen Reports in their May 29 Presidential Tracking Poll found that only 44% of likely US voters approve of Biden’s job performance whereas 55% disapprove.

Only 32% of likely US voters believe the country is heading in the right direction compared to 64% who feel we are headed down the wrong track.

Lastly from Rasmussen Reports, “Nearly half of voters – including a majority of Democrats – think it’s OK for the Democratic Party to replace President Joe Biden with some other candidate.”

A change of batter would shake up the above poll numbers, whether the new player is Michelle Obama, Gavin Newsom, Jay Pritzker, or some other Democrat governor.

Biden’s fading fortunes are causing Democrat dyspepsia. In fact, “Dems in full-blown ‘freakout’ over Biden” according to Politico.

Regardless of candidate popularity, voting shenanigans may negate the preferences of American voters. A recent study found that “25% of non-citizens are illegally registered to vote.”

With 17 million illegal immigrants living in America, this 25% translates to over 4 million votes, or 2.5 % of the 155 million votes cast. 4 million votes in battleground states would alter the election considering many states had a 2020 winning margin in the tens of thousands of votes.

While the national polls provide a shot of adrenalin if one’s preferred candidate is leading, this is not how the next president will be chosen. Keep an eye on those battleground state poll numbers.

Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., is a physician and writer.

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