Photo illustration by John Lyman



Take the Polls Seriously.

In November, Americans will, for the first time since 1912, be choosing between two men who have already been president. Not since Theodore Roosevelt ran against William Howard Taft have voters had to make this choice.

What makes this presidential election shocking, in addition to the candidates, is that according to a New York Times/Siena College poll in February, despite holding intensely and similarly critical opinions of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Americans appear to have much more positive views of Trump’s policies than they do of Biden’s. This is shocking and appears to go against the grain and popular beliefs that Biden’s policies remain more attractive to voters.

Overall, 40 percent of voters said Trump’s policies had helped them personally, compared with just 18 percent who said the same about Biden’s policies. Instead, 43 percent of voters said Biden’s policies had hurt them, nearly double the amount of people who said the same about Trump’s policies.

And there is more surprising data.

According to a Monmouth University poll, just one-third of Americans feel they are benefiting from the current boom in the U.S. economy, a lower number than during the pre-pandemic boom years. The poll shows that just under half the public gives Biden credit for this upturn, but few say his policies are helping the middle class, especially compared to Trump.

Regarding the age of the candidates – Biden is 81 and Trump is 77 – respondents said they are more likely to express concerns about Biden’s stamina than say the same about Trump. A Monmouth University poll found that nearly half the electorate foresees the possibility that Biden may be replaced as the Democratic nominee before November, primarily for health reasons. At the same time, one-third think the Republicans could replace Trump, although in this case it would be due to his legal troubles rather than his physical or mental fitness.

“Younger voters have tended to lean more Democratic in recent elections. The fact that there is little difference in candidate preference among them now indicates that other factors are at play. One of these factors may be perceptions of the candidates’ ages, where Biden is seen in a more negative light than Trump,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

When it comes to the border and immigration, just under half (47%) of the public has heard a lot about recent negotiations on a bipartisan bill to deal with immigration and secure the U.S. border, according to Monmouth.

Nearly half (47%) of the American public feels this border bill is not tough enough when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration, while 28% say it is about right and 12% feel it is too tough. Three-quarters (77%) of Republicans and half (48%) of independents say the bill is not tough enough on illegal immigration, while half (51%) of Democrats say it is about right.

However, a recent Pew poll shows that “no single issue stands out after the economy.” Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) rate strengthening the economy as a top priority. That is considerably larger than the shares citing any other policy goal, including immigration, education, and unemployment.

According to the poll, after the economy, six in ten Americans view defending the country from future terror attacks (63%), dealing with immigration (57%), and reducing crime (58%) as the top political priorities for the upcoming year.

What these polls show is that our assumptions could often be false, and we must look at the data to understand trends and public opinion.

The polls also show that America is moving in a direction Democrats are not happy with and while Biden has the support of a wide swath of the American public, his policies are losing support.

It is important to look at several different polls to understand what is happening across America and to make course corrections as necessary. It is unfathomable to millions of Americans that Trump could once again become president. This scenario frightens many and for this reason these polls must be taken seriously.

The 1912 elections saw an upset with Woodrow Wilson coming in and winning instead of Roosevelt and Taft. Perhaps we will witness a younger Democrat with better polling numbers make an entrance this year, leaving Biden and Trump in the dust.