Poll: Amash’s Inclusion in Presidential Race Costs Biden 3x More Votes Than Trump
Near the end of last month, Republican turned Independent Congressman Justin Amash announced that he would be forming an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination to face off against President Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November.
We don’t know if he’ll actually end up running, but we do know for sure that if he does, he has roughly the same chance of becoming President as you do.
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) May 2, 2020
Regardless, his inclusion would have an impact on the race in that he would (very slightly) split the vote. Unless Amash manages to bring out new voters who wouldn’t have otherwise shown up without him running, a vote for him can only come at the expense of Trump of Biden.
According to the Monmouth Poll (which has consistently produced lower approval ratings for Trump than other polls), Biden’s lead against Trump falls from 50-41 to 47-40 with the inclusion of Amash, with Amash garnering 5% of the vote. That indicates that Amash’s inclusion would take three percentage points off of Biden’s share of the popular vote, but only one percentage point away from Trump.
Or in other words, Amash’s inclusion would cost Trump one supporter for every three it costs Biden.
Of course, this is in the context of a single Monmouth Poll, and other recent polls are all showing Trump’s approving trending upward. President Trump is tied for his all-time-high approval rating at Gallup, and Rasmussen Reports has Trump’s approval higher than Obama’s at the same point in their presidencies.
A handful of other polls that just weeks ago showed Biden leading Trump now have the two polling within the margin of error, too. A three point swing in Trump’s favor is massive in that context.
One factor the polls can’t account for is voter enthusiasm. Trump currently leads Biden by double digits in voter enthusiasm. While 64% of those who are voting for Trump claim to be “extremely excited” to vote for him, only 28% say the same for Biden. I’m actually surprised enthusiasm among those planning to vote for Trump isn’t higher given his near complete support among Republican voters, but this could reflect Independents voting for Trump.
As I noted elsewhere, the leader in enthusiasm has won every election since at least 2004.
• 2016 – Hillary Clinton: 13-point deficit against Donald Trump.
• 2012 – Mitt Romney: 25-point deficit against President Obama.
• 2008 – John McCain: 33-point deficit against Barack Obama.
• 2004 – John Kerry: 16-point deficit against President George W. Bush.
And on top of that all, Biden isn’t even going to convert over all Democrats to vote for him. Nearly one in four Bernie Sanders supporters don’t plan on voting for Biden. While that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be jumping ship for Trump, 12% of them did against Hillary Clinton in 2012.