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Biden Said to be Leading Trump in Latest Poll.   But is He?

Biden Said to be Leading Trump in Latest Poll.   But is He?

According to the latest Monmouth Poll, President Biden leads former President Trump 47 to 40 in a one-on-one match up.  If there is a third-party candidate, Biden tops Trump 37 to 28 – with 30 percent going to some third person.

What is particularly interesting about this poll is it suggests that Biden would benefit from a third-party candidacy.  That is contrary to all the conventional wisdom of recent days.  Virtually every analyst, pundit and political strategist have agreed that a third-party candidate would hurt Biden and potentially throw the election to Trump.

Before we get into the weeds on this particular poll, we need to keep in mind that it is VERY early in the presidential election season.  A lot is going to happen between now and November of 2024.  It cannot even be stated with certainty that Biden and Trump will be the standard bearers for their respective parties.

Whether this poll has any significance with regard to the outcome of the 2024 presidential election is highly questionable.  Actually, it is not questionable.  This poll will be long forgotten by the time of the election – superseded by scores of other polls.

It does, however, create its own reality – and provides fodder for analysis and news reporting.  Like all those talking heads on the telly, I shall offer up my analysis – meaningless as it will be in the very near future.

The simple view – the one you hear from all those experts on the news programs — is that Biden would win the popular vote if it were today.  But of course, it is not today.  The assumption is that he would be there to win the election.  But that is not at all a given.

What I find noteworthy is that no candidate wins a majority of the theoretical national vote.  That means it does not really tell us who will return to the White House in 2025 — because the Monmouth Poll does not analyze the vote by state – by the all-important electoral vote.  George W. Bush and Trump both went to the White House despite losing the popular vote.  Without knowing how the vote would go in each state, we know nothing of the outcome.

The next question is why does the Monmouth Poll go contrary to conventional wisdom regarding the impact of a third-party candidate?  I think there is an easy answer to that.  Not naming a third -party candidate makes the poll almost worthless.  Different third-party candidates will draw different voters.  I still believe that most of the likely third-party candidates will hurt Biden.  The poll would be more relevant if they had run a series of options naming various potential third-party candidates.  That would give us some insight as to who hurts who more at this moment.

What jumps out at me in this poll is that 30 percent figure for the nameless third-party Candidate.  No third-party candidate has ever won that much of the vote.  That unknown candidate actually bests Trump and comes in slightly below Biden.  That is a three-person race.

But again, it is not the popular vote that counts.  It is the electoral vote.  With one-third of the vote, the third-party candidate could pick up a few votes in the Electoral College.  Certainly not a majority, but enough to prevent either Biden or Trump from reaching the 270 require votes to be elected President.  In the College, one cannot win with a plurality.

That means a constitutional crisis made more chaotic by the political climate of our times.  There would be efforts – seemly or unseemly/legal or illegal – to get electors to change their votes.  There would again be efforts to have state legislatures replace electors – which is legal if done properly.  But what if all the pressure, lobbying and chicanery does not result in a majority electoral vote for a specific candidate?

Then the matter goes to the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans.  While the GOP has a narrow majority in the House, the vote on President would be by one vote per state delegation.  California – the largest state in the Union – gets only one vote.  As does tiny Rhode Island.  

Republicans generally dominate in smaller states, but there are a lot more of them.  There is little doubt that the current House would select the Republican candidate even if Biden or that nameless third-party candidate were to have more popular votes or even more electoral votes.  It may not seem fair, but that is how the Founders set up the system in the Constitution.

If you think that the current political atmosphere is corrupted by acrimony, just imagine if Trump were to return to the White House not only losing the popular vote but running behind in the electoral vote.

It is not the most likely scenario, but not impossible if there is a credible third-party candidate pulling one-third of the popular vote.  On the other hand, it is comforting to know that no third-party candidate has ever gotten a single electoral vote.

Whew!  That was a whole lot of speculation based on a relatively meaningless poll.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

12 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    “Whew! That was a whole lot of speculation based on a relatively meaningless poll.”

    You called it brother. More guilty than Hunter announcing: “I do drugs.”

    Yup, you finally found the words upon which I can not comment.

    Mission accomplished.

    • Tom

      And yet you still managed to put four sentences together! How great thou art!!! You must be really feeling the love today!

      • Frank stetson

        Tom, three, larry was the fourth. Feelin a tad snarky? It’s goot, it’s goot.

        • Tom

          YA! Es ist gut!!! Ich bin ein bischen schnarky!! Ya! Weidersehn! Go Weiner! Go Hut!

  2. JoeyP

    The ONLY thing “Beijing Joe” Biden would be leading is FIRST in line for an ice cream cone at the “old folks’ home” . . . if he can remember where it is!

    • Tom

      JoeyP, your attack on aging and the elderly is reprehensible! Just remember they may be in the old folks home but they still vote! And many of them are in the old folks home (meaning alternative residential settings) are there because they have the wealth to pay the monthly fee and they and their peers over 60 years old currently control over two trillion dollars of wealth. Be nice to the elderly. Aging is not a disease, it is a fact of life, a process that you are subject to every day! Many of those people in the old folks home still have very sharp minds.

  3. Rusty Shamrock

    When the pollsters carefully select who they are polling plus word the choices to what results they seek their poll can easily get whatever results they want. Nothing new.

  4. Tom

    Joe is desperately hoping RFK Jr. and/or Manchin do not enter the race. Imagine if both of them entered on the same ticket! GOPers are desperately hoping Trump has too many legal issues next year. Trump is still sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. Smart money says Trump should not debate much but I do not think his narcissistic demons will allow him to relax on this. Trump hates not being the center of attention. Seems like the stars are aligning for the USA to get a good screwing either way! While the speculation may be meaningless, Larry points out other reasons that elections have consequences.

  5. Tom

    Could 2024 be the “year of the spoiler”?

    • Frank stetson

      Next indictment handed in with narrow focus on Trump and the election.

      Will it matter to the GOP.?

      Hey, it’s just locker room talk.

      Fox says legal mumbo jumbo nothing burger.

  6. LibsWorshipSatan

    Hard to believe there are that many people in the US stupid enough to support Pedo Joe and his Marxist puppet masters. Must be a result of “thuh publik ejumukashun sistum” and the dumbing down of America. I’m not a Trump fan, but I’ll take him over ANY leftist!

    • Tom

      I appreciate your point of view. As an Independent, I wonder the same about both parties and their ardent supporters. The best thing we may be able to do is vote for grid lock by voting one party for POTUS and the other party for the entire down-line senate, legislature, etc until we can get the toilet totally flushed of both of these turds and their cronies. As for you, you have made the decision to vote for the flaming narcissist criminal instead of the socialist mobster criminal. Good for you that you are not on the fence. As an Independent, I am waiting to see who actually are the nominees. God bless America!!!

  1. Frank I can’t understand what’s wrong with MAGA. You idiots on the left are satanic bastards out to destroy patriots.…

  2. Don’t tell me nout proof. I’m too Young to need proof. I don’t need no stinkin proof. We all know…