Biden now leads in 6 states key to Trump’s 2016 victory
Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in every one of six key battleground states, all but erasing the advantage with White voters that Trump used to put together a razor-thin victory four years ago.
The New York Times/Siena College poll of swing states, together with national polls showing Biden with a double-digit lead, helps to draw an Electoral College map that will be increasingly difficult for Trump to win.
Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points in Pennsylvania and 11 in Michigan and Wisconsin, potentially reclaiming the three “blue wall” states that Trump broke through to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But the presumptive Democratic nominee also holds narrower leads in other states thought to be more reliably Republican, including Florida by 6 points, Arizona by 7 points and North Carolina by 9 points.
If the rest of the map remains unchanged, the poll results suggest a 335-203 Biden win in the Electoral College.
It’s a map that both candidates know well. The president traveled to Arizona on Tuesday to inspect construction of the Mexican border wall and flies to Wisconsin Thursday to visit a shipyard and broadcast a Fox News town hall.
Biden, who has largely remained within driving distance of his Delaware home since the coronavirus pandemic hit, will visit Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday for a health care event.
A repeat of Trump’s 2016 performance depends on his ability to keep at least one of the three “blue wall” states, where discontent over trade and the loss of manufacturing jobs helped propel him to the White House.
And while battleground state voters still give Trump high marks for his handling of the economy — a 56% approval rating — his response to the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests has overshadowed his economic policies.
Only 31% of battleground voters approve of Trump’s response to the Floyd protests, and 63% say they would rather that the president address the causes of discriminatory policing than cracking down on protesters.
The roots of Trump’s troubles in Michigan may be deeper. There, 37% of voters say Trump treated the state more unfairly than most in responding to the coronavirus after the president feuded with Governor Gretchen Whitmer over her criticism of the federal response.
Biden’s improved polling in battleground states comes from a cross-section of demographic groups, but the Times poll shows the most significant movement comes among White voters — especially college-educated ones — and young people. He’s also flipped voters age 65 and older to his column, which helps to explain his standing in Florida and Arizona.
Biden isn’t doing much better than Clinton with Black and Hispanic voters, despite widespread discontent with Trump’s handling of the Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last month.
The Times poll shows neither candidate getting more than 50% support in any battleground state, suggesting that there’s still room for undecided voters to have an impact.
And state-level polling — despite its key to forecasting the Electoral College result — is generally less reliable than national polling. In 2016, national polls were largely accurate in predicting a popular vote win for Clinton but failed to anticipate Trump’s narrow victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The margin of error for each state poll in the Times survey is plus-or-minus 4.1 to 4.6 percentage points.