Where the Race Stands with Just 8 Weeks to Go; Biden Leads, But it May Be a Nail-Biter
The final lap of the election begins today. The dust has settled from the nominating conventions and there are just eight weeks remaining until election day. The first of three presidential debates will be held in four weeks, on September 29th, and mail-in voting has already begun in North Carolina, with several other states starting shortly. One of the most momentous elections in US history is underway.
Here are four things to know about the race:
1. National Vote: The race has been remarkably stable since Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination in the Spring. Biden's lead nationally is between 7 and 8 points now, just as it was in June. The current polling average is 50.6% for Biden to 43.1% for Trump, and that tracks fairly closely to the President's approval rating which is underwater by about 9 percentage point [Approve-43.3% to Disapprove-52.6%].
Unless something radically changes, Biden will win the popular vote by a much larger margin than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. But, as we have noted before, Trump could still pull out an Electoral College victory as he did four years ago.
2. The Electoral College Battlegrounds: The race for president will be won in seven battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by slender margins in 2016, but he is trailing in each today by between 3 to 6 percentage points. Joe Biden also leads in Arizona [5%], Florida [2%] and Minnesota [6%]. The race in North Carolina is essentially tied.
3. Bellwether States: Of the battlegrounds, we have chosen Wisconsin and Arizona as bellwethers. If Biden pulls further ahead in Wisconsin [7+ points] and Arizona [6+ points], expect him to enjoy a relative easy victory. However, if Trump pulls even with Biden in Arizona and Wisconsin, that will be a sign that the President is staging a come-back.
4. Generic Congressional Ballot: The other polling we will watch closely is the generic congressional ballot [GCB] which measures which party's congressional candidate respondents plan to vote for this year. The respondents aren't given candidate names, just parties, Democrat or Republican. It essentially asks likely voters to name the party they most trust to run the country. Democrats currently have a 7.3% advantage in the GCB and that has also been quite stable going all the way back to 2018's "Blue Wave" election which saw Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.
As we have noted before, the GCB is often a better gauge than head-to-head polling of the presidential race. it's a great indicator of the general political climate at any given moment, and it was amazingly accurate in predicting the outcome of the popular vote in 2016. If President Trump is going to win reelection, the GOP deficit in the GCB would probably have to close to about 2-3 points. However, if Democrats can maintain a GCB advantage of 5-7 points, Joe Biden will be our next president.
The most likely scenario is that the race will tighten over the next 60 days, with Democrats holding a 3-4 point GCB advantage on November 3rd. That will be a nail-biter.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content