SURVEYS. For the 2020 US presidential election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are fighting for the White House in a ballot with an uncertain outcome. Since being nominated by the Democratic Party, Joe Biden has been the favorite in the polls. But many states are still very undecided and Donald Trump is leading an offensive campaign.
For the US presidential election, the more time goes by, the more the gap widens between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the polls. The former vice-president of the United States indeed consolidates his status as favorite over the weeks.
According to FiveThirtyEight – an American site which compiles dozens of results from different polls and draws an overall average – the Democratic candidate is credited with 53.5% of the vote on October 15: his highest score since June. Conversely, President Donald Trump is at its lowest, with “only” 45.3% of the vote.
Be careful with this indicator, however, because it is far from being the most reliable. Margin of error sometimes climbs to 4% indicates FiveThirtyEight – a variation large enough to reverse the outcome of the ballot. The infographic below shows the evolution of national polls since June. If it does not display correctly on your device, click here.
National polls do not predict the outcome of the November 3 vote, however. Democrat Hillary Clinton, for example, lost in 2016 when she had collected three million votes more than Donald Trump.
With his 304 main voters, against only 227 on the Democratic side, his Republican opponent indeed won the election. Because this is how the ballot takes place: American voters designate 538 grand voters who then vote for the candidate of their choice. This system allows some sparsely populated states to have a decisive role in the election although they do not garner many votes.
Uncertainty for more than a third of the big voters
To win, it is therefore necessary to bring together at least 270 major voters. Currently, according to the polls, Joe Biden is expected to get at least 216 top voters. Still according to these figures, Donald Trump should gather at least 125 of them. However, this gap can quickly narrow, because the polls are undecided for no less than … 197 major voters!
The American election will therefore be played out in a handful of key states likely to switch to one side or the other. This is why we have gathered the polls of a dozen decisive states in the presidential race. These 10 states alone represent 168 major voters.
Texas (38 voters)
This great southern state has almost always voted Republican. But with each election, the gap with the Democrats narrows, notes Mathieu Gallard, from Ipsos,
🇺🇸🗳️ Les sondages sont en effet très incertains dans cet Etat traditionnellement conservateur, même si Trump est en tête d’un cheveu. En 2016, Clinton n’avait *que* 9 points de retard sur Trump, et c’était déjà un très bon score (Obama avait 16 points de retard en 2012). pic.twitter.com/P8hjz1Z5yq— mathieu gallard (@mathieugallard) October 7, 2020
The polls are very uncertain in this traditionally conservative state, even if Trump is ahead of the curve. In 2016, Clinton was “only” 9 points behind Trump, and it was already a very good score (Obama was 16 points behind in 2012).
If this state voted Democratic in the election, then it would become very difficult for Donald Trump to win.
Florida (29 voters)
It is the largest “swing state”, those states in which the outcome is uncertain from one election to the next. In 2016 and 2004, the Republicans won there, unlike in 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama won more votes.
To prevail in this state, Donald Trump relies mainly on retirees. But the management of the Covid-19 crisis worries seniors, who are more and more numerous to turn their backs on the current president.
Result: the Democratic Party is for the moment ahead of Donald Trump in Florida. But the outcome is still uncertain in this state where many observers believe that part of the Democratic voters are victims “of obstacles to the right to vote”.
Pennsylvania (20 grand voters)
Won by Donald Trump by a short head in 2016, this “swing-state” made up of many workers had overturned the last presidential election. But the situation could change in 2020 because the Democratic candidate is himself from Pennsylvania.
At the moment, Joe Biden is the favorite in the polls. In case of victory in such a great state, victory would be almost assured for the former vice-president of Barack Obama.
Ohio (18 voters)
In the last 14 elections, Ohio has always elected the future president of the United States reminiscent of Europe 1. And for the moment, the polls in this state clearly show no favorites: Joe Biden has been in the lead for a few days but with only 0.2% in advance … It is therefore difficult to comment on the outcome of this election, which will however be decisive.
Georgia (16 major voters)
If he now has a slight lead over Donald Trump, Joe Biden is far from being the favorite in this state according to the specialized site FiveThiryEight:
Republicans have a base of conservative, religious and white voters (…) with a slight majority. Democrats can count on the African-American population as well as on young white, Asian and Hispanic voters in Atlanta and university towns (…) who rarely reach 50%.
As in Florida, local voting laws could again benefit Republicans.
North Carolina (15 grand voters)
This long-democratic swing-state has – since the 1960s – taken a Republican turn. As Ouest-France recalls, “since 1968, a defeat of the right in North Carolina has always been synonymous with defeat at the national level”. And for the moment, it’s Joe Biden who leads the polls.
The outcome of the ballot should largely depend on the African-American vote. In 2008, black voters mobilized much more than usual, narrowly winning Barack Obama.
Arizona (11 top voters)
A border state of Texas, Arizona is also a historic Republican stronghold: the Democrats have won only once since 1952. But this year, the polls put Joe Biden in the lead.
According to France 24, this turnaround is partly explained by demographic change. Latin Americans, generally pro-democrats, made up only 15% of the local population in 1970. In 2000, one in four Arizonians (25%) was Hispanic. And in 2018, it is now nearly one in three (32%).
Wisconsin (10 major voters)
This industrial swing-state had voted Democrat since the late 1980s. But in 2016, Wisconsin chose Donald Trump and his reindustrialization program. However, as Les Echos notes, social plans have accumulated over the course of the mandate, the economic crisis linked to Covid-19 sounding the death knell for many companies.
Result, four years later, Joe Biden has a solid lead over his opponent in the polls. According to Kathleen Dolan, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin interviewed by the daily, “the level of education is lower in the state. And the role of evangelicals, who constitute the base of Donald Trump, is important there “.
Michigan (10 major voters)
Donald Trump’s victory in Michigan in 2016 was played by 10,000 votes. As France 24 tells it, this state is very divided between on the one hand, the Democrats – gathered in Detroit and in the student towns – and the Republicans – gathered in the rural communes. Despite Joe Biden’s comfortable lead in the polls for several months, nothing is decided in this swing state.
Iowa (6 major voters)
While he had largely won Iowa in 2016, Donald Trump now doubts and says he is “a little worried” about this state. The polls are indeed extremely tight in this small agricultural state.
In question, according to Ouest-France, the trade war waged against China by the president during his mandate, which would have “deprived” the local farmers of a “important market”. As a result, since the beginning of October, Joe Biden has passed Donald Trump by a short head in the polls.
Louis Tanca BFMTV reporter
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