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Trump’s path to re-election is not an easy one, but recent polls show the president narrowing the gap with Biden in several critical battleground states, increasing his odds of victory substantially.
Joe Biden widened his lead during a summer of bad news on the spread of the coronavirus and a lagging economy. But the economy is picking up—along with Trump’s prospects.
This isn’t surprising given Trump’s lead on Biden on the question of who voters believe can best handle the recovery from the damage done during the pandemic.
There are glimmers of hope for Republicans that Trump could prevail in enough of the core battleground states to win the Electoral College.
Biden’s once formidable lead in Florida has vanished and the state appears to be a toss-up once again. The polls are all over the place in Arizona, although several recent surveys show the candidates within 1 or 2 points of each other. North Carolina has long been headed for a photo finish.
If Trump holds on to those three states, and if he doesn’t fumble away Texas, Georgia, Iowa or Ohio, Biden would have to run the table in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, giving the Democratic nominee little room for error as the candidates prepare to go head-to-head in the first general election debate.
In 2016, it was Trump who had to run the table in those three states to win the electoral college. Now the script has flipped and it’s Joe Biden who has to go three for three in those states.
“We’ve seen a few surveys that reflect a tightening race, but the scale of the tightening is unclear,” said David Winston, a veteran GOP pollster. “For the Trump campaign, it is encouraging to see some positive movement heading into the debate. Having said that, they’ll need more than what they’ve seen so far.”
Arizona—a state that has been trending blue in recent elections—is now critical for the Trump campaign. The president has closed the gap from a 6-point Biden lead to 3, giving the GOP hope that Trump can pull it out.
Recent polls from Reuters-Ipsos, Monmouth University and CBS News have put the race between 1 point and 3 points, with Biden holding the slight advantage.
Recent surveys from The New York Times and CNBC show Biden leading comfortably, in the 6- to 9-point range.
An ABC News-Washington Post survey of likely voters released this week is turning heads, finding Trump ahead in Arizona by 1 point. That survey found Trump with a 15-point lead on the economy, and Biden holding only a 4-point advantage on who would better handle the coronavirus.
The economy, again. Do we detect a pattern here? Trump’s strength in perceptions on how he would handle the post-pandemic economic landscape are growing because Biden’s economic plan isn’t fooling anyone.
Talk of a Biden surge in Texas is a mirage. Trump will win Texas going away on Election Day. Ohio is a tougher nut, but Trump is closing the gap to about 1 point. I like the Republican whenever it’s close in Ohio.
Trump also has to hold on to Iowa and Georgia—two states that have become bluer in recent elections. He’s behind in both. But Democrat’s effort to energize the black vote failed in the 2018 “historic” governors race where Brian Kemp eked out a narrow victory over Stacey Abrams. The surge in the black vote that was supposed to bring Abrams victory fell short of expectations. Whether that happens in 2020 is unknown.
Just a few weeks ago, Democrats wanted to help Joe Biden measure the curtains in the Oval Office, so sure of victory they were. But that was always an illusion. This is a closely divided electorate and Trump’s surge has energized the GOP and made Democrats a lot more nervous.