With 21 days until Election Day in the USA, US President Donald Trump finds himself trailing his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, in several battleground state polls, with time running out to make a dent in Biden’s support.
Biden holds a 10-point lead nationally, his largest of the campaign so far. New state polls released by The New York Times on Monday show the former US Vice President leading by eight points in Michigan and 10 points in Wisconsin, two states critical to Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign. On average, Biden leads by seven points in Wisconsin and will be traveling to the state this week.
In fact, Biden is polling better than any challenger since 1936. As of this writing, the Democratic nominee is on track to bag 358 electoral votes, 88 more than he needs to win the White House.
One of the biggest questions over this election cycle has been, ‘how did someone go from the biggest upset in political history to possibly one of the worst losses an incumbent President has had in two decades?’
The biggest battleground state is Florida and its 29 electoral votes. Back in 2016, Mr. Trump won the Sunshine State by 1.2 percent, with the seniors demographic being a major reason. Trump edged out Hillary Clinton 17-points among the older group. Four years later, polls show Florida’s seniors, who traditionally vote at higher rates than any other age group, have shifted significantly away from incumbent Trump to Biden.
A poll by The University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab shows voters age 65 and older leaning towards the former Vice President 55% to 40%, and a recent CNN poll reflects that with Biden leading by 21 points, 60% to 39%, among seniors.
So, why does this matter?
Trump won Florida in 2016 by such a narrow margin with the help of wide support from seniors. The Trump campaign views Florida as a must-win for the President since he continues to trail Biden in states he won in 2016.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on much of the world with the President’s handling – or mishandling – of the virus being another factor in his dwindling support. Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans trust Biden as better equipped to handle the pandemic over Trump, 59% to 38%. When Trump announced he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, polls found the majority of Americans felt he was to blame for not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing.
In relation to the coronavirus, health care is another key topic for many Americans. At this moment, Trump has the US Supreme Court set to review a possible dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. If he is successful, it would strip away health care from millions of Americans when a possible ‘second wave’ of the virus expected to return in the autumn and winter.
Trump has been promising to announce his replacement for the ACA, but to this day has yet to get round to it. It is the lack of information and distrust that has seen Biden as more trusted to handle health care, leading Trump 59% to 39% in several polls released this week.
The final major factor that has soured voters on Trump is the process of voting. Due to the pandemic, millions of Americans will be voting by mail this year. Despite the fact mail-in voting has been going since the Civil War, Trump is already claiming the ballots are “rigged against him” and has claimed, without any evidence, that it is full of fraud. This has not sat well with voters, who say they trust the process and will accept the results.
All of these factors have resulted in the President’s path to victory narrowing every day. However, despite that, he does have a small chance to win. In order to do so, he’ll need to win Florida and flip two of Michigan, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania, three states where Biden currently holds a lead.
While he’s not completely out of this race yet, the path is getting narrower every day for Trump, and with three weeks to go, it may already be too late.
Words by Stephen Michael
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