One week before the U.S. election, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by nine percentage points in the polls, according to Ipsos.
When respondents were asked who they have already voted for or who they would support if they were voting today, 51 per cent of respondents chose Biden while 42 per cent backed Trump. The poll was conducted between Oct. 16 and 20.
The economy, jobs, health care, and the coronavirus remain the biggest problems facing the country, respondents said.
With seven days to go before Election Day, more than 61.1 million Americans have already voted in person or by mail, a pace of early voting that could lead to the highest turnout in more than a century, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida.
And with the final leg of the race coming to an end, Biden seems to be gaining slightly over Trump.
An Ipsos poll conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 showed that Biden was ahead of Trump by five percentage points (43 per cent to 38 per cent).
“Biden’s popularity has improved,” said Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs. “(But) there haven’t been any major changes in the polls, and overall there’s been a lot of stability.”
As of Tuesday morning, political analyst websites FiveThirtyEight and Decision Desk HQ both project Biden as the winner of the 2020 U.S. election. Biden is predicted to win 344 electoral votes and Trump 194, according to FiveThirtyEight.
According to Decision Desk HQ, Trump has a firm handle on states such as Oklahoma, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas and Nebraska. Biden “safe states” include Washington, California, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. Toss-up states include Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Ohio.
Compared to the 2016 election, Young said Biden is sitting in a more comfortable lead than Hillary Clinton was at this time.
Seven days before 2016 election, Clinton was slightly ahead in the polls with 45 per cent of the vote and Trump was at 41.5 per cent, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“Hillary started losing ground and took a tumble at this time, and a lot of it had to do with the Comey letter,” Young said.
But Young said just because Biden is ahead one week from the election, it does not mean it’s a victory for the former vice-president.
“There’s always a chance that Trump can catch up. Things can change, but it’s still a low likelihood. It will all be about who turns up at the polls,” he said.
And although Biden is leading in the national polls, winning electoral votes in the battleground states is usually the path to the White House, Young said.
There are six battleground states in the 2020 election. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina are viewed as most likely to determine the outcome.
Young explained that Biden is able to “lose some battleground states,” such as Florida and Arizona, as long as he wins other ones, like Pennsylvania and Michigan. However, Trump does not have enough of a lead to be able to lose that many states.
“Trump needs at least a combination of five of the battleground states. That path for him is more difficult,” Young said.
So where do Trump and Biden stand one week out from the election?
The race in Pennsylvania continues to be a “toss-up” with a small lead for Biden, according to the latest Ipsos polling.
Among respondents, Biden had 49 per cent of the votes and Trump was at 45 per cent (the week before, Biden was at 51 per cent and Trump at 44 per cent).
Trump’s approval rating stands at 46 per cent among all Pennsylvanians, higher than the national average, which hovers around 40 per cent, the poll found.
The coronavirus continued to be seen as the main problem facing the state (38 per cent), followed by the economy and jobs (19 per cent).
Forty-nine per cent of respondents said Biden would be better at handling the COVID-19 pandemic, while 41 per cent chose Trump.
In Wisconsin, Biden received a majority of the vote share (51 per cent), while Trump received 43 per cent, according to respondents (the week before, Biden was at 51 per cent and Trump at 44 per cent).
With the recent surge in coronavirus cases, respondents in Wisconsin viewed the pandemic as a major issue facing the state (47 per cent), and about 31 per cent said they want a presidential candidate who has a strong national plan for the issue, the poll stated.
Forty-eight per cent of respondents said Biden has a better position on the coronavirus, compared with 37 per cent who said the same about Trump.
Half of the respondents in Florida said they will vote for Biden (50 per cent) and 46 per cent said they will vote for Trump, according to Ipsos (the week before, polling showed the two candidates almost even, with Biden at 49 per cent and Trump at 47 per cent).
Trump’s approval rating sits at 46 per cent, higher than the national average, the poll found.
About 29 per cent of respondents in Florida said they want a candidate that has a robust plan to help the country recover from the coronavirus and 24 per cent said they want a candidate that has a strong plan for the economy.
Almost a majority of the respondents (47 per cent) said Biden would do a better job handling the pandemic than Trump (40 per cent).
According to Ipsos, 49 per cent of respondents said they will vote for Biden and 46 per cent will vote for Trump (the week before, Biden was at 50 per cent and Trump at 46 per cent).
Trump’s approval rating in Arizona stands at 45 per cent, the poll found.
About 30 per cent of respondents said they want a presidential candidate who has a strong plan to help the nation recover from the coronavirus, and 24 per cent said the same about the economy.
Biden is perceived to have a better plan on how to deal with COVID-19 by 46 per cent of Arizonians, compared to 40 per cent who say the same thing about Trump, the poll found.
Biden maintains a lead in Michigan, with 51 per cent of respondents choosing the former vice-president, compared to 44 per cent who said they will vote for Trump, according to Ipsos.
This is virtually unchanged from the last two waves of Ipsos surveys conducted earlier this month.
Thirty-three per cent of respondents said they want a candidate who can help with the fallout from the coronavirus and 19 per cent want one who has a strong economic plan.
Biden enjoys a 10 percentage point advantage on his plan to deal with COVID-19 (48 per cent) over Trump (38 per cent), the poll found.
The North Carolina race between Trump and Biden remains very close.
Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they will vote for Biden, while 46 per cent chose Trump, according to Ipsos.
Forty-seven per cent of the respondents approved of the job Trump is doing as president, higher than the national average.
North Carolinians were split between a presidential candidate that can provide a strong plan for coronavirus recovery (29 per cent) and a strong plan for the economy and job creation (24 per cent), the poll found.
Respondents were also torn between Trump (44 per cent) and Biden (44 per cent) when it comes to which candidate has a better plan to deal with the coronavirus.
— With files from Reuters
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