U.S. President Donald Trump is chasing challenger Joe Biden close in polls in Pennsylvania and Florida, the two key swing states for the November presidential election in the United States. Trump’s surge in Pennsylvania, which accounts for 20 out of 538 votes in the electoral college, is considered to be highly unusual as it is the hometown of Joe Biden and a long-standing stronghold of the Democrats. In fact, Trump won Pennsylvania narrowly four years ago even after lagging in the polls.
According to the RealClearPolitics (RCP), a poll data site, the average approval rating for Trump in Pennsylvania stood at 44.8%, merely 4.4 percentage points lower than Biden’s (49.2%). The gap shrank fast from 7.3 over the past six days. The surge in his approval rating is attributed to the all-out canvassing effort from Trump himself and his second son Eric Trump as well as Vice President Mike Pence.
The RCP reported that the gap in approval ratings between Biden (48.2%) and Trump (46.8%) in Florida stands at only 1.4 percentage points. The figure has come down a bit from the 3-4 percentage points from a few days earlier. The Hill, a political newspaper, said on Friday that the approval ratings for Biden and Trump tied at 48% in Florida. The race is turning increasingly neck and neck, with the gap between the two candidates tapering off to within 5 percentage points in a number of swing states including North Carolina (2.7 percentage points) and Arizona (3.9 percentage points) among others.
On balance, Biden is certainly faring better than his Republican contender, but his win cannot be guaranteed unless he wins the swing states for sure. As the U.S. presidential election adopts a winner-takes-it-all system, the voting results in several core swing states barring the traditional strongholds for each camp often determine who rises to top office.
According to the Financial Times, Biden and Trump are expected to secure 279 and 125 Electoral College votes, respectively, based on the current approval ratings. However, if Trump manages to win over the 16 votes from Pennsylvania and Michigan, the two contested states considered to be favorable for Biden, it will deal a hefty blow to the Democratic candidate. Another crucial factor is the prevalence of “shy Trump” voters, which upended the election results in 2016.
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