Michigan to Florida, these five battleground states will determine Electoral College winner and the presidency

Biden is holding a 7.8 percent lead over Trump nationally, but these battleground states are polling much narrower


                            Michigan to Florida, these five battleground states will determine Electoral College winner and the presidency
(Getty Images)

You may want to closely monitor five states above all others to understand the odds in Tuesday's highly-anticipated US election. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Biden is holding a 7.8 percent lead over Trump nationally. However, the battleground states are the ones that will truly determine the Electoral College results, and in turn, the presidency. Biden's lead in these states is a lot less secure than he'd like. Of course, state-level polls remain suspect after they were wildly off base in 2016. This is because Republicans, as well as Democrats, are reportedly refusing to take part in them or to reveal who they are really working for. The following states — the Great Lakes battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and the Sunbelt battlegrounds of Arizona, Florida  — could either hand the White House to the Democrats or grant Trump a second term.

Michigan

Current poll average: Biden 50% | Trump 44%

People gather on the Capitol's steps to express their unhappiness with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Safe, Stay Home executive order on April 15, 2020, in Lansing, Michigan. (Getty Images)

When compared to the rest of the battleground states that turned red four years ago, Michigan is probably likely to swing back to blue this time around.

Biden's average lead was cut down by 6.5-percentage points in recent polls, albeit that is still larger than the support Hillary Clinton enjoyed headed into the 2016 election. Biden was ahead of Trump 48%-41% going into the final weekend, per the latest Detroit Free Press poll. Trump won Michigan by a slim margin of two-tenths of 1% of the vote, which came to 10,704 votes. Trump, nonetheless, continues to campaign like someone who is confident of winning the state, holding a series of rallies over the last couple of weeks. His efforts could bear fruit if he is able to somehow cut into Biden's apparent edge in the suburbs. That said, Trump also planned three more trips to Michigan in the final leg of his re-election campaign, including a Monday night rally in Grand Rapids, where he memorably finished his pathbreaking 2016 campaign.

Wisconsin

Current poll average: Biden 50% | Trump 44%

Men walk towards law enforcement with their hands up on August 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Getty Images)

Trump visited Wisconsin five times in October despite the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to hold on to a state he won four years ago. His stops were in southern Wisconsin, the Republican suburbs of Milwaukee, unpredictable western Wisconsin, the historic battleground of Green Bay, as well as the city of Kenosha. On the other hand, the Democratic presidential nominee made only one visit to the state in October -- albeit he has considerably outspent Trump on TV ads in the final weeks of his campaign and continues to lead in mainstream polls. Wisconsin, a high-turnout state, has cast around 1.9 million votes ahead of election day, which is already more than 60% of its 2016 vote, per USA Today. Among those who've already voted, Biden apparently holds a comfortable lead. However, the President undoubtedly has a large edge among those who plan to vote on November 3.

Florida

Current poll average: Biden 48% | Trump 47%

A person shows her support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as boaters pass by showing their support for President Donald Trump during a parade down the Intracoastal Waterway on October 3, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Getty Images)

Florida is still a toss-up heading into Election Day and is being closely monitored as it could have final results as early as Tuesday. As opposed to other swing states, Florida begins counting mail ballots weeks before the election -- thereby allowing it to finalize results much earlier. Should Trump lose Florida, it will be difficult for him to contest election results in other states as long as ballots continue to be counted after Election Day. Nonetheless, polls have indicated that the President has a good chance of winning the state this time. The Real Clear Politics average of Florida polls last week briefly placed Trump ahead of Biden for the first time since April. The former vice president was up by 1.4 percentage points in the polling average on Sunday, which is arguably well within striking distance for the Republican incumbent. 

Pennsylvania

Current poll average: Biden 50% | Trump 46%

A voter casts his early voting ballot at a dropbox outside of City Hall on October 17, 2020, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

Trump's favorability among seniors could make or break his chances in Pennsylvania, considering they make up 18 percent of the Keystone State’s electorate. Four years ago, he won the state by less than one percentage point. “Seniors more than anyone else are worried about the pandemic,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told the New York Post. “Biden is leading with seniors, as Clinton never did." An October 15 Morning Consult poll found that the Democratic candidate was leading by 9 percentage points among Pennsylvanians aged over 65.

The Pittsburgh suburb of Westmoreland County, as an example, has Democrats and Republicans equally divided but 22 percent of voters are seniors. However, the GOP has significant momentum across the state. Trump’s 44,000-vote win in 2016 led to a four-year voter registration drive that has reportedly removed at least 136,000 votes off the Democrats’ numerical advantage in the state.

Arizona

Current poll average: Biden 47% | Trump 47%

An automobile shop displays a sign reading in part 'Save Our Economy Stop The Virus' along historic Route 66 amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 24, 2020, in Kingman, Arizona. (Getty Images)

Trump won Arizona by 91,000 votes in 2016, which was a relatively comfortably 3.6 percent margin. However, the formerly ruby-red state has been slowly adding Democratic voters in the last four years, and they are hoping to flip the state blue for the first time since 1996. Republicans, however, reportedly have a secret weapon this time around. According to the New York Post, 145,000 conservatives sat out the 2016 presidential contest. The report states that 75,000 Arizonans in heavily evangelical, Catholic and Mormon districts did cast ballots in 2016 but left the presidential line blank. “These were right-leaning voters who did not trust Donald Trump,” GOP strategist Sean Noble said. Meanwhile, these Trump-skeptic conservatives also gave the Libertarian Party 70,000 more votes than it typically receives at the time. “The judiciary is huge for these voters,” Noble explained. “Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court may win them over.”

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