One Pandemic, Two Candidates: How COVID-19 Could Determine the Presidential Election Results
As the number of coronavirus cases in the country increases, the approval rates of Donald Trump and Joe Biden change dramatically.
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Just a week ago, polls in six key states showed a President Trump losing ground alarmingly to his campaign.
According to the New York Times, the numbers show that the president has lost the confidence of his constituents in states where an Electoral College victory in 2016 was in contention, with Joe Biden opening up a double-digit lead in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
" Mr. Trump’s once-commanding advantage among white voters has nearly vanished, a development that would all but preclude the president’s re-election if it persisted," the Times explains. " Mr. Biden now has a 21-point lead among white college graduates, and the president is losing among white voters in the three Northern battleground states — not by much, but he won them by nearly 10 points in 2016.”
While it's too early to assume a definitive trend in the polls, data collected by the Times found Biden leading the race by 14 points nationally, 50 percent to 36 percent, confirming that "the president's political standing has deteriorated sharply since October," when polls gave him only a two-percentage-point lead.
The decisive factor in this statistical shift appears to be precisely the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of 132,678 people and infected more than 3 million citizens.
Although the Trump administration has argued that the number of cases has increased with the rise in testing in the country, the response still leaves much to be desired nationally, especially after his government has belittled the impact of the virus and pushed for the prompt reopening of states.
Those who followed the White House recommendations are now the focus of major outbreaks, more specifically in the Republican heartland, according to The Guardian.
Citing Associated Press figures, the media underscores that the states Trump won in 2016 account for about 75% of new cases. Some of them are key to his re-election.
States such as Florida, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia are a contentious ground in the run-up to the November presidential election, and in recent weeks have reported record levels of new cases of the coronavirus.
“The pandemic really has clarified and highlighted both Republican failures in leadership and the need for so many of the different policy reforms that Democrats have been fighting for for years,” said Royce Brooks, the executive director of Annie’s List, which works to elect progressive women in the state, adding: “Texas is certainly up for grabs.”
Most election experts say Trump still has the advantage in Texas, which he won by nine points in 2016, but his sinking popularity could help down-ballot Democrats secure historic victories in the state. “We may or may not see Texas deliver a statewide win for the Democratic Senate candidate or for the presidential race, but we are absolutely on track to flip the statehouse to Democratic control in November,” Royce said.
In states where the president should be more comfortable in the polls, such as Florida, the situation is even worse, and his party knows it.
Republicans warn that the outlook is "grim" for Trump in Florida, where Biden has a five-point lead, and where a recent surge in coronavirus cases, as well as the threat of a prolonged shutdown, could hurt him at the polls in November, the Financial Times reported.
The Florida Department of Health reported a record of 11,458 new infections on Saturday alone.
“He is in a much weaker political position than he was in at the beginning of the crisis,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman from south Florida who lost his seat in 2018 to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. “I think there are a lot of twists and turns left, but today, things look grim for the president.”