(Editor's note: The following opinion column does not represent an endorsement of any political party or candidate, on the part of Newsmax.)
It's hard with the daily avalanche of head-to-head polls between Biden and Trump to keep track of the significant swings. But a detailed analysis of the RealClearPolitics.com listing of the past 96 polls gives us a good idea (a real clear idea) of what’s going on.
The polling over the summer and the autumn of 2023 indicates that there have been three periods in the surveys of the vote:
Phase I The Biden Ascendency. July 5 — August 17
Total Polling: 24 polls
Biden leads in 17 of them
Trump leads in only 2
Candidates tied in 5 polls
Phase II. Neck and Neck. August 17-October 27
Total Polling: 51 Polls
Biden leads in 18 of them
Trump leads in 21
Tied in 12 polls
Phase III Trump Ascendent. October 27 - Nov 20
Total polling: 21 polls
Biden leads in only 3
Trump leads in 16
Tied in 2 polls
The pattern is clear.
Trump pulled even over the summer and began to dominate the race in late October.
The question is: why?
What happened in October to boost Trump and drag down Biden?
The economy limped along. No change there.
Inflation came down but only gradually.
The big change was the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7th.
That development appears to have changed everything.
- *Between July 5th and August 17th, Trump led in only two polls while Biden led in seventeen (five were tied).
- *Between August 23rd and October 27, the candidates were in a tight race with Biden leading in 18 polls and Trump ahead in 21. (12 were tied).
*Then it all changed and Trump took control. Between October 27th and November 20, Trump led in 16 of 21 surveys, Biden only led in three and two were tied.
Why was the invasion of Israel so decisive?
In the short term, it reminded us all of the dangerous world in which we live as the threat of a wider war loomed increasingly large.
War replaced the economy as the central topic in the news (although voters still cited the economy over war as their main concern).
The country looked at the enfeebled president and saw the need for a strong coherent leader. The Trump indictments receded in our minds and the war in the Mideast crowded them out in our daily consciousness.
But, in the month after the invasion, it is becoming increasingly evident that the war has opened a deeper breech in our politics between sympathy for the Israelis and for the Palestinians.
Recent polls suggest that 41% of Democrats report more sympathy for the Palestinians in the war while only 34% stick to the Party’s traditional support for Israel.
The separation of the parties on the issue becomes daily more evident as pro-Hamas demonstrators clog our streets and dominate our campuses.
In Congress, the progressives, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., seek to condition aid to Israel by demanding that they accept Hamas’ terms for an indefinite pause to the Israeli counterattack and the bombing of Gaza while
Republicans, led by Trump, are full throated and unambiguous in their backing of the Jewish State.
In the summer of 2020, our country was similarly rent by protests in cities and campuses by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, catalyzed by the police murder of a black man — George Floyd.
But then, most of the country sympathized with the demonstrators and remained patient and tolerant of their often outrageous violence and looting.
Trump appeared to be somewhat out of step with his attacks on the demonstrations and support for the police.
But the Gaza invasion, itself, finds favor with few Americans with its wanton cruelty and viciousness. Even when the issue is couched in terms of Palestinian grievance over Israeli "occupation" (there isn’t any) most Americans have not lost their moral clarity distinguishing the innocent from the guilty.
But most Democrats have.
With their increasingly vocal support for Hamas, Democrats have waffled on the issue and have lost the support of much of their Party’s base over it.
No single other issue has so demonstrated how far to the left the Democrats have drifted and they are paying the price for it in the polls.
An amorphous feeling that Trump is the more competent and alert of the candidates and a latent sympathy for his legal persecution by prosecutors and the DOJ, has hardened into solid support for him in the face of the Democratic embrace of Hamas and increasingly unreliable support for Israel.
Whether or not Israel can make the Hamas invasion and its subsequent atrocities a turning point in global opinion, it has decisively turned the American people away from the Democrats.
Dick Morris is a former presidential adviser and political strategist. He is a regular contributor to Newsmax TV. Read Dick Morris' Reports — More Here.
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