‘Brutal’ new polls spell trouble for Trump in battleground states

A New York Times/Siena College survey shows diminishing support for Trump among white voters in some key swing states.

Trump relied on white voters in battleground states to win the Electoral College in 2016 [File: Morry Gash/The Associated Press]
Trump relied on white voters in battleground states to win the Electoral College in 2016 [File: Morry Gash/The Associated Press]

New polls out on Thursday show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden trouncing US President Donald Trump in six battleground states that were key to the president’s electoral victory in 2016.

The New York Times/Siena College poll showed Biden leading by an average of nine percentage points in six key states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. The same poll released in October of last year showed Biden up by just two percentage points across the influential states.

Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the United States, creating unprecedented job loss and economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, protests against institutional racism, following the high-profile killings of Black Americans by police, have swept the country.

Perhaps most troubling for Trump, the new poll also showed diminishing support for Trump among white voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. White, working-class voters in those states make up a disproportionate amount of the electorate who will go to the polls in November.

Their votes were key to Trump’s 2016 victory in the Electoral College, the system in US presidential elections in which the winner is decided based on electors from each state, who usually vote based on the state’s popular vote and not the overall national popular vote. Trump lost the national popular vote in the last election.

While Biden only slightly beat out Trump for the white vote in those states, according to the New York Times, the most recent poll shows a significant shift, as Trump carried the group by nearly 10 points over then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The revelation comes as Trump visits Wisconsin on Thursday, his most recent campaign event after a lacklustre rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday.

The Marquette University Law Poll, considered Wisconsin’s most reliable, shows Trump trailing Biden by eight points in that state.

During his stop, Trump is set to visit a shipyard, followed by a town hall broadcast by Fox News channel. The day will be a far cry from Trump’s last visit to the state in January, when he staged a massive, raucous rally at an arena in downtown Milwaukee.

Since then, large crowds have been banned in the urban centre and the state unemployment rate has exploded from 3.5 percent to 12 percent.

The Marquette poll also shows Trump sliding with Republicans in the state.

In May, the poll showed Trump ahead of Biden among Republicans in Wisconsin by 93 percent to 1 percent. However, by June, his lead over Biden had dropped to 83 percent to 8 percent.

Meanwhile, voters registered as Independents preferred Trump over Biden in May by 34 percent to 27 percent, the poll showed. That reversed in June, with Biden preferred 38 percent to Trump’s 30 percent.

Other findings

Overall across the six battleground states, 42 percent of those polled approve of how Trump is handling his presidency, while 54 percent disapprove, according to the New York Times/Siena College poll.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of voters in the states, a majority, say they prefer a president who focuses on the cause of nationwide protests, even when those protests get out of hand. Meanwhile, 31 percent say they prefer to support a candidate who promises to be tough on demonstrations that cross the line.

Moreover, despite the high rate of unemployment, 55 percent of voters in the six battleground states said they think the government should prioritise stopping the spread of the coronavirus even if it hurts the economy – a contrast to Trump’s economy-first approach to the pandemic.

Trump, however, continues to garner high approval in the six states when it comes to the economy and who voters would prefer to have lead relations with China.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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