Judging by the next US President odds from Paddy Power, and some of the recent polls, the general consensus seems to be that Joe Biden will defeat Donald Trump and bring the Democratic Party back into the White House. Biden, the Democratic nominee, is best known for serving as Barack Obama’s vice-president between 2009 and 2017, however, he is also the candidate now known for challenging Republican Trump in the 2020 US election.
As Election Day looms, polling companies have found themselves desperately trying to gauge the opinions of the nation, and help others to predict who will emerge as America’s next President. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the polls are saying so far!
National polls are usually a good representation of how a candidate is being received across the country as a whole, although they’re not always a good indicator of the overall result of the election. For example, in 2016, we saw Hillary Clinton leading the polls, having won almost three million more votes than her rival, Donald Trump. However, as we now know, she still lost.
This is because the US uses an Electoral College system, where each state gets a certain number of electors depending on how many representatives that they have in Congress. These electors get one vote each, which is meant to be dictated by who the people of the state have chosen, although in some areas the elector is allowed to vote for whoever they want. There’s a total of 538 electoral votes, and any candidate that gets more than half (270) of those votes, will win the election.
As it stands at our time of writing, Biden is in the lead with 51% of the national vote, with Trump eight points behind with 43% of the polls.
So, leading the national presidential polls does not guarantee you an overall electoral win. Just ask Hillary!
The power of the state
It soon becomes clear that the number of votes you win is less important than where you win them. The majority of states will vote the same way, rarely divided in who they choose to vote for, but there are some areas where both candidates stand a chance of winning. These are known as battleground states.
Much like the national polls, Biden seems to be taking the lead within the battleground states, although, with Trump on the scene, this could always take a rapid turn! Biden has taken a substantial lead in Michigan (50.4%), Pennsylvania (49.5%) and Wisconsin (49.3%), however these are three industrial states where his Republican rival won by less than 1% in the 2016 elections. So, anything’s possible!
The effect of Covid-19 on the polls
The dreaded words that are on everyone’s lips right now are the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has affected pretty much everything in our lives, including the US election. As the current reigning President, all eyes were on Trump for his response to the pandemic, with voters’ decisions set to be influenced by the effectivity of that response.
A poll conducted by ABC news with Ipsos showed that only 35% of Americans approve of how the president has handled the crisis. Narrow this scope to just Republicans and the number rises to 76% – but that’s to be expected. 72% of respondents felt that President Trump hadn’t taken the “risk of contracting the virus seriously enough”, showing concern for the Republican’s health, following his recent battle with coronavirus himself.
With the pandemic showing no signs of dissolving, it’ll be no surprise if the opinion on Trump’s handling of the crisis greatly affects the outcome of the 2020 US Election. With Biden leading the majority of the national polls, you could easily believe that he will emerge as the victor of the November election, but, as we’ve seen before, Trump could still overtake him in those final moments. With all this in mind, who do you think will win the race for President?