The first polls taken after the Democratic National Convention are in, and it mostly seems like “mission accomplished” for the Democrats.
While it does not look like former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump had widened, Biden may have made his advantage more durable by raising his own popularity.
A new CBS News/YouGov poll puts Biden ahead by a 52% to 42% margin among likely voters. That’s identical to the lead Biden had from the pollster before the conventions began. An average of the limited data out of the conventions suggest that there has been a change of less than a point either way in the horse race.
We’ll obviously need to see if the lack of change in the horse race shifts as more data comes in, but it’s not surprising if this is where the data ultimately ends up.
View Trump and Biden head-to-head polling
As I wrote about before the conventions, all signs pointed to small convention bounces in the Biden-Trump matchup. Bounces have been getting smaller in recent years, and the unusual stability of this race, well known candidates and low undecideds made it unlikely that the scaled back conventions would produce a large bounce.
The good news for Biden comes in the form of favorability ratings. A new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that Biden’s net favorability rating (favorable – unfavorable) is up compared to before the conventions.
Biden’s net favorability rating climbed 8 points from -3 points last to +5 points among all adults. It’s up from -2 points to +3 points among registered voters. That’s in-line with the average post-convention poll indicating Biden’s net favorability is up by between 5 and 10 points.
Biden’s jump into positive net favorability ratings is a big development — if it holds.
His net favorability rating (favorable – unfavorable) averaged -1 point before the conventions began. That’s below the +6 point net favorability rating that winning candidates have averaged since 1980.
Biden’s now right around where he needs to be to match the winning candidate average in terms of popularity.
Indeed, Biden’s problem has not been his numbers against Trump. He’s over 50% support, and his lead has been sizable and sustained.
Biden’s biggest issue has been a lack of enthusiasm for his own candidacy. When voters are casting a vote between two candidates they don’t like, they’re probably less likely to turn out as well as probably more susceptible to last minute shifts in opinion (e.g. 2016). Remember, Trump only won in 2016 because he won the lion share of voters who liked neither candidate.
If the new polling is any indication, Biden may be locking down the voters who were for him. In that case, it’s going to be much more difficult for Trump to overcome his deficit given Biden’s already over 50%.
You see this well in the CBS News/YouGov poll by comparing last week’s data to this week’s.
Biden voters are now 9 points more likely (29% to 38%) to say they’re mainly voting for Biden because they like Biden, not because he’s the Democratic nominee or because they dislike Trump. Further, his voters are now 5 points more likely (82% to 87%) to say their backing of him is “very strong… decided.”
Whether any of this holds past the conventions is anyone’s guess. It could abate like a normal horserace convention bounce. Though unlike those bounces, Biden merely has to hold on to those who were already in his camp before the conventions.
We’ll see if Trump is able to steal some of those Biden voters this week at the Republican National Convention.