“It’s His Character, Stupid”

October 22, 2020
By Antonis Diamataris

It is almost always risky to rely on polls, for the main reason that they reflect the views of public opinion at a particular time, something that can later be overturned. This has (in)famously happened numerous times in history.

However, I will refer to one today – the New York Times/SIENA college poll – mainly because it captures public opinion on hot issues and names the candidate it believes is the most suited to deal with those issues.

First of all, let me note that President Trump is not ahead of his opponent on any of the crucial issues that concern public opinion the most, making a shift in his favor more difficult, given the short time remaining until the November 3 election.

Until recently, Trump's strong card was the economy. People considered him the most suitable to face the financial crisis.

Public opinion is now divided between the two candidates on that issue.

On another important issue, that of the Coronavirus, Biden is ahead of Trump by a significant margin – 12 percentage points. I would say this is to be expected given the tragic effects of the Coronavirus.

On the third important issue, that of restoring unity in the country, Biden leads by a huge margin of 20 points.

Overall, on a national basis, Biden is ahead of Trump – 50% versus 41% – and other candidates have the support of 3% of those polled.

What makes Trump's re-election even more difficult is that many Americans cannot stand his behavior. Fifty-six percent of women and 53 percent of college-educated whites say they have a very negative opinion of Trump. This is a percentage that is considered almost unprecedented for a president.

At the end of the day, it all has to do with character. "It’s his character, stupid," to paraphrase George Stephanopoulos’ famous catchphrase “It’s the economy, stupid.”



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