Elections can be exhausting. For two months before the event happens, the election is all you’ll see on the televised news and all you’ll read about in the newspapers. It’s a little different this time around because there’s also the ongoing global pandemic to talk about, but the pandemic has become an election issue. Somehow, that makes it worse. If you’re one of the many people who’s made the decision to shut off from the news for a while for the sake of your mental health, we don’t blame you. We know most of you haven’t, though – sixty-three million people tuned in to watch the final (and inconclusive) debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
At this point, we suspect the debate didn’t matter. More than forty million people have voted already, and the minds of most people who haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet are already made up. This isn’t an election that’s had many people on the fence. You’re either voting for Trump, voting for Biden, or not voting at all, and nothing is likely to change your mind on that. On top of that, in 41 out of the 50 states of the nation, your vote hardly matters. Based on the aggregated data that’s coming in from every reputable poll available, there are only nine states still in play – and here they all are.
At the time of writing, Ohio is leaning toward Trump by the minuscule factor of 0.09%. That’s a change from last week when it was leaning toward Biden by more than 1%. Ohio voted heavily in favor of Trump in 2016 but was also strongly in favor of Obama at the previous election. This might be the most tightly-contested of all the electoral battles – and with 18 votes up for grabs, it’s one worth fighting for both candidates.
Trump currently has a 0.1% lead in Georgia. He won it by 5.1% last time out. The time before that, it went to Romney by 7.8%. Georgia is a state that should theoretically vote Republican, but the fact that the margin is so narrow suggests that the incumbent President isn’t guaranteed victory this time. That would be a shock.
Maine (District 2)
Biden is up here by 1.2% as of right now. Trump won it by a landslide in 2016, romping home 10.3% clear of Hillary Clinton. That was a major swing from 2012 when Obama won by 8.6%. We wouldn’t like to say which way this is going to go – anything less than 3% has to be considered as being within the margin of error.
Iowa isn’t a hardline Republican state. Trump may have won it by 9.4% in 2016, but Obama had it by 5.8% in 2012. Right now, the polls say Biden is up by 1.4%. Again this is well within the margin of error, and so Trump could easily win here again.
Here’s the major battleground – as it always is. Obama won it by less than one percent in 2012. Trump took it against all odds by 1.2% in 2016. If the pollsters have it right, Biden is currently up by 2% according to the data we’ve seen, although some sources say his lead is closer to 5%. The key thing to remember about Florida is that Biden can win the election without winning Florida. Trump can’t. If Florida goes blue, Biden has the keys to the White House.
Obama couldn’t win in North Carolina, but Biden might. It went to Romney by 2% in 2012, and Trump by 3.7% in 2016. What we’re seeing across the country is that even in states where Trump won comfortably in 2016, he’s down by between 5% and 10% this time. That makes it unsurprising that Biden currently holds a 2.1% lead going into the home straight and has every chance of taking it for the Democrats.
This is usually a solidly Republican state, but all signs point to the idea that it might not be in 2020. Unusually, Trump actually lost votes compared to Romney’s previous figure when he won in 2016. His margin on that election night was 3.5%. Romney’s was 9.1%. The data says that Biden is currently up by 2.6%. Of all the nine contested states that are most likely to go to Biden, Arizona is the best bet.
Donald Trump should win in Texas. It’s unthinkable that a Republican candidate wouldn’t win in Texas. Nevertheless, here we are discussing the possibility that they won’t do it in 2020. Romney swept home by 15.8% in his failed 2012 campaign. Trump won less comfortably, but still had few worries with a 9% margin in 2016. That margin is being projected today at 3.4%. That’s just outside the margin of error, and so he should still win here, but it might be a close-run thing.
Nevada traditionally votes for the Democrats and should do again, but Biden’s campaign managers have indicated that they have concerns about how solid his vote is in the Silver State. It was an easy win for Obama to pick up in 2012 with a 6.7% margin, but Clinton struggled and only took it by 2.4%. Biden’s margin looks like a healthier 5%, but 5% is low enough for some observers to suggest that it might not be a done deal.
The single most important thing to remember here is that Trump could win all nine of these states, and he’d still lose the election. He’d end up with 265 votes compared to the 273 that Biden is already almost guaranteed to win, and that’s enough for the Presidency. Trump needs something huge to change in the next few days if he’s going to win. He’s a betting man – or at least he has been in the past with his casinos and online slots facilities in Atlantic City. There may be no finer metaphor than gambling for this particular President – after all, he’s been immortalized forever as a character in an online slots game, with his likeness placed next to that of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in the slot “Rocket Men.” He knows enough about gambling to know that if your odds of victory are longer than the odds of hitting a first-time jackpot online slots like Wold Gold slot, the bet isn’t worth making. That’s where he is right now. He’d be best advised to keep his money in his pocket – and if the polls are right, he’d also be best advised to start packing up the White House in readiness to move out.