On Friday (Thursday in the United States), the final Presidential Debate for this year’s eventful race will take place- with Democratic Nominee former Vice President Joe Biden tackling incumbent President Donald Trump. In what no doubt will be the most important presidential race since 1932 – when President Franklin Roosevelt unseated the incumbent Herbert Hoover in the midst of the Great Depression -both candidate’s campaigns have come down to the vision of Americans for their country over the next 4 years.
Now, two weeks out from the election, polls have indicated that Joe Biden’s vision for the nation seems to be of greater appeal than that of the sitting President.
Despite what many would assume, the polls in 2016 (though often unstable and always fluctuating) were actually rather accurate in their 2016 prediction- with many polls days before the election predicting that Hillary Clinton would win the popular vote by some margin, though may struggle to win in battleground states. However, it was the fault of the media that caused so many of us to wrongly predict Hillary Clinton’s victory over Donald Trump- this time however they have been warier.
The 2016 election saw two relatively unpopular candidates face off in an election of poor voter turnout- and former Businessman and TV Star Donald Trump defeated the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in a shocking electoral college victory; despite losing the popular vote by 2 million Americans.
This year, however, Joe Biden’s lead in polling seems to be significantly more stable and of a wider margin than that of Ms. Clinton’s in 2016- with generally red states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Texas all proving to be rather challenging for President Trump to lead-in. Georgia and Arizona themselves have been leaning towards Joe Biden in recent weeks, and they don’t seem to show signs of slowing down.
Quite simply, President Trump is losing- and he’s losing badly.
But what exactly are the states that should be looked at closely in unseating the controversial President- or, in other words, the states that President Trump will no doubt be amping up campaign efforts in. It is important to note that Hillary’s lead in the polls, in contrast to Joe Biden’s, fluctuated to a heavy extent- something it is yet to do for the Biden campaign. And yet despite the Trump camp’s worries, there is still some hope for a late minute comeback.
Trump’s brand of politics was successful in 2016 undoubtedly, flipping a traditionally blue state that went to President Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections by double digit margins. This traditionally democrat state in the rust belt region, home to many blue collar white working class men (a demographic that won President Trump the election in 2016), was declared in the President’s favour by less than 1% of the vote- just 10, 000 in fact. Joe Biden is leading between 7-9% currently in the state, in contrast to Hillary Clinton’s 4% lead in polls at this time in 2016.
Wisconsin, another Rust Belt state, seems to be a problem for President Trump this year- with another blue state he managed to flip in 2016, trending in a fair democratic area. Obama’s 7% victory in 2012, a 7 point decrease from 2016, does suggest that this battleground state looks promising for future Republican candidates- but unfortunately for Trump, this state is polling unfavourably for the President. Polling has estimated a Biden victory between 7-12% in this state, with rural voters (particular farmers disgruntled by the economic impact of Trump’s trade war with China on farming bankruptcies) seeming to turn away from the President. Polling put Hillary at 5.3% above Trump at this time in October- however she ended up losing the race narrowly by 22, 000 votes. If democrats are able to produce a higher voter turnout this election, which so far they have, it looks as though this state will go blue despite the polling innacuracy of 2016.
Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s home state (and a state he should be doing better in), was another Rust Belt state that narrowly went to President Trump in 2016- and one home to many working class Americans disgruntled by the impacts of automation and outsourcing on local businesses in the area. It was Trump’s populistic message that managed to capture these voters in 2016, but considering the government’s undeniably blundered Covid response, he is finding it more difficult to inspire such voters this time around. Nonetheless, this race has been troublingly close for Democrats- causing VP Biden to spend $20 million in TV Ad spending in the state. Philadelphia’s suburbs seem to be heavily abandoning Trump since 2016, though rural voters still look promising for the incumbent. Hillary Clinton was polling at 3.7% above Trump at this time in 2016, however Biden seems to be faring largely better at an average of a 6% lead. Ultimately though, it is important to watch how Pennsylvania sways this election- as it may be indicative of heavy ideological changes in the Rust Belt region.
A state that narrowly swung Clinton’s way in 2016 (having gone democratic for Obama both times), Minnesota is home to a large population of farmers and suburban women- a demographic of whom generally is indicative of who the President ends up being. Prior to Covid 19, this seemed like a race Trump would win- however polling has now been relatively unfavourable to him recently. Clinton won the state narrowly by 44, 000 votes, around 1.5%. At this time, she was polling at 5.8%. In contrast, Biden’s polling average extends from 10-13%- essentially locking this battleground state down to Biden for the election- though some recent tight polls (generally being viewed as outliers) do suggest some skepticism about an outright landslide.
Trump and Biden have devoted much of their campaign spending to Rust Belt States such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin- both acknowledging their importance in deciding this year’s victor; something Hillary’s campaign neglected in 2016.