(CN) — Former Vice President Joe Biden holds strong leads in a half-dozen battleground states over President Donald Trump, according to a poll released Thursday which also shows the president is also hindering Republicans in crucial down-ballot races.
New York Times /Siena College polls released Thursday show that the president is starting to lag well behind his 2020 rival in states that were central to Trump’s victory just four years ago. Of the six states polled, Biden currently holds double-digit leads over Trump in Michigan (47%-36%), Wisconsin (49%-38%) and Pennsylvania (50%-40%), all states in which Trump managed to eke out small but critical wins in against Hillary Clinton.
The president is slightly more competitive in the other three battleground states polled, though Biden continues to lead. The poll reports that the former vice president is up by nine points in North Carolina, seven points in Arizona — where Trump recently held a campaign rally amid the surging coronavirus outbreak — and six points in Florida.
Assuming Biden can hold on to the states won by Clinton in 2016, a Biden win in these six states would give him the Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. Even most combinations of three of them — for example, if Biden won just Florida, Arizona and North Carolina — would also be enough for Biden to win the White House.
Biden’s strength in these states — and where he has managed to siphon off support from the president — comes from a key voting bloc in these half-dozen battleground states: white college graduates. The data shows that Biden is leading Trump among white voters with a college education by 21-point margin, a potentially dire trend for the president given the leads he enjoyed with white voters during the last presidential election.
Trump’s poor polling in these individual battleground states also line up with where Trump currently sits nationally. Another New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday reported that Biden is leading the president nationwide by 14 points, 50%-36%.
Previous polling data shows Trump’s recent shortcomings in the polls are party due to an incredibly turbulent past nine months for the president. A New York Times/Siena College poll conducted this past October put Biden with a two-point lead over Trump in these battleground states, but the landscape of the county has seen some dramatic changes since then. The president faced a highly contentious impeachment effort in Congress, the world has become gripped by a global pandemic and demonstrations over police brutality have swept city streets across the nation in recent weeks.
These crises undoubtedly would be challenging for any president to meet, but a majority of voters believe the current one has failed to do so. Of those polled in the six battleground states, just 42% voice their approval for the job Trump has done in office while 54% disapprove.
The president’s polling deficits are not just hurting his own chances in November, however. The second New York Times/Siena College poll released Thursday, shows that Trump’s poor polling numbers are hurting a handful of crucial races that will help to determine whether the Republicans hang on to control of the Senate in 2021.
In Arizona, Republican Senator Martha McSally is currently trailing her Democratic challenger, astronaut and former Navy captain Mark Kelly, by nine points. McSally was appointed to the seat just last year after the resignation of Senator Jon Kyl — himself appointed to the seat following the death of John McCain — leading many Democrats to view her seat as a vulnerable one that is potentially ripe for the taking.
In North Carolina, Republican Senator Thom Tillis currently trails his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, a former state senator, by three points despite a heavy television ad campaign by the Tillis campaign.
And in Michigan, Republicans who believed they had a good shot at taking a seat from an incumbent Democrat face a grim reality so far. First-term Democratic Senator Gary Peters currently leads his Republican challenger, businessman John James, by 10 points. This is despite James being widely viewed as one the Republican party’s more promising new figures.
The group pulling away from Trump — white voters with a college education — are the same voters giving an edge to the Democrats in these races. If not properly managed by the president and his party in the upcoming months, data shows this exodus of college-educated white voters may be the key to Democratic success in both the Senate and the White House come Nov. 3.