You can make yourself crazy trying to figure out what to make of the latest national polls in the race for the White House. Is former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden narrowly, as the most recent YouGov/Economist Poll found (Trump at 44% to Biden’s 43%)? Or is Trump leading Biden by a more substantial margin like the NBC poll found: 47% to 42%? Or is Biden seeing his fortunes improve? A recent Marist College/PBS/NPR survey showed Biden ahead of Trump, 48% to 47%. The latest Quinnipiac poll showed Biden up by six points, 50% to 44%.

Of course, a candidate wins the White House through the Electoral College, not the national popular vote. And on that measure, the news looks bleak for Biden and good for Trump. With the exception of Pennsylvania, Trump is ahead of Biden in every recent swing state survey.

What the national polls can help us understand, however, is the overall strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates, especially with key subgroups of voters.

What comes across in those surveys, and from anecdotal and

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