Trump Winning in Battleground States

News: Campaign 2020US News
by David Nussman  •  •  May 15, 2020   

Positive sign for re-election

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DETROIT ( - Data shows Trump is popular in swing states — an important part of getting re-elected this November.

A new CNN poll released Wednesday found that 52% of voters in battleground states favor President Donald Trump, while 45% favor Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The poll also pinned Trump's approval rating at 45% — the highest any CNN poll has had Trump's approval since the early months of his presidency back in 2017.

CNN polling has repeatedly shown lower ratings for President Trump compared to other pollsters, who have reported his approval rating as high as between 49–51%. Similarly, recent polling by The Hill and HarrisX pegged Trump's job approval at 51%.

CNN's poll defined battleground states as states where the vote for the presidency in 2016 was decided by a margin of eight points or less: On this list are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

On conservative commentary site National Review on Wednesday, critic-at-large Kyle Smith accused CNN of downplaying its own polling data.

He claimed, "Polls are expensive. News organizations tend to hype them breathlessly to generate headlines in rival media outlets. Wednesday was obviously a slow news day, and politics is one of CNN's core topics. Yet CNN seemed oddly unenthused about its own poll."

Kyle Smith

Smith went on to say:

True, there are lots of noisy data in the piece, most of which cut against Trump. But on the other hand, the single most surprising and hence most newsworthy detail of the poll was that Trump holds a seven-point lead over Biden in the battleground states. The CNN story doesn't even tell us what that figure is — seven points seems like a pretty big number — and downplays its own finding by noting, "Given the small sample size in that subset of voters, it is difficult to determine with certainty whether the movement is significant or a fluke of random sampling."

Some of these battleground states have a much higher percentage of Catholics than the United States as a whole, where Catholics make up about 20% of the population.

In Pennsylvania, for example, Catholics are 24% of the population, according to data from the Pew Research Center — though other sources peg the percentage even higher. The Catholic population in Wisconsin, meanwhile, is at about 25%.

The highest Catholic populations in America, however, rest in solidly Democrat states in the northeast.

Forty-two percent of the Rhode Island population is self-identified Catholics. In New York, that number is 31%. In New Hampshire, it's 36%. In New Jersey, Catholics are 34% of the population.

Over the years, some commentators have spoken of a "Catholic swing vote."

CNN seemed oddly unenthused about its own poll.

Though the majority of Catholics consistently vote for one party or the other, Catholics who identify politically as "moderates" represent a significant swing vote.

In the 2004 presidential election, 52% of white, politically moderate Catholics voted for Republican George W. Bush, and 47% voted for Democrat John Kerry. Then, in 2008, 41% voted for Republican John McCain and 58% of the same demographic voted for Democrat Barack Obama — a swing of 22 points in just four years.

Furthermore, U.S. Catholics turn out to the voting booths on election day in slightly larger percentages than the general population. In the 2018 midterms, 26% of those who voted were Catholics, according to Pew Research.

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