Former Vice-President Joe Biden has gone into the week of the US election with a significant lead in the national polls over President Donald Trump.
The 78-year-old former senator from Delaware holds a lead of anywhere between 8 points, according to the BBC’s collection and 12 points as shown by polling company 538. His lead in key swing states has also remained healthy in states that the President won in 2016 which were largely expected to go to Hilary Clinton, namely Michigan (8 Points), Wisconsin (8 points) and Pennsylvania (5 points). Polls also show the former Vice-President gaining narrow leads in states that went heavily to the Republicans 4 years ago. Mr Biden leads in states such as Georgia and Arizona, home to late Republican Senator and former Presidential Candidate John McCain, who was a staunch critic of President Trump before and after he took office, as well as being a long term friend of Biden.
Mr Biden also seems to be closing in on the President’s lead in the state of Texas. Long thought of as a safe Republican state, it has not voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. President Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016, but it has been clear over the past few years that the state has been growing slightly more liberal due to the rise of Hispanic voters and those with a college education as an electoral force. In 2018, Republican Ted Cruz only narrowly beat Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Mr Cruz’s three-point victory, in a state that normally heavily favours Republicans may possibly be a sign of things to come for the lone-star state. On October 30th, the state revealed that it had already surpassed its entire voting numbers from 2016 some 4 days out from election, with 9 million votes already cast. It is thought that the state may indeed surpass its record percentage turn out of registered voters, beating the 59% from 4 years ago. Mr Trump remains with a narrow lead but this is well within the margin of error that could see it fall to the Democrats for the first time in 44 years.
As the race draws to a close, the two candidates are embarking on a series of rallies across key swing states to either reinforce support or, in the case of the President, try to reduce any Biden lead to one where he could be confident of victory come election. The different measures the candidates are taking with regards to fears around the pandemic could not be more different. Mr Trump has continued to hold packed rallies with little social distancing as seen in Michigan, although the crowd at his rally in Rochester, Minnesota did seemingly have a greater distance. Conversely, Mr Biden has appeared at many of his campaign events online from his home. However, in the days leading up to the election, Mr Biden has held rallies in battleground states such as Iowa and Minnesota, the latter being a drive-in event allowing people to keep to social distancing rules in their own vehicle.
Coronavirus remains a central issue of the campaign and Mr Trump has renewed his attack on medical professionals by claiming that they are inflating the number of deaths so as to receive more funding from the government, a statement that has since been condemned by the American Medical Association. Mr Trump also attacked his rival and told supporters that there would be ‘no school, no graduations…no Christmas, no fourth of July’ if Mr Biden was elected. Mr Biden responded by saying at his own rally in Iowa that his plan was to ‘not shut down the economy’ but to ‘shut down the virus’.
With only days remaining, Mr Biden remains in a strong position to win back the White House for the Democrats. However, one only has to remember how wrong the polls were in 2016 to conclude that the incumbent President is by no means out of the race. He may be counting on a strong turnout on election day to remain in the Oval Office for another 4 years.
The campaign continues.