Six days from the US election: What you need to know

Early voting continues to surge as Donald Trump and Joe Biden crisscross the US in the final days of the campaign.

Early voting in the US has surpassed 71 million so far, which is more than half of the total number of overall votes cast in 2016 [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]
Early voting in the US has surpassed 71 million so far, which is more than half of the total number of overall votes cast in 2016 [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Election day in the United States is next Tuesday, November 3 and Donald Trump and Joe Biden continue crisscrossing the country in these final days making their closing arguments to the millions of Americans who have yet to cast a ballot.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a record number of voters have already participated either by mail or via in-person early voting – more than 71 million, according to the US Elections Project. In the 2016 election, 57.2 million Americans voted early out of a total of 137.5 million who cast ballots.

Americans are not just voting for president next week. There are 35 US Senate races on the ballot, which will determine whether Republicans hold on to their majority, and all 435 US House races are up for grabs, where Democrats are not only expected to keep their majority but potentially expand it.

Where the candidates are today

Trump holds campaign rallies in Bullhead City, Arizona, along the Nevada border, and in Phoenix, Arizona. Biden will talk about coronavirus and healthcare in Wilmington, Delaware. Vice President Mike Pence travels to Wisconsin and Michigan and Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will campaign in Arizona.

Arizona, which Trump won by 3.5 percentage points in 2016, has become an important battleground state. Democrats feel the state’s changing demographics – an influx of Latino voters and shifting political sentiments in the suburbs of Phoenix – give them a good shot at capturing the state’s 11 electoral votes for the first time since Bill Clinton won there in 1996.

Poll position

Expect a flurry of polls on Wednesday and the rest of the week as pollsters process their surveys begun after last Thursday night’s presidential debate.

A new set of polls from The Washington Post/ABC News shows Biden with leads among likely voters in two important Midwestern states that Trump won in 2016 – Michigan and Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the poll shows Biden up 17 points over Trump, 57-40 percent. That is a much larger spread than recent polling has shown there as RealClearPolitics’ average of Wisconsin polls has Biden up 5.5 percent over Trump.

In Michigan, Biden leads Trump 51-44 percent. The common thread between the two states is that coronavirus seems to be a major factor. In both states, voters trust Biden over Trump by double digits to handle the pandemic and large majorities support the use of masks and restrictions on businesses and public gatherings, or “shutdowns” as Trump says repeatedly on the campaign trail. The polls have a margin of error of +/-4 percent.

In case you missed it

“Law and order” returns: Trump is attempting to take political advantage of this week’s violent protests in Philadelphia, saying at a Wisconsin rally on Tuesday: “Philadelphia was torn up by Biden supporting radicals … Biden stands with the riders and I stand with the heroes of law enforcement.” Overnight, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the riots “the most recent consequence of the liberal Democrats’ war against the police” and said the White House “stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all federal resources to end these riots”. Philadelphia called in the Pennsylvania National Guard to help deal with the unrest.

No stimulus: Nancy Pelosi slammed the Trump administration for having “failed miserably” to pass another round of coronavirus relief aid before election day, killing hopes for a stimulus package before Americans head to the polls in just one week.

Election misinformation: Latino voters in important swing states like Florida are being hit with a wave of Spanish-language misinformation ahead of the November 3 elections, in which their votes could play a key role in the outcome.

Source: Al Jazeera

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