US election: Biden well ahead of Trump nationally but not in battleground states, new poll shows

Former vice president’s numbers leave no room for complacency in campaign currently being fought almost entirely through media

Andrew Naughtie
Thursday 14 May 2020 15:33 BST
Joe Biden's new campaign ad attacks Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic

A new poll indicates that while Joe Biden holds a reasonably solid national lead over Donald Trump, the former vice president has not yet pulled ahead in the swing states that could decide the election.

Conducted by CNN and polling company SSRS, the survey shows Mr Biden with a five-point national lead (51 per cent to 46). He also outpaces Mr Trump on various important factors: he cares more about “people like you” (54-42), is more trusted in a crisis (51-45) and more honest and trustworthy (53-38).

Where Mr Trump does have an advantage over Mr Biden is on the economy, where he is the more trusted to handle it by a margin of 54-42.

This is not lost on the president himself, who has bet that rescuing the economy from the effects of the coronavirus will be able to buoy his re-election campaign even as the rocketing number of cases and deaths threatens to bring him down.

The most worrying finding for Mr Biden, meanwhile, is that his national lead does not hold firm across what the pollsters defined as “battleground states” — the 15 states either candidate won by less than 8 points in 2016.

Taking those states as a whole, the poll puts Mr Biden seven points behind.

Assuming the numbers are accurate, this is still not an insurmountable challenge. Provided Mr Biden can hold every state Hillary Clinton won in 2016 — admittedly not a given — the former vice president only needs to pick up 38 more electoral college votes.

This he could do by either clawing back Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — the three pivotal rust belt states Ms Clinton lost on the night — or by assembling at least 38 electoral votes from others that Mr Trump carried.

Among the Trump states considered very much in play are Florida (29 electoral votes), North Carolina (15), and even the longtime Republican stronghold of Arizona (11), where the Democrats have made up ground rapidly in recent years.

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