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US 2020: Between the ‘sleeping’ Joe and the ‘talking’ Trump

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Trump, Biden

Arogbonlo Israel

In a Democratic System of Government, the election is an essential process of choosing a leader or other representatives by popular vote. One of such is the forthcoming Presidential election in the United States of America slated for November 3 where over 50 million voters will be deciding who leads them in White House for another four years.

The eye-popping figure is a sign of intense interest in the contest between Republican Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, as well as Americans’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), which has killed more than 200,000 people across the United States in the recent times.

Assessing the experience of the two candidates should lend us a better perspective of who is the best fit for the mantle of leadership, especially with the duo pooling weights in the battleground states in recent studies.

Having defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a wide margin of votes, Donald Trump is seeking his reelection bid to lead the Americans for another four years.

The Republican president is being challenged by Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, who is best known as Barack Obama’s vice-president but has been in US politics since the 1970s.

Also read: Democrats kick as U.S. Senate confirms Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

In US, national polls are a good guide as to how popular a candidate is across the country as a whole, but they’re not necessarily a good way to predict the result of the election. In 2016, for instance, the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton led in the polls and won nearly three million more votes than Donald Trump, but she still lost – that’s because the country uses an electoral college system, so winning the most votes doesn’t always win you the election.

By all indications, Joe Biden has been ahead of Donald Trump in most national polls since the start of the year. He has hovered around 50% in recent months and has had a 10-point lead on occasions.

By contrast, in 2016 the polls were far less clear and just a couple of percentage points separated Mr Trump and his then-rival Hillary Clinton at several points as election day neared.

Who will win Florida’s poll?

Florida is considered a key determinant factor in deciding who polls the major votes among the two candidates for the November 3 election –
Twenty years after the late NBC political reporter Tim Russert famously predicted that “Florida, Florida, Florida” would decide the 2000 election, the Sunshine State remains the most coveted Election Night prize. And it’s just as divided as it was at the turn of the millennium.

Recent polls gave slight edge to Biden, though most are within the margin of error. Trump has few paths to victory without Florida. Biden has other routes but would love to deliver a first-round blow to the president because the silent middle is sick and tire of the latter and would rather prefer shifting towards the Republican candidate.

Another reason is Trump’s actions, once considered a political strength, have grown increasingly tiresome to a majority of Floridians, including potential swing voters, polls say. Seven in 10 self-described moderates said in a CBS-You Gov survey that they dislike the way Trump handles himself. About as many said they don’t find him truthful.

The COVID-19 factor

The COVID-19 pandemic is another crucial factor to consider in determining who wins the November 3 poll.

Since the start of the year, the pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 in the US, back on the spotlight. Hence, the poll now fully depends on the pragmatic approach of the who-to-be President in tackling the pandemic in such a way that there will be a lasting solution to the high wave of infections in the country.

On his response to the pandemic, just 35% of Americans approve of how the incumbent president has handled the crisis. That figure climbs among Republicans, but only to 76%, according to data from an ABC News/Ipsos poll.

A similar Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that about half of respondents believed he could have avoided contracting the disease altogether if he had practised greater social distancing and worn a face mask of which his rival Biden is taking serious advantage of as one of his campaign strategies.

The battleground States

In the electoral college system the US uses to elect its president, each state is given a number of votes based on how many members it sends to Congress – House and Senate. A total of 538 electoral college votes are up for grabs, so a candidate needs to hit 270 to win.

Most states nearly always vote the same way, meaning that in reality there are just a handful of states where both candidates stand a chance of winning.

At the moment, polls in the battleground states look good for Joe Biden but things can change very quickly, especially when Donald Trump’s involved.

The polls suggest Mr Biden has big leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – three industrial states his Republican rival won by margins of less than 1% to clinch victory in 2016. Below is the breakdown of polling averages in the battleground states:

State/BIDEN/TRUMP/Who won in 2016?

*Arizona 47.0% 47.0% Trump by 3.6%

*Florida 48.3% 46.9% Trump by 1.2%

*Georgia 47.7% 47.3% Trump by 5.2%

*Iowa 47.4% 46.4% Trump by 9.5%

*Michigan 50.6% 42.4% Trump by 0.2%

*Minnesota 48.0% 43.3% Clinton by 1.5%

*Nevada 48.3% 43.7% Clinton by 2.4%

*New Hampshire 53.4% 42.4% Clinton by 0.4%

*North Carolina 48.1% 47.5% Trump by 3.7%

*Ohio 46.2% 46.2% Trump by 8.2%

*Pennsylvania 49.8% 45.5% Trump by 0.7%

*Texas 45.7% 48.0% Trump by 9.1%

*North Carolina 48.1% 47.5% Trump by 3.7%

*Georgia 47.7% 47.3% Trump by 5.2%

*Arizona 47.0% 47.0% Trump by 3.6%

*Florida 48.3% 46.9% Trump by 1.2%

*Iowa 47.4% 46.4% Trump by 9.5%

*Ohio 46.2% 46.2% Trump by 8.2%

*Pennsylvania 49.8% 45.5% Trump by 0.7%

*Wisconsin 50.3% 43.9% Trump by 0.8%

*Nevada 48.3% 43.7% Clinton by 2.4%

*Minnesota 48.0% 43.3% Clinton by 1.5%

*New Hampshire 53.4% 42.4% Clinton by 0.4%

*Michigan 50.6% 42.4% Trump by 0.2%

*Virginia 51.7% 40.3% Clinton by 5.4%

Source: Real Clear Politics, Associated Press.

But it’s the battleground states where Mr Trump won big in 2016 that his campaign team will be most worried about. His winning margin in Iowa, Ohio and Texas was between 8-10% back then but it’s looking much closer in all three at the moment.

That’s one of the reasons why some political analysts rate his chances of re-election as low as things stand. FiveThirtyEight, a political analysis website, says Mr Biden is “favoured” to win the election, while The Economist says he is “very likely” to beat Mr Trump. The big question now is, who wins the US 2020 Presidential election between the sleeping Joe and the talking Trump?

Additional information by Mike Hills and Will Dahlgreen

Vanguard News

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