President Donald Trump in 2020 could once again lose the popular vote but eke out a victory in the Electoral College, a Monday poll from The New York Times found, a warning sign to the field of Democrats vying to defeat the incumbent at the ballot box.
"This is incredibly bleak," tweeted New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie.
"Trump could lose the popular vote by something like seven or eight percent—something like 10 million votes in 2016 numbers—and still eke out an electoral college victory," Bouie added.
The Times/Siena College poll found that Trump's advantage in the Electoral College "remains intact or has even grown since 2016, raising the possibility that the Republicans could—for the third time in the past six elections—win the presidency while losing the popular vote." The poll focused on Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina, six states Trump won in 2016 to deliver him the presidency even as he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
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Monday's poll also showed the president in a statistical dead heat in the six swing states with Democratic frontrunners former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
In a piece for Vox, journalist Aaron Rupar urged some caution on those taking a doom and gloom approach to the poll's findings:
There are some caveats. The Times' polling, which was based on a survey of 3,766 registered voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, and 1,435 registered voters in Iowa between October 13 and October 30, does not account for new voters. A piece detailing the methodology notes that the Michigan results, in particular, should be treated "with an added degree of caution," since pollsters had trouble with the sample there. And it's somewhat of an outlier when compared with other recent polls in states like Florida and Wisconsin that have showed Biden in particular with larger leads over Trump.
The poll's findings renewed calls to abolish the Electoral College from progressives.
"Junking our crap-antique Electoral College in favor of popular democracy isn't impossible," said attorney and author Chase Madar, "but it will require long-term effort, strategy, and boldness."