On the eve of the U.S. Presidential Elections, the key contenders and their supporters made last minute moves to canvas votes in critical states, the so-called battleground or swing states.
Altogether, the candidates’ packed Monday itineraries took them to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, all swing states in the 2020 Elections.
Former president Barack Obama has also been hard on the campaign trail the last week before elections, making a case for his former deputy. On Monday, while Mr Biden was in Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama was in Florida, where Democrats hold a slight lead in the polls.
The Swing States
In between the hardline Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning states, the safe states, are about ten middle states, where the election outcomes could swing either way. With polls ranking them as lean-Republican, lean-Democratic, or toss-up, the candidates are in a dire struggle for the edge that a win from each of these states could lend them. These states do not just hold high Electoral Votes, the winner can only achieve a small percentage lead over the loser, making it all the more competitive. Overall, the winning candidate must secure at least 270 Electoral Votes across the country.
Swing States in the Great Lakes Region
The key Great Lakes states, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin hold 46 Electoral Votes. Traditionally left leaning, President Trump flipped these states in his 2016 surprise win. This time around, polls show the president lagging slightly behind the former vice president. Mr. Biden is favoured to retake all three states. In Michigan, with 16 Electoral Votes at stake, Mr Biden has a firmer lead. In Pennsylvania, the race is much tighter, with Mr Biden hovering around a 5-point lead for the state’s 20 Electoral Votes. In 2016, President Trump won the 10 Electoral Votes from Wisconsin, a state where he currently trails behind Mr. Biden by 7 points, according to the polls.
Swing States in the Sunbelt
The next set of states lie in the sunbelt and include Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, with 109 Electoral Votes at stake. Falling in the southern region of the country, these states are traditionally conservative. Projections of a possible Biden-leaning/toss-up electorate in North Carolina, with its 15 Electoral Vote, is a departure from outcomes since 1980. Former president Obama made a one-time surprise dent in North Carolina’s republican voting history when he won the state by a 0.3 per cent lead in 2008. Today, North Carolina is a toss-up state, with both candidates going head to head, Mr Biden with a slight 1.6 percentage point lead. Georgia is another toss-up state that is Biden-leaning, another surprise in a state that has voted Republican since 1996. The projections in Arizona and Florida all project possible Democratic wins as well. However, Texas appears more favourable to President Trump, who holds a four percentage point lead over Mr Biden. But the close call in Texas is a departure from previous votes given that Texas has consistently voted Republican since 1980. President Trump needs to win the 38 Electoral Votes from Texas, if he is to make up for the huge edge Mr. Biden will have from winning 58 Electoral Votes from California, a left-leaning state.
Election Outcome ‘Predictor’ States
Two other midwestern states, Iowa and Ohio, have historically played a significant role in presidential election outcomes. Since 1964, Ohio has consistently voted in line with the winner of the elections. In addition to its 100 per cent presidential prediction score, Ohio’s 18 Electoral Votes have made it fair game in the tussle for votes. Ohio is squarely a swing state and has been so since 1964. It swung right for former president George W. Bush in 2004 but voted blue for both of President Obama’s runs. In 2016, President Trump got a resounding victory over Mrs Clinton with more than eight percentage points. Today, the president has a slight edge over Mr. Biden in a race that is ranked as a toss-up. Iowa does not hold the same 100 percent voting record but has also been a historically important swing state. The current polls give President Trump a lead to win the six Electoral Votes at stake in the state as well.
Regardless of the polls, the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Elections in which Mrs Clinton, who was consistently ahead in the polls but lost the Electoral College to President Trump, has the candidates and their surrogates on their toes. All candidates continue to canvas votes even as voters have begun casting their votes on election day.