The head-to-head ballot between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will change over the next 103 days until the general election, as their campaigns progress and national events shift the political environment. While a lot can change between now and Nov. 3 – the COVID-19 pandemic, economy, international events, community riots, to name a few – looking at their supporters’ intensity today could reflect how reliable each candidate’s base will be.
In the latest Fox News poll, Biden leads Trump by eight points, 49%-41%. This is better for the president than last month’s poll, which had Biden leading by twelve points (50%-38%). The poll’s most interesting question, however, was how important it is to each candidate’s supporters that their candidate wins. Today Biden has a slight advantage. Among all voters, 69% say it is “extremely” important their candidate wins the election, compared to 18% who say “very,” 10% who say “somewhat,” and 2% who say “not at all” important. Among Biden supporters, 78% say it is “extremely,” 15% who say it is “very,” and 7% who say it is “somewhat” important Biden wins. Among Trump supporters, 71% say that it is “extremely” important, 20% say it is “very” important and 9% say it is “somewhat” important Trump win.
How does this compare to 2016? In Sept. 2016, both Clinton and Trump supporters were equally intense: 59% of Clinton supporters said it was “extremely” important she wins, compared to 58% of Trump supporters who said the same about him. If Trump and Biden supporters have equal levels of intensity after Labor Day, the incumbent should be in a good place. Between now and then, the Trump campaign must communicate to engage with supporters to solidify their base, all while persuading new voters to come into the fold.