President Donald Trump is down in the polls against former Vice President Joe Biden, and unlike in Trump’s 2016 race against Hillary Clinton, the gap doesn’t seem to be closing in the final five days of the 2020 campaign, CNBC reported.
At this point in the last election, Clinton’s lead had suddenly shrunk to a near tie with Trump after new revelations about her email server. But now, with Trump no longer a political novelty and in the absence of late-breaking bombshells, Biden’s polling advantage looks far more durable.
While the national polls have slightly narrowed in recent weeks, Biden appears poised to hold onto his lead through Election Day next Tuesday. Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver notes that a majority of state polls show Biden’s position improving.
Some states, previously considered GOP strongholds, have become hotly contested late in the race. The Cook Political Report and NBC News both moved Texas from “Lean Republican” to the “Toss Up” column this week, for instance. FiveThirtyEight also projects Biden is slightly favored to win Georgia, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.
All of that is not to say a Biden victory is a foregone conclusion. While a series of October surprises in 2016 ultimately benefited Trump, Clinton still won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes — but she lost in the Electoral College following a series of close defeats in key swing states.
It’s still possible Trump could pull off the same upset in 2020. Biden holds an edge, on average, in the key battleground states that put Trump over the top in the last cycle, but by a smaller margin than his national lead. Polls show the candidates neck and neck in a handful of the most crucial battleground states.
The Republican incumbent has spent the final weeks of the race in a mad dash across the country, each day hosting at least one of his signature in-person campaign rallies and drawing large crowds of supporters. On Thursday, Trump is scheduled to deliver speeches in Florida and North Carolina, two of the most competitive races in the nation.
At those rallies, the President could focus on the economy, which has long been the area where he’s received the highest ratings from voters. The Commerce Department reported Thursday morning that the economy grew at its fastest rate ever in the third quarter of 2020, a figure the Trump campaign is surely eager to tout.
But that economic boom followed the worst-ever plunge in the previous quarter, when GDP fell by 32.9%. And that historic decline was largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, which voters have consistently said they think Biden would handle better than Trump.