US election: is Biden on track for a resounding victory?

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Just over three weeks before U.S. Election Day, Joe Biden has a significant voting advantage over Donald Trump, pointing to a potential smash victory for the Democratic presidential challenger on November 3.

But few Democrats or election experts are ready to predict a victory for Mr Biden, after being stung by his rival’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. They warn that even small changes in voter turnout, or an unexpected twist in an already tumultuous year could tip the scales in Mr. Trump’s favor.

A wave of polls since the first acrimonious presidential debate and Mr. Trump’s hospitalization for coronavirus show that Mr. Biden’s lead has widened at a time when millions of Americans have already voted or plan to vote. do before election day, whether by mail or in person.

“If I were to advise Biden, I certainly wouldn’t be measuring the curtains yet,” said Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Policy and Public Service and former spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee. ” [This year] is so volatile. Who knows? I would expect there to be several more “October surprises”. ”

Based on its current projections, Priorities USA, the pro-Biden super-political action committee, ranks 319 constituency votes as “Democrats” or “Skinny Democrats,” compared to 188 “Republicans” or “Skinny Republicans.” A presidential candidate needs 270 votes in the electoral college to win the White House.

But Guy Cecil, the chairman of PAC, adopted a cautious tone during a briefing on Friday, telling reporters: “Although we have seen an improvement in overall numbers over the past month, we continue to have a stable structure and relatively close. race. ”

“Relatively minor changes” could still make a difference in the results of the electoral college, he added.

Several national polls recently showed Mr Biden, the former vice president, a double-digit lead, while a Financial Times analysis of RealClearPolitics data places his lead at nine points. In several battlefield states that hold the key to winning the Electoral College, he also leads, albeit by a smaller margin.

Marsh Notes

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An FT analysis of recent state polls gives Mr Biden a nearly seven-point advantage in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and a six-point advantage in Wisconsin – three Midwestern states that played a crucial role in Mr. Trump’s victory from behind in 2016.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said the intensely polarized nature of US politics meant it was “hard to imagine” a Biden landslide similar to 1984, when the Republican Ronald Reagan has achieved 49 states out of 50 and 60 percent of the popular vote.

But he added that the president “appears to be doing all he can to create” such an outcome, pointing to Mr. Trump’s decision late last week to withdraw from the second presidential debate.

“It was an opportunity for him to progress,” said Mr. Sabato. “He’s the one behind. Even his own people privately admit that he is late, and not by a bit. They are very worried about this.

Graph showing registered U.S. voters by party affiliation in major states (millions)

Frank Luntz, a veteran Republican pollster, said he did not understand Mr. Trump’s request to hold the two remaining debates closer to election day given the number of Americans planning to vote early.

“Donald Trump is too far to close the gap if he doesn’t have two debates,” he said. “There is no more fruit at hand. There’s no one who hasn’t made at least an initial decision who they turn to. The more he goes, the more difficult it becomes. In fact, the more it becomes impossible.

Amid concerns about the health risks of in-person voting on election day during the pandemic, at least 9.1 million Americans have already voted, according to the US Elections Project, a database compiled by Michael McDonald, professor at the University of Florida.

Bar chart showing mail ballots cast and requested (millions)

“You can’t watch the ballot and not worry that it’s going to be a tough month,” said Luke Thompson, a Republican strategist.

But Mr Thompson argued that the president still has a path to victory, if the news cycle passes from his own illness and if state polls consistently underestimate Republicans.

The Trump campaign has repeatedly said that the polls are not sufficiently weighted to account for the number of Republicans likely to vote. While Democrats maintain an advantage over Republicans in terms of registered voters in several key swing states, the GOP has closed the gap in places such as Pennsylvania and Florida.

Graph showing polls in key states

However, the argument doesn’t concern most Democrats, especially the few who are willing to say out loud that they expect Mr Biden to comfortably win in November.

“I think it has the potential to end, if not a landslide in the proportions of 1984, then a big win, and a lot bigger than what we’ve been used to in the last 20 years,” said Matt Bennett. , co-founder of the Democratic think -Tank Troisième Voie.

“People are unlikely to say, I’m going to roll the dice and take a chance on this guy who’s been president for four years,” he added. “They know what they think of Trump. He won’t change his mind much by November 3. “

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