Joe Biden has uncertain road to presidency across swing states

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The electoral map at the moment slightly favors Joe Biden. This is because of demographic shifts in several states as well as the declining support for President Trump among voters who fueled his win four years ago. But with the uncertain nature of the coronavirus crisis and the economic recovery, there is no clear advantage for Biden. If Trump is able to make a case that he successfully dealt with the current pandemic and set the country on a strong path out of this, then he will no doubt win the election.

Biden holds a narrow edge in swing states. He leads by at least 5 points in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, according to Public Policy Polling. He leads by 4 points in Florida as well, according to Quinnipiac University. The data reveals independents and some moderate Republicans in these states have defected from Trump during the coronavirus crisis.

It is likely that a substantial number of those independents and defected moderate Republicans will drift back to Trump, both in swing states and red states where Trump has lost ground, if he could deliver a convincing economic message. However, his support is still eroding among certain groups in a way that may be difficult to overcome in November.

In Florida, Trump is losing ground with older voters and white voters with a college degree. Biden leads by 10 points with older voters, a group that Trump won by a landslide. Biden leads by 11 points with white voters with a college degree, another group that Trump won by a clear margin. There are some states where these demographic shifts and eroding support for Trump signal the potential of surprising wins for Biden this fall.

This is the case in Arizona, a red state that has trended more blue, where Biden leads by 4 points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. His path to victory in Arizona can be attributed to falling support for Trump among suburban voters and Hispanic voters. To understand this electoral shift in action, look to Maricopa County, a diverse area that includes Phoenix and Scottsdale with a high Hispanic population. Biden now leads by 12 points, despite the fact that Trump won the region by nearly 4 points.

Similarly, there are electoral opportunities for Biden in Georgia and North Carolina, red states that Trump carried four years ago. In Georgia, there is declining support for Trump among suburban voters and a rising swath of registered black voters, who now comprise a third of registered voters for the state, so many believe that Biden can possibly flip Georgia.

In North Carolina, Biden has a narrow advantage in the state overall, while Trump faces eroding support in sprawling suburban communities, such as those areas around Charlotte and Raleigh. Biden leads by 16 points among suburban voters. This marks a new troubling development for Trump, who won suburban voters in the state by a wide margin of victory.

Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008 by generating a high turnout of black voters. Biden could do the same with a strong “get out the vote” campaign, given his support with black voters. There are some doors for Biden to win in traditional swing states and might even upset Trump in a few traditional red states. However, the odds for Biden are based on the ability, or lack thereof, of Trump to make a case to voters that he has set the country on track toward an economic recovery this year.

Douglas Schoen is a consultant who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton and to the campaign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His latest book is “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership.”

Tags Democrats Election Government Joe Biden Politics President Republicans

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