By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, Oct 17 | With 18 days to go before Americans choose their next President, latest polling shows Democratic party candidate Joe Biden inching ahead with an average lead of 4.5 points against US President Donald Trump across six battleground states that account for the lion’s share of electoral votes needed to carry the White House.
In nine national-level polls from October 2 till date, Biden leads by a minimum of five points (Rasmussen) and a maximum of 12 points (USC).
As the race tightens, FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregation site, is predicting a 87 per cent chance of a Biden win and a 13 in 100 chance of a Trump win, based on 40,000 simulations of election outcomes. Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight, has a less than one in 100 chance of winning by a double digit margin.
Biden clocks in at a 36 and 100 chance of winning by a landslide defined as a double digit margin in the popular vote.
Biden’s lead is slimmest in Florida, where he is up by a shade over 1.5 points. In Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Biden leads Trump by over 5.5 points, in a RealClearPolitics poll of polls. Trump carried those three states by less than a percentage point four years ago.
Six battlegrounds – Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona account for 101 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. These aren’t all the battlegrounds but their competitive edge, taken together, is usually a tipping point.
Four years ago, with 18 days to go before the US 2016 election, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had a wider lead against Trump in top battlegrounds than Joe Biden currently enjoys against the US president. Clinton went on to lose to Trump, although she won the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes.
Clinton ended with 65,844,954 (48.2 per cent) to Trump’s 62,979,879 (46.1 per cent), according to certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
In 2016, at exactly this point in the election cycle, Clinton was 5.4 points ahead of Trump across America’s top battlegrounds. Now, in 2020, Joe Biden is 4.5 points ahead of Trump.
In national polling, Hillary Clinton was 5.8 points ahead of Trump at this time, four years ago. Biden, though, has widened that gap and is 8.9 points ahead of Trump.
RealClearPolitics puts Biden at least three points ahead of Clinton’s 2016 national lead against Trump.
All this is sparking anger in the White House. On Friday, Axios scooped a “Trump’s advisers brace for loss, point fingers” story. Axios reports that the Trump campaign is rife with “internal blaming and pre-spinning of a potential loss, accelerating a dire mood that’s driven by a daily barrage of bleak headlines”.
Already, more than 17 million Americans have voted in the 2020 election, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. This number accounts for 12 per cent of all votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
The surge in mail-in ballots has been long expected. The record numbers are a combination of early balloting, in person and especially by mail. Election experts are predicting that total turnout could top 150 million.