COVID Concerns Become Most Important Voter Issue

Trump, Biden Poll Numbers May Begin to Point to Election Results

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As coronavirus has become the central issue impacting the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will square off against each other in November.

IAN RENO, Anchor & Reporter

   2020, a year that seems to be more like a movie than real life. Through all the chaos, one thing is almost completely certain. The next presidential term will either be served by former Vice President Joe Biden or our current President Donald Trump.

   At this moment, the coronavirus has significantly affected the current attention on the next election. However, there is still plenty of data to sift through to try and figure out what will happen during the 2020 presidential election. 

   The first thing that needs to be brought up is, as always, COVID-19. For reference, a December 2019 Gallup poll had healthcare as the most important election issue with 81% of voters saying that their healthcare position will be “extremely important” or “very important” in their choice for president. As coronavirus has hit the country day after day, however, that issue and many others have become less important. For example, a Monmouth University poll found that 57% of voters’ families are most concerned about COVID-19 right now. Compare that number to the second place concern at 7%, job security, which also ties into the coronavirus.

A Monmouth University poll found that 57% of voters’ families are most concerned about COVID-19 right now.”

   

   In other polling, the current Real Clear Politics (RCP) average has Biden up 5.9% on Trump nationally at 48.3 to 42.4 percent. On the other hand, we know from 2016 that it doesn’t matter if you win the popular vote. Because of this, voters should be looking at the states that are up for grabs. According to 270towin.com 2020 consensus, there are only six states and a district still up for grabs as of April 3. The states are Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and the second district in Nebraska. All of these places swung toward Trump in 2016. They add up to 102 electoral votes. 

   Wisconsin went for Obama twice, then in 2016 went for Trump by 0.7%. This time around, polling has Biden ahead by 2.7%. This may seem promising for Biden; but, in 2016 before Election Day, Clinton was up by 6.5%. As for Florida where, in 2016, it went to Trump by 1.2%, the polls have Biden up by 3.2%, which is a larger margin than 2016 margins of 0.2% for Trump. Michigan went to Trump by 0.3% last time, and now it’s polling toward Biden by 5.5%. Michigan was another state that was supposed to go to Clinton in 2016 by 3.4%.

   Pennsylvania, which is polling at this moment toward Biden by 6.7%, went to Trump in the last election by 0.7% even though Clinton’s polling numbers were ahead by 1.9%. North Carolina is currently going to Trump by 1.3%, while in 2016 it went to him by 3.7% and was only predicted to go to Trump by 1%. Lastly, Arizona has Biden up by 4.4%. In 2016, it went to Trump by 3.5%, after Trump was supposed to win it by 4%. I was unable to find current polling numbers for Nebraska’s second district. 

   If we take all the states’ polling as if it were the result, Biden would win 318 electors to Trump’s 219 electors. Of course, things are going to change from now to Election Day; so it still is a tight race that could go down to the final day. At this moment, though, the polling is pointing to a Biden win. On the other hand, the betting odds have Trump up by 5.5%. 

   Probably the worst thing for Biden right now is that the enthusiasm levels of his base are worse than they were at Hillary Clinton’s lowest point, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. Even worse news for Biden is that his “very enthusiastic” rating is only one point above 2012 Mitt Romney levels. That may not matter if enough people come out to support Biden as more of a vote against Trump, but he shouldn’t bank on that. Biden needs to get to work to get his base excited because Trump’s levels of “very enthusiastic” supporters represent 53% of his base. 

   At the end of this, you may expect a prediction, a prediction which I can not give. This race is too early and too close to call, considering that the RCP average for the candidates was never above 50%. My prediction is that the aftermath of coronavirus, if it’s even over, will drive the election. So stay safe, stay inside, and stay educated on what’s happening in politics and the world around you.