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Here’s Why Trump May Sail Back Into Office On Boat Parades

(Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Hayden Daniel Deputy & Opinion Editor
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In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a mostly-digital presidential campaign, boat parades have become popular among supporters of President Donald Trump who want to show their enthusiasm.

Though they may seem like merely opportunities for supporters to escape the confines of coronavirus quarantine and show off some Trump signs, the boat parades that have become increasingly popular over the summer may prove that Trump has the enthusiasm advantage over Democratic nominee Joe Biden going into Election Day.

These parades, some featuring hundreds of boats, have occurred throughout the summer of 2020 in states across the country, including important battleground states like Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Minnesota. They began as an alternative to normal political events due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions on large gatherings put in place by many states. Boating events, and similar car parades, have allowed people to engage in political activity while still maintaining proper social distancing guidelines.

Biden leads Trump nationally by almost seven points, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. While most individual polls show Biden leading Trump by similarly comfortable margins, some recent surveys have found that the race may be tightening, especially in crucial battleground states. (RELATED: Biden Leads Trump Nationally And In 6 Swing States, CNBC Poll Shows)

A Rasmussen poll released in early August showed that Trump’s approval rating stood at 51%, one of the highest ratings of his presidency. The poll indicated that 40% said they strongly approve of Trump’s job performance, while 41% strongly disapprove.

The margin of error for the full sample of 1,500 likely voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence, according to Rasmussen.

A CNN poll released in mid-August reported that Trump trailed Biden by only four points nationally, but it also showed that Trump neck-and-neck with Biden in several battleground states. (RELATED: ‘Are You Ready For A Trump Victory?’: Michael Moore Sounds The Alarm After Trump Closes Gap In Michigan Poll)

CNN’s latest data sampled 1,108 people from Aug. 12-15 and has a margin of error of 3.7%.

A CBS News/You Gov poll from Aug. 24 indicated that Trump is leading Biden by 10 points among independents nationally. Of those polled, 47% said they would vote for Trump, while 37% gave their support to Biden. A further 5% said they were unsure of who they would vote for, and 11% said they would vote for a third party or someone other than Biden or Trump. Of the respondents, 97% said they “definitely” or “probably” would vote in the November election.

Conducted Aug. 20-22, the poll asked 957 registered voters about their preferences with a margin of error of 3.6%.

A poll from the Trafalgar Group published Friday reported that Trump is leading Biden by a single point in the critical battleground state of Michigan. The president had 46% support in the state while Biden had 45%, according to the poll.

The poll surveyed 1,048 respondents and carries a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points. The Trafalgar Group, a right-leaning polling company, received a “C-” rating in May for accuracy and methodological performance from polling website FiveThirtyEight.

Even polls that have showed Trump significantly behind Biden have also shown that respondents who said they were going to vote for Biden were doing so as a vote against Trump as opposed to a positive endorsement of Biden.

Those who responded they would vote for Trump had the exact opposite response, saying they were affirmatively voting for the president rather than against Biden. A poll from mid-August showed 58% of Biden voters said that they were voting against Trump rather than for Biden, while 74% of Trump voters said they were affirmatively voting for the president, according to The Wall Street Journal/NBC News.

The boat parades may also reveal the consequences of the widening “enthusiasm gap” between Trump and Biden. A YouGov report published July 31 said that 68% of Trump supporters were “enthusiastic” about the president, while only 40% said the same about Biden.

When it came to enthusiasm about actually voting in favor of a candidate, the gap closed considerably, but Trump still held the lead with 76% of Trump supporters saying they were “extremely or very enthusiastic” about voting for him in November compared to 69%of Biden supporters who felt the same way about their candidate.

Though the gap closed, seven points is the same gap between Trump and Biden in the national polling average. Even a seven-point enthusiasm gap in voting could sway the election in Trump’s favor, especially in the tighter battleground states.

The smaller gap when it comes to actually voting could also be explained by the fact that most Biden voters are voting against Trump rather than for Biden. So, more Biden voters are enthusiastic to vote in general than are enthusiastic to vote for Biden.

In The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey, 42% of Trump voters said they were excited to vote for the president in November, while only 31% of Biden voters said they were excited to vote for the former vice president, according to The Hill.

The boat parades, along with car parades, may indicate that the enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden, especially amid the ongoing pandemic, could be a decisive factor in the election.

If Trump voters are more willing to get out and congregate in large groups, even if they are socially distanced in vehicles, it could mean that they are more willing to get out and vote in person on Election Day while Biden voters stay home due to coronavirus concerns or apathy.