US election: Huge clue suggests possible Donald Trump victory despite polls favouring Biden win
The mercury dipped to freezing during United States President Donald Trump’s election rally in Omaha, Nebraska this week – but even the brutal temperature couldn’t keep diehard fans away.
Seven people were hospitalised after traffic issues left thousands stranded for hours following the event, reportedly including elderly attendees who were treated for hypothermia.
But despite the harsh conditions, tens of thousands of ardent supporters flocked to the punishing event and were grateful to do so – as they have been throughout the entire election campaign.
Meanwhile, over at the Biden camp, it has been a very different story.
While Trump’s rallies have attracted floods of red Make America Great Aagain hats with long queues of energetic fans eager to catch a glimpse of their political hero, Biden’s have tended to be far more subdued affairs.
They’ve not only been smaller in terms of crowd size, but have also failed to match the vibrancy and enthusiasm of those held by the President – and it’s a trend that started long before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
In fact, back in May last year left-leaning political site Politico reported that Biden’s launch rally “paled next to some of his rivals” and that he failed to pull in the crowds seen by former Democrat candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, despite his far higher profile as the nation’s former Vice-President.
Politico reported that in the early stages of his campaign, the 77-year-old held events in “smaller venues where there’s little danger of empty seats” and noted “the seeming lack of excitement or teeming masses at his events” which indicated a “lack of passion for his candidacy”.
In June, an Economist/YouGov Poll found more than twice as many Trump supporters were enthusiastic about their candidate than their Democratic counterparts, and just three months ago, a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research also revealed the Democratic hopeful’s supporters were less enthusiastic than Republicans when it came to both the wider campaign and Biden himself.
The research found just 31 per cent of Biden supporters were “excited” compared with 42 per cent of Trump devotees, with those on Team Biden also experiencing more negative emotions such as anxiety and frustration.
And in September, another poll by the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics revealed 56 per cent of Americans who were likely to support Trump were “very enthusiastic” about voting for him, compared to just 35 per cent of Biden backers, while a Facebook analysis by University of Bath PhD researcher Tristan Hotham has revealed Joe Biden is “trailing the performance of Hillary Clinton in 2016” while Trump was “exceeding his 2016 performance”.
The phenomenon is so significant it has even been given a nickname – the “enthusiasm gap” – and some are convinced it could mean Trump has this in the bag.
But others – including Griffith University political scientist Professor John Kane – believe widespread anti-Trump sentiment is a much more powerful factor than the lukewarm feelings many may hold for Biden.
Kane told news.com.au the enthusiasm gap “absolutely” existed – but was less important than many might think.
“There is enthusiasm on the Democrat/liberal side, but it’s not so much enthusiasm for Biden as anti-Trump – that’s what’s getting that massive pre-election vote, which has been unprecedented,” he said.
“Trump has cultish followers but that can be very misleading … it looks good on TV, [but] if you’re taking it as a guide to how the election is going to go, it would be wiser to look at which way the polls are trending.”
While Kane said Trump could end up pulling off “another miracle”, it was “hard to see lightning striking twice” on November 3.
“There’s a lot of anti-Trump sentiment and so many people are motivated to just get rid of this guy,” he said.
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