Battleground Polling Shows Ticket- Splitting Pattern


This morning, we have a new set of polls for you in the battleground states, including New York Times/Siena College polls of Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and the inaugural Times/Philadelphia Inquirer/Siena poll in Pennsylvania.

The results in the presidential race would have been surprising a year ago, but it’s hard to call them surprising anymore. Donald J. Trump leads in five of the six states among likely voters, with Mr. Biden squeaking out a lead among likely voters in Michigan. Mr. Trump’s strength is largely thanks to gains among young, Black and Hispanic voters.

What’s more surprising is the U.S. Senate results. This is the first time we’ve asked about Senate races this year, and the Democratic candidates led in all four of the states we tested: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada.

Not only do Democrats lead, but they also seem to do so in an entirely customary way, with ordinary levels of support from young and nonwhite voters, even as Mr. Biden struggles at the top of the ticket.

Nevada was ground zero for this striking ticket splitting. Mr. Trump led the poll by a staggering 12 points among registered voters, thanks to an eye-popping nine-point lead among Hispanic voters and a 13-point lead among those 18 to 29.

But in the Senate race, everything looks “normal.” The Democratic senator Jacky Rosen led her likeliest Republican challenger by two points among registered voters, including a 46-27 lead among those 18 to 29 and a 46-28 lead among Hispanics.

Remarkably, 28 percent of Mr. Trump’s Hispanic supporters and 26 percent of his young supporters back Ms. Rosen.

This level of crossover voting has been extremely rare in the last few years, but it was pretty common before 2020. In fact, these results remind me a lot of the 2016 presidential election, when Mr. Trump surged in white working-class areas, Hillary Clinton surged in college-educated areas, and yet the Senate and House results by county still mostly followed the pre-2016 pattern.

With polls showing Mr. Trump making yet another demographic breakthrough, perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising that ticket splitting is back as well.

You can read our full story on the presidential race here, and our story on the Senate here.

A few outtakes.

There’s been understandable debate over whether Mr. Biden could really be doing so poorly among young, Black and Hispanic voters. After all, we’ve never seen anything like it before, and polls are hardly perfect.

But at least to me, the relatively “normal” down-ballot results strengthen the case that Mr. Trump’s breakthrough among young and nonwhite voters is probably real — which is to say, not an artifact of some kind of systemic polling error.

It’s consistent with other indicators (like party registration, or recalled 2020 vote preference) suggesting that the polls are reaching the people who usually vote for Democrats — they just aren’t backing Mr. Biden.

And historically, huge polling errors tend to be systematic. Back in 2016, for instance, the polls missed Ron Johnson’s victory in the Wisconsin Senate race, not just Mr. Trump’s win for president in the state. Similarly, the 2020 polls overstated the prospects of Democratic candidates like Sara Gideon, Gary Peters and Steve Bullock by every bit as much as they overstated those of Mr. Biden.

That said, there may be some good news for Mr. Biden here: These voters haven’t yet abandoned Democrats in full, and they might still be available to return to his side.

One of the most peculiar findings in the poll is the huge split between registered and likely voters in Michigan.

Overall, Mr. Trump led by seven points among registered voters — the broader group of people who are registered to vote in the state.

But Mr. Biden had a one-point lead among likely voters, the smaller group that represents the likely electorate of actual voters this November.

I find that gap to be more than a little hard to believe. It requires unlikely voters in Michigan to back Mr. Trump by about 30 points, even as Mr. Biden narrowly leads among those who actually show up and vote.

But it’s worth noting that the last Times/Siena poll of Michigan also had an unusually large gap between registered and likely voters, with Mr. Trump leading by five points among registered voters while Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were tied among likely voters.

In this poll, Michigan voters who said they were only “somewhat” likely (or less likely than that) to vote backed Mr. Trump by 26 points, 54 percent to 28 percent.

Those without a record of voting in the 2020 election backed Mr. Trump by 34 points, 62 percent to 28 percent.

When we did our last Times/Siena poll of the battleground states, we found signs of huge defections from Mr. Biden among a small sample of voters who were either Muslim or Arab.

We found it again.

Overall, Mr. Trump led, 57-25, among Middle East, North African or Muslim voters in the poll. Those who say they voted in the 2020 election reported backing Mr. Biden by a similar but opposite margin, 56-35.

When we asked Arab or Muslim voters who didn’t back Mr. Biden about their most important issue in the race, around 70 percent cited foreign policy or the war in Gaza.



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