It's the professor vs. the polls – who's right?

Friday, July 10, 2020
 | 
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)

Joe Biden & Donald TrumpA political scientist who successfully predicted Donald Trump's victory in 2016 is predicting that his re-election – despite bleak poll numbers – is practically guaranteed.

In almost every poll tallied by RealClearPolitics since March 2019, Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup. A great number of those polls show the former vice president up by double digits. In only four polls was Trump on top – by a mere four points at best.

In 2016, most polls indicated Trump had little chance of defeating Hillary Clinton – but eight months before that historic election, a political science professor at Stoney Brook University predicted Trump would defeat Clinton. And despite current polls that show the president trailing Biden, Professor Helmut Norpoth again is predicting Trump will be re-elected in the fall.

During a recent appearance on the Fox News Channel, Norpoth said the "Primary Model" gives Trump a 91% chance of victory in November – and an electoral victory even greater than he gained four years ago.

"The key to the November election is the primaries – and the early primaries are already giving us a lot of information," he explained. "And based on that, Donald Trump won them very easily in his party."

He continued: "Joe Biden, the likely nominee for the Democrats, had a great deal of trouble [in the early primaries], pulled it together – but on balance, it's that stronger performance in primaries that gives Donald Trump the edge in November."

But there's a major difference this time around: the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions. Norpoth doesn't think the pandemic will affect his prediction (See his explanation).

"What I see at the moment is that where I would expect the pandemic to have an effect would be on the approval rating of the president – and I don't see any dent in Trump's approval rating," said the professor. "In fact, in the early going he got a little uptick." (See related numbers from Gallup.com)

"Unless [Trump's] approval rating collapses, I don't think that this would have much bearing on my forecast," he concluded.

In fact, he contends the battle against the coronavirus casts Trump as a "wartime president," a factor he argues could help make Trump a two-term president.

According to Norpoth, the Primary Model has been right in 25 of 27 elections since 1912 when primaries were introduced.

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