Fauci fights back while staying above the fray, and Trump strikes a blow at the “Magna Carta” of environmental law. It’s Thursday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
President Trump delivered remarks yesterday in Atlanta about infrastructure.
Could the ‘shy Trump’ effect in polling actually help Biden?
Biden now leads Trump by double digits in some of the most reputable nationwide polls, and even in surveys of some crucial swing states where Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But after the polling and forecasting debacles of 2016, when many state polls underestimated Trump’s strength — particularly in the Midwest — some Americans remain doubtful that polling is really telling the full story.
One of the biggest questions on many observers’ minds has to do with what is known as the “shy Trump” phenomenon: the idea that some people who support Trump will refuse to tell pollsters that they plan to vote for him, out of fear that they will be judged negatively for it.
One of those pollsters is Patrick Murray, who runs the polling institute at Monmouth University. Yesterday, Monmouth released a survey showing Biden with a towering, 13-percentage-point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania. The survey also found that, when asked, most Pennsylvania voters said they thought the “shy Trump” effect was real.
Fifty-seven percent of voters in the state said they thought there were “secret voters” in their communities who were going to vote for Trump but wouldn’t admit it publicly.
And no wonder: Polls in 2016 consistently overestimated Clinton’s strength there; as a result, so did the election forecasters reliant on state polls. Many people assumed some Trump supporters had simply lied to pollsters.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated July 15, 2020
Is the coronavirus airborne?
- The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
What’s the best material for a mask?
Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?
- A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?
- The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
What is pandemic paid leave?
- The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?
- So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.
What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?
- Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.
How does blood type influence coronavirus?
- A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
How can I protect myself while flying?
- If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)
What should I do if I feel sick?
But Murray and his team conducted a post-mortem in the state, seeking to understand why their own 2016 polls had been overly kind to Clinton. After Trump emerged victorious, they called back voters to check whether people who previously said they wouldn’t support him had come around to voting for him.
“There weren’t many out there, certainly not enough to affect the overall results by more than a point,” Murray said in an interview. “In fact what we saw was that the unenthusiastic Hillary Clinton voters who decided to stay home were significantly more of a factor,” he added. “It was the Clinton voter who didn’t like her that much, and didn’t think their vote was needed based on what the media was saying was going to happen.”
Now, Murray said, he has evidence that the “shy Trump” effect isn’t real — but also that people tend to think it is. So where does that leave us?
“The likely impact seems to be that the kind of voter who was not that enthusiastic last time but was against Trump, and stayed home, is not going to stay home this time around,” Murray said. “It’s feeding into their anxiety that you can’t take the polls for granted right now, and so I think that the more that this idea of a ‘shy Trump’ vote persists, the more it’s probably going to end up helping Joe Biden.”
New York Times Events
Trump’s coronavirus calculus, and the unconventional conventions
Join us today for two separate New York Times events:
At 11 a.m. Eastern, our White House correspondent Maggie Haberman will join Andrew Ross Sorkin and the DealBook team for a behind-the-scenes look at what to expect in the months ahead from the Trump administration as the pandemic continues. R.S.V.P. here to attend virtually.
And at 5 p.m. Eastern, the Times political reporters Katie Glueck, Annie Karni, Lisa Lerer and Jennifer Medina will gather (virtually) to dive deep into the world of conventions — how they’re changing, why they matter and the latest on this unusual political summer. Rachel Dry, deputy politics editor, will host. You can R.S.V.P. here.