As the 2020 presidential race continues to dominate headlines across the globe, pundits of all stripes have predicted that with only a week to go until election day that Democratic contender and former vice president Joe Biden is in a double digit lead over President Trump with a clear path to victory in the electoral college.
A new poll however gives some hope to Trump supporters as it finds our nation’s 45th president in a slim lead of Biden for more than a month. When it pertains to President Trump defying poll numbers and pulling out unexpected victories despite constant media scrutiny, his victory in the 2016 race for the White House proved just that and much more. In 2016, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was down by more than 5 percentage points in many national polls
Newsweek reported on Tuesday that “the Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday found that Trump was favored by 48 percent of likely voters, compared to 47 percent for Biden. Another 3 percent said they would vote for a third party candidate, while 2 percent were undecided. A Rasmussen poll released on September 16, also giving Trump a 1 point advantage, was the last publicly released national survey to show the president in the lead.”
A JNS report indicated that Biden is ahead of Trump in various polls of key battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. CNN has Biden leading Trump 50 percent to 46 percent in Florida. USA Today has Biden leading 49 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania.
A Hill/Harris poll has Biden leading 54 percent to 43 percent in Michigan. Real Clear Politics has Biden leading 49.7 percent to 43.5 percent in Wisconsin. Fox News polls are similar, except that they show a 3 percent lead by Trump in Ohio.
In 2016, with two weeks to go before the election, the numbers were not that much different from those of today for these key battleground states. For example, Real Clear Politics had Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton besting Trump in Florida 47 percent to 44.6 percent; in Pennsylvania, 47.2 percent to 42 percent; in Michigan, 47.5 percent to 37.5 percent; and in Wisconsin, 45.3 percent to 39.3 percent.
VOA News reported that typically, all of a state’s Electoral College votes go to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state. Both Trump and Biden are looking to piece together state-by-state victories to get to a majority of 270 in the 538-member Electoral College, where the most populous states hold the most sway.
Trump lost the national popular vote four years ago and is likely to again this time, but he retains a chance to win the presidency a second time in the Electoral College if he can claim wins in key battleground states he is visiting in the final days of the contentious campaign, as was reported by VOA.
Four years ago, Trump narrowly won three northern states – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – that traditionally have voted for Democrats, according to the VOA report. He likely needs to capture at least Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, along with holding other key states he won in 2016, in order to get re-elected.
On Tuesday, Trump, fresh from presiding over Monday night’s White House swearing-in ceremony for newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is heading to a rally in the Michigan capital of Lansing and a stop in the small city of West Salem, Wisconsin, before leaving for the visit to Omaha, Nebraska’s biggest city.
VOA reported that at large outdoor rallies, Trump has contended that he successfully helped build the American economy before it was decimated this year by the onslaught of the coronavirus, and that he can restore the economy again.
Newsweek reported that the candidates were statistically tied in the poll since the result falls well within a 2.5 margin of error. The poll was conducted online and over the phone among 1,500 likely voters on October 21, October 22 and October 25. The firm had been releasing weekly polls of the presidential race, but Monday’s survey was the first of several daily polls planned to be released until Election Day on November 3.
According to a Rasmussen job approval poll released Monday, it showed that 52 percent of those polled had given their approval of Trump’s performance, as opposed to 46 percent of those polled who gave their disapproval.
Another polling analysis web site, FiveThirtyEight’s average of approval polls gave Trump a 42.7 percent approval rating and a 53.5 percent disapproval rating as of Monday night, as was reported by NBC.
It was also reported that FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast gave Trump a 12 percent chance of winning the election on Monday. The site gave Trump a 24.8 percent chance of winning eight days before the 2016 election, when he defied polls and many predictions by defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.
An NBC report indicated that in 2016, exit polls found that voters in key states who made up their minds at the last minute broke heavily for Trump, who was running to topple the status quo. But this year, it’s Biden who is the “change” candidate.
VOA reported that more than 66 million Americans have already cast early ballots, two-thirds of them by mail and one-third in person at polling stations. Many voters say they are looking to avoid coming face-to-face with others in the expected long lines of people waiting to cast ballots next Tuesday.
AP reported that while Biden worked to expand the electoral map in the South, Trump focused on the Democrats’ “blue wall” states that he flipped in 2016 — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and maintained a far busier travel schedule taking him to much more of the country.
In Lansing, Michigan’s capital city, Trump talked up the economy, which he noted was humming before the pandemic hit, as was reported by AP. He said, “This election is a matter of economic survival for Michigan. Look what I’ve done.
Even as Biden argued that the country could rise above politics, he went after his election rival, accusing Trump anew of bungling the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has seen new cases surging in many areas, and failing to manage the economic fallout or combat institutional racism and police brutality that have sparked widespread demonstrations, as was reported by AP.
One particular group of people, who hitherto this election had never really actively participated in the electoral process on the kind of grand scale which they are currently involved with are Orthodox Jews from New York City and the surrounding suburbs.
As was previously reported on the Jewish Voice web site, writer Lieba Nesis states that “a historic letter by the leading Rabbis in America was released in support of Donald Trump on October 25th. In an unprecedented show of unity the Bobov, Munkach, Vizhnitz, both Satmar Rebbes, along with the head of the Crown Heights Bais Din and the Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood, Philadelphia, and South Fallsburg, all sent a letter of appreciation and blessing to Trump.”
Ms. Nesis adds that, “Undoubtedly, a large group of secular Jews will continue to show support for the Democratic left. However, in this time of rising anti-Semitism and the hijacking of the Democrat party by the anti-Semitic left this election is the most consequential in the history of the Jewish people.”
Nesis’ article also indicates that a recent survey conducted by Ami Magazine revealed that a whopping 83 percent of Orthodox Jews in New York City would pull the lever for Trump.
This past Sunday, a Trump 2020 car parade originating in Monsey, Flatbush, Boro Park, and Manhattan converged on Marine Park in Brooklyn for a rally heralding Trump’s manifold accomplishments since taking the helm as the leader of the free world in January of 2017. Hundreds of vehicles could be seen with American flags and Trump 2020 banners flying from them as these vehicles flooded the streets of these areas with an enthusiasm the Biden campaign has failed to ignite, as was reported by Nesis.
In terms of the fate of down ballot candidates across the country, VOA reported that with days left until the election, Democrats are in a position to win a handful of Senate races that could give them control of the chamber in 2021. No matter who wins the White House, party control of the Senate will be a key factor determining how much work gets done in Washington for the next two years.
Republicans currently have a 53-47 Senate majority. If Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the presidency, Democrats would need a net pickup of just three Senate seats to assume the majority. If Trump is elected to a second term, Democrats would need to gain four Senate seats to have a working majority. (AP, VOA, NBC, Newsweek)
(Jewish Voice volunteer contributor, Fern Sidman, also provided research material for this article)