News/Op-Ed: Biden Maintains Steady Lead In National Polls, President Trump Makes Strides In Battleground States As Election Day Nears

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

As the Biden and Trump campaigns close out their final days of trying to garner the support of the American people nationwide, the two candidates’ standing in a number of national polls has seen marginal movement, even after a hard-fought, action packed summer and fall. 

The 2020 Presidential Election is finally here. After months of campaigning, voter deliberation, purported corruption scandals, insult-laden debates, asinine mudslinging, and a White House ravaged by COVID-19, former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump will see all their work culminate as the American people get their chance to speak at the polls. 

In the latest national poll from Real Clear Politics, former Vice President Biden leads President Trump 51.1% to 43.9%, with an advantage of 7.2 points. 

The polls indicate that President Trump has slightly tightened Vice President Biden’s lead, but the Biden Campaign is in a good position as their lead holds steady – yet within a margin of error where President Trump is still within striking distance. 

Despite the fact that many voters nationwide have shown contempt for polling numbers since President Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, it is imperative to dispel the notion that polling numbers are wrong, per se. 

While polling numbers contain only a small sample and percentage of Americans nationally and in battleground states, the lead that has been held by former Vice President Biden over President Trump has been steadier than the lead held by Hillary Clinton four years ago. 

In recent polls of the battleground states from the New York Times, the former Vice President leads in 10 of those 13, with President Trump holding on to slim leads in Ohio, Iowa, and Texas – yes, Texas, the historically “red” state that has not been won by a Democratic Candidate since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976.

In the two congressional districts that split up their electoral votes, Biden leads in both, holding on to slim leads in Nebraska’s and Maine’s 2nd Congressional Districts. 

While Carter carrying Texas in 1976 is impressive after 44 years of seeing new political trends, it is important to note that Carter was a southerner, having been Governor of Georgia, leading to him having the trust of southern voters in general.

The question many are asking is how the former Vice President has made Texas a real battleground, considering he was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and served as a US Senator from Delaware for more than four decades. 

The answer is simple – an increase in voter turnout and changing demographics in Texas. Due to the strenuous efforts of former Democratic Candidate for President Beto O’Rourke to turn out Texas voters and flipping some Republicans to vote for Biden, 9.7 Million Texans have cast early ballots, making up 57.3% of registered voters in Texas. It’s also important to note that Texas, as big as it already is, is a growing state that has added 1.8 Million new voters. 

By comparison, the total turnout in 2016 was 59.4% – only two percentage points more than current early voting numbers. On Election Day itself, Texas may see 12 or 12.5 Million more people vote, bringing their turnout percentage beyond 70%, which would be a new high in the new era of presidential elections. 

Around the United States in general, around 92 Million people have already cast ballots – more than twice the amount of Americans who voted early in 2016.

The historic early voting numbers can be attributed to the fears of catching COVID-19 at polling stations on Election Day, but may also be a result of spectacular efforts by Democrats to turn out new voters and help voters who did not vote in 2016 to see the importance of their vote. 

The American people will finally get their chance to speak up and use their voice at the polls. Whether polls should be trusted is up to each individual, but regardless, they show Vice President Biden holding a national lead over President Trump, and a steadier lead than the one Hillary Clinton held in 2016 at that.

Of course, though, after 2016, anything can happen. 

While President Trump has endured a tumultuous first term and reelection campaign, he still has a very good chance at winning reelection, as his underdog status propelled him in 2016 and may very well work in his favor.

If the polls are right this time around, the elder statesman in Vice President Biden will finally get a chance to hold an office he has sought for nearly five decades.

In this chart from the New York Times, the polling leads held by Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama before election day were displayed. The chart is meant to show the fallacy in polling data and how they may be inaccurate – in some of the states that Secretary Clinton was leading in going into election day, she lost them as they flipped “red” towards now-President Trump.

Essentially, no matter what polling data displays for either Vice President Biden or President Trump, neither candidate should feel comfortable solely based on polling data.

The margins of error are there for both candidates, and the American people will only know the accuracy of the polls once precincts within each state report their results.

Polling Data and Table Via the New York Times

2016 2012
U.S.+9 Biden+7 CLINTON+12 OBAMA
N.H.+11 Biden+8 CLINTON+15 OBAMA
Minn.+10 Biden+4 CLINTON+12 OBAMA
Wis.+10 Biden+4 CLINTON+14 OBAMA
Mich.+8 Biden+4 CLINTON+14 OBAMA
Nev.+6 Biden+8 CLINTON+9 OBAMA
Pa.+6 Biden+1 CLINTON+7 OBAMA
Neb. 2*+5 Biden+9 CLINTON<1 ROMNEY
Maine 2*+4 Biden+9 TRUMP+9 OBAMA
Ariz.+4 Biden+2 CLINTON+2 OBAMA
Fla.+2 Biden<1 CLINTON+4 OBAMA
N.C.+2 Biden+3 TRUMP +3 OBAMA
Ga.+2 Biden<1 CLINTON+2 OBAMA
Ohio<1 Trump+6 TRUMP<1 OBAMA
Iowa+2 Trump+6 TRUMP+3 OBAMA
Texas+2 Trump+4 TRUMP +1 OBAMA
Obama Won the 2012 Election against Mitt Romney (R-MA, now UT), while Hillary Clinton (D-NY) lost the 2016 election in an upset to Donald Trump (R-NY).

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