The 2020 Presidential Election: Where We Stand

Written By: Emma Carroll

As November draws closer, both Democratic and Republican campaigns have begun the final stretch of campaigning before voting officially starts. The recent GOP convention and the release of Bob Woodward’s book “Rage” have done little to raise or lower Donald Trump’s favorability. By contrast, Joe Biden is heavily favored to win on Election Day according to polling aggregation website, FiveThirtyEight.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are encouraging voters to request mail-in ballots. According to state election authorities, Democrats have a 3-to-1 lead over Republicans in mail-in vote requests. In addition, Democrats who did not vote in 2016 are requesting mail-in ballots for 2020. This information is particularly concerning to Republicans, who are relying on their voters showing up in-person on Election Day. President Trump has lambasted mail-in voting, claiming that the mail-in ballots will allow for widespread voter fraud. Trump’s claims about mail-in voting during his rallies have been riddled with inaccuracies. In North Carolina, he urged voters to vote once using the mail-in system, and once in person to test the system. Woodward’s “Rage”  has claimed that Trump knew that COVID-19 was much more deadly than the flu, and is an airborne virus. Trump has previously dismissed the seriousness of the coronavirus and treated mask-wearing with disdain. As of the writing of this article, roughly 194,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. 

Both of these recent events have led to polls reflecting the drop in approval for President Trump. After both Republican and Democratic National Conventions, both candidates got a small boost. Only Joe Biden, however, has gotten more popular. The polls conducted for Biden after the conventions gave him a 48% favorable rating and a 46% unfavorable rating. There is a 4-point increase in net favorability in the same polls before the conventions were held. While the uptick in point margins is small, it demonstrates an upward trend. While Biden left the conventions a bit more popular, Trump’s rating did not change from before the conventions. In past elections, favorability ratings have fluctuated by as much as 6.4% between post-convention polls and final polls. This means that there is plenty of time for ratings to change; however, the fact that neither candidate got a large or lasting boost from the conventions suggests that Americans are set in their choices for the election. The latest polls, as shown by FiveThirtyEight, project Biden with an average 7 to 8 point lead.

The 2020 election forecast, from FiveThirtyEight, shows Biden as favored to win the election. As a result of the 2016 elections, some swing states have turned very sharply. For some states, this was a significant departure from how they had voted in the past. While not all of these states are known as swing states, they indicate a swift change in how residents are voting. Based on the 2016 electoral map, the expectation by political analysts is that most states will shift again in 2020 although less drastically. This election is also expected to demonstrate further changes in future elections, potentially changing the electoral map in a way that has not been seen before. States to keep an eye on in the 2020 Presidential Election will be Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All of these states collectively represent 127 electoral votes. 

The most important message for voters to remember is that every vote counts. Of course, that is always the case, but we have never faced a political situation the likes of which we are currently facing. Every American should take a deep look at their desires for the future, and think seriously about which candidate is best suited to not only lead our country but lead us into a future in which we can be proud of our accomplishments.

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