BOSTON – David Paleologos is Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center (SUPRC), where he has worked since 2002 conducting statewide polls and bellwether survey analyses in Massachusetts and elsewhere. He spoke exclusively to The National Herald about the upcoming presidential election.
SUPRC's cutting-edge survey research has gained both national and international attention for its high degree of accuracy and Paleologos’ presidential primary polls have predicted outcomes in many key battleground states. SUPRC results have been reported on by hundreds of major news organizations. The SUPRC bellwether model, authored by Paleologos is designed to predict outcomes, not margins of victory. Used both locally and nationally, the model has an 85% accuracy rating in predicting straight-up winners.
Paleologos told TNH that “it is a year like no other. There are some similarities to 2016 in that Joe Biden had a big lead two weeks ago and that the gap appears to be closing, but I don’t see that in our polling. We see Pennsylvania in the mid-high single digits where all the other polls have low single digits. At this point Biden seems to be really strong and stronger than Hilary Clinton in 2016.”
He also said that there are “a couple of differences that made Biden a better candidate to face Donald Trump: Number one he doesn’t have the high unfavorables that Hilary Clinton had. Some people disliked Trump and Clinton and they voted for Trump because they disliked Clinton more. This time around you have people who dislike Donald Trump but the same people who don’t dislike Jo Biden. They might not feel enthusiastic about him, but they don’t dislike him. So Joe Biden is more of an acceptable alternative than Hilary Clinton was. Another major difference is you have COVID -19 and President Trump gets horrible marks in the polling not only nationally but in the states. So this is clouding any issues like the economy and jobs that President Trump normally would have counted on this year and so that is overshadowing any of the accomplishments that President Trump is talking about. That is because COVID – 19 continues to be a virus that is spreading and the country is trying to manage and many people are saying that President Trump has done a fair or poor job on COVID-19. Finally, President Trump in 2016 was running as the outsider, Hillary Clinton was the institutional insider swap Democratic party politician. It is different now because President Trump is the incumbent and he has his record to defend, so it is hard to run as an outsider against Biden even though Biden has been in politics,” for a long time.
David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
(Photo by Suffolk University)
Asked about the tone of this campaign, for example, the other day Trump came down very hard on reporters, Paleologos said, “historically it is unusual but it is not unusual for Donald Trump who repeatedly criticized the media because he doesn’t feel he has been given a fair shake by the media.” Paleologos continued, “Trump’s electability among conservatives was based on the fact that he speaks his mind and so conservatives want him to lash out at the media. That is an energizing tool and Trump is using that tool to keep people animated and enthusiastic about his campaign.”
About a few weeks ago what outcome he foresees, Paleologos said that “there are some things that have to happen for Trump to overtake Biden: The first is he should have a great debate. Secondly, the Hunter Biden scandal has to blow up in the next two weeks where Trump has to connect Hunter Biden to Ukraine and China and Joe Biden. Thirdly a vaccine announcement has to happen soon, before the election. It is unlikely all those three scenarios will take place, maybe one or two will take place in which case the national poll numbers will come down from a 9-point lead to about 3-point lead for Biden. It is more realistic that if only one of those three things happen the national polling lead will drop from 9 points to maybe 5 or 6 points. It is possible, if Biden has a good debate, that he wins in a landslide – it is still a possibility.”
Asked whether it is time for a third party, he said “yes I do. In Greece, in France, and many democratic countries around the world, third parties serve an important role. One of the reasons that so many people in the United States don’t vote even though they are eligible to vote is because they have given up on two parties system. They don’t believe Democrats and they don’t believe Republicans and part of the reason they don’t vote is they want more choice. They believe having more options is better for democracy and for the country and better for finding solutions to important problems. We haven’t had someone emerge as an independent and to be viable really since Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, but he had to fund his own campaign to get on all the ballots. Right now third party candidates are not viable to win, but they only make an impact by taking away votes from democrats and republicans.”