Florida polls: Trump gains in battle for crucial state as race tightens

Sunshine state now a ‘toss up’  as president campaigns in Nevada

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
@AndrewBuncombe
Sunday 13 September 2020 00:05
Donald Trump calls US leaders 'stupid' and mocks 'tough guy' Joe Biden

Donald Trump has made gains in the battle for the crucial state of Florida, as new polling data shows the race tightening.

At the end of July, one poll put Joe Biden as many as 13 points ahead in the Sunshine state. Even if that poll was a possible outlier, the Democratic nominee had largely managed to maintain a lead in Florida, which carries 29 electoral college votes.

But a poll by NBC News suggests the race is effectively tied, with both Mr Biden and Mr Trump on 48 points.  Another poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University put support for Mr Biden at 48 per cent to Trump’s 45 per cent,  within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

It had been Quinnipiac University that had given Mr Biden a 13 point lead over the president in its July poll.

Meanwhile, also this week, the Cook Political Report, which is widely respected by Democrats and Republicans, shifted its assessment of Florida to “Toss Up”, from “Lean Democrat”.

It also reconsidered the state of Nevada another battlegroup from “Likely Democrat” to “Lean Democrat”, another indication of how many battleground states are tightening in Mr Trump’s favour, 50 days from election day.

Trump on terror

Of all the states, few are considered more important to win than Florida. That is especially so for Republicans who have little likely chance of securing the 270 electoral college votes required to win the White House without it.

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told The Independent he believed Mr Trump was going to win Florida. He also admitted if he lost it, it would spell very bad news for Republicans

“My view is this is going to come down to one or two states. I think it’s going to be really close,” he said. “I'll say this: it could be an early night. I mean, if Trump loses Florida, it’s going to be an early night, and Biden’s going to win.”

The developments come as Mr Trump headed to Nevada on Saturday, trying to drum up more support in a state where polls show Mr Biden still leading, and to raise money for a campaign that is facing a possible cash crunch.

An average of polls of Nevada by RealClearPolitics gives Mr Biden a six-point lead.

But the Cook Political Report said there were signs the state had become more competitive in recent weeks.

“According to data provided to the Cook Political Report by the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics, the Trump campaign outspent Biden on the Nevada airwaves in June and July $2.4M to $225,000,” it wrote in a post on its website.

“By August, however, the Biden campaign was on TV in a big way — spending $2m. They have booked another $2.2, for September and $1.6m for October. The Trump campaign was dark in August but has pre-booked $1.m for September and another $3.7m for October.”

Mr Trump will hold a rally in Reno on Saturday evening, a “Latinos for Trump” event and another rally in Las Vegas on Sunday, followed by a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday.

He then plans to head to California to see the damage caused by recent wildfires.

“Nevadans don't need more bluster from the president, and don't need his reckless rallies that ignore the realities of COVID-19 and endanger public health,” Mr Biden said in a statement on Saturday. 

“Nevada families need solutions - from containing the pandemic to building the economy back better to making quality health care more accessible to millions of Americans.”

Additional reporting by Reuters