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Trump's Good News: Deep-Blue New England State Creates 9 Swing States Now in Play, Polls Show

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Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, has already reshaped the GOP into a working-class, anti-establishment party.

Now, according to recent polling, Trump has expanded the electoral map at the presidential level and given Republicans a fighting chance in states where, for many years, they have barely competed.

For instance, a New Hampshire Journal/Praecones Analytica poll of 862 registered voters in the Granite State, conducted May 15-20, showed Trump with a razor-thin lead of 36.6 percent to 36.5 percent over President Joe Biden in a race that also involved independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who polled at 14.6 percent. The remaining 12.6 percent of respondents preferred none of the three.

New Hampshire has awarded its four electoral votes to the Democratic presidential candidate in seven of eight elections since 1992. Hillary Clinton narrowly prevailed in the state’s 2016 presidential election, 46.8 percent to 46.5 percent over Trump. But Biden defeated Trump in New Hampshire by more than seven points in 2020. And former President Barack Obama won the state by comfortable margins of nine and six points in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

Couple those past results with GOP establishment favorite Nikki Haley’s relatively strong performance in the state’s 2024 Republican primary, and New Hampshire hardly feels like friendly territory for Trump.

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The NH Journal/Praecones poll, however, featured startling data to support Trump’s brightening prospects in that state.

For instance, the four youngest demographic groups polled (18-24, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-64) all preferred Trump by margins of 9-to-13 percent. Among voters 65 and above, Biden led by more than 25 points.

Likewise, the pollsters acknowledged that their methodology “occasionally display[s] a liberal/Democratic” bias.

Furthermore, a University of New Hampshire poll released last week showed Biden with a four-point lead in a head-to-head match-up. But that lead dwindled to a statistical tie with Kennedy and other candidates added to the mix.

Meanwhile, another traditional Democratic stronghold has shown signs of shifting into the swing-state category.

A KSTP-TV/SurveyUSA poll of 625 likely voters in Minnesota, conducted May 8-11, showed Biden with a narrow lead over Donald Trump, 44 percent to 42 percent.

Minnesota has not awarded its electoral votes to a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. Like New Hampshire, Minnesota gave Biden a seven-point victory in 2020.

These latest polls from historically solid blue states did three important things. First, they confirmed months-long swing-state trends that have shown significant pro-Trump momentum. Second, they challenged conventional wisdom about what constitutes a swing state in the first place. Third, they raised intriguing questions about where else Trump might succeed in expanding the electoral map.

Based on 2020 election results, pollsters this time around have largely focused on seven presumptive swing states: Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Four years ago, after a prolonged counting of mail-in ballots, Biden received the electoral votes of all except North Carolina.

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RealClear Polling has maintained an average of polls in those seven “key battles.” As of Monday, Trump held slender head-to-head leads over Biden in Wisconsin (0.1 percent), Michigan (.5 percent) and Pennsylvania (2.3 percent). The former president led by more comfortable margins in Georgia (4.8 percent), Arizona (4.1 percent), North Carolina (5 percent) and Nevada (5.4 percent).

In those same seven “key battles,” the inclusion of Kennedy and other candidates resulted in a slight bump for Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Considering that in 2020 Biden prevailed by less than one percentage point in Georgia (0.2 percent), Arizona (0.3 percent) and Wisconsin (0.6 percent), by 1.2 percent in Pennsylvania, 2.4 percent in Nevada and 2.8 percent in Michigan, and that Trump won North Carolina by 1.4 percent, it would appear that the swing states have shifted in Trump’s direction by four-to-five points on average, with the largest shifts coming in Nevada, Arizona and Georgia.

In other words, the pro-Trump shifts in New Hampshire and Minnesota have mirrored those observed elsewhere.

That trend should lead us to question conventional wisdom about what constitutes a swing state in the first place.

Alas, for the most part, pollsters have not yet caught onto the trend.

For instance, the polling outlet FiveThirtyEight features line graphs that show presidential polling results in key states during recent months. Not long ago, of course, Americans expected states like Ohio and Florida to determine the outcomes of presidential elections. Thus, FiveThirtyEight still maintains line graphs that show recent polling results in Ohio and Florida. And it does this despite the fact that Trump has consistently held leads of 9-to-11 points in both states.

Conversely, FiveThirtyEight features no such line graph to track those narrowing polls in New Hampshire.

One need not think of such omissions in conspiratorial terms or even blame the specific polling aggregator. FiveThirtyEight, for instance, did recently add a line graph for the Minnesota race.

The problem appears to stem from the fact that individual pollsters have not bothered to track all states equally.

Thus, dramatic developments and sudden tightening of polls in traditional Democratic strongholds seem to take many pollsters by surprise.

And that leads us to the intriguing question: Where else might Trump expand the electoral map?

In late March, for instance, an Emerson College poll showed Biden with a seven-point lead over Trump in New Jersey. With Kennedy and others added to the mix, Biden’s lead shrank to only five points.

Earlier this month, Trump held a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. Lisa Fagan, spokeswoman for the city of Wildwood, estimated there were as many as 100,000 attendees, according to the Associated Press.

In 2020, Biden won New Jersey by 16 points.

On Wednesday, a Siena College poll showed Biden with a 9-point lead over Trump in New York.

Then, on Thursday, Trump held a rally in the South Bronx. Estimates ranged from 8,000 to 25,000 attendees.

In 2020, Biden won New York by 23 points.

And what about states that gave Biden much smaller margins of victory in 2020? What about Virginia and New Mexico, for instance, where the Democrat prevailed by slightly more than ten points?

According to FiveThirtyEight, a few smaller polls conducted since February have shown Biden holding leads of one-to-six points in Virginia. Meanwhile, pollsters have largely ignored New Mexico throughout this calendar year.

And what about Colorado? In 2020, the Centennial State gave Biden a 13.5 percent margin of victory. But an Emerson College poll conducted in late January showed the president holding only a 6-point edge.

In sum, we need more polls. But scanty polling evidence from deep-blue states has mirrored results from presumptive swing states, which have been thoroughly polled.

In fact, might we find ourselves close to reassessing the entire category of swing states? Based on recent results, might pollsters soon drop states like North Carolina and Nevada from that category altogether? And might they replace them with New Hampshire and Minnesota?

As Arizona and Georgia trend heavily toward Trump, might Virginia and New Jersey begin making regular appearances in swing-state stories?

Not long ago, Democrats dreamed of turning Texas purple. Did they ever imagine that they might have to defend New York?

The electoral map, like the Republican Party, has grown more and more to Trump’s liking.

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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.
Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.




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