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US election: Biden ahead, but Trump narrows gap in 12 swing states

Donald Trump has gained slightly on Joe Biden in swing states, a poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News has found – suggesting that the election still offers the president a precarious path to victory.

The national poll of registered voters carried out last week shows Biden leading Trump by 52 per cent to 42 per cent, virtually unchanged over the last two weeks and in-line with a lead the Democrat has held for months. 

But the poll also shows Trump gaining ground in 12 swing states that are crucial to election victory – where Biden now leads 51 per cent to 45 per cent, cutting the former Vice President’s lead from 10 points to 6 points in a little over a month.

Other polls released Monday suggested Biden is leading in Florida and Pennsylvania – in some polls outside the margin of error – and that Texas, one ruby-red Republican is tied.

The states considered swing by the WSJ/NBC  poll were: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The poll did not provide a breakdown of results from this states and does not include Texas, which was not considered a swing state until this summer.

Six points is within the survey’s margin of error, meaning there is the possibility of a Trump upset in those states, which could hand him a second term in office.

But Trump is gaining ground in 12 swing states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – bringing down Biden’s lead to six points, within the margin of error

Nationally, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 10 points - virtually unchanged from the lead he held two weeks ago, and in line with polls going back months

Nationally, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 10 points – virtually unchanged from the lead he held two weeks ago, and in line with polls going back months

Final push: Donald Trump set off on a five-rally swing from Florida to Michigan, speaking to thousands of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Final push: Donald Trump set off on a five-rally swing from Florida to Michigan, speaking to thousands of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Last day: Joe Biden started his final swing in Cleveland, Ohio, which Democrats believe they can flip

Last day: Joe Biden started his final swing in Cleveland, Ohio, which Democrats believe they can flip

The poll was carried out by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, and collected data from 1,000 registered voters by phone between October 29 and 31.

The poll was carried out by Republican pollster Bill McInturff and Democrat Jeff Horwitt.

It showed that while Trump’s support has fallen among women and seniors – two big groups that turned out for him in 2016 – it remains rock-steady among white, working class voters who exist in large numbers in all the swing states.

‘This election is probably the most competitive 10-point race I’ve seen,’ McInturff told the Wall Street Journal.

‘The RNC has spent how many millions of dollars? And the only thing they’ve focused on is turnout of non-college, white voters, especially in about six states.’

The poll showed that Trump leads Biden among white voters, whites without degrees, and has a very narrow lead with men – 48 per cent to 47 per cent.

Biden holds the lead over Trump with black voters, young voters ages 18-34, seniors, women, whites with college degrees and independents, according to the poll.

A majority of those polled said Trump is doing a bad job as president – 44 per cent approve to 54 per cent disapprove – while similar numbers said he is doing a bad job with coronavirus.

However, a majority – 55 per cent to 41 per cent – approve of his handling of the economy, one of only a few bright spots for Trump in the survey.

The survey also showed that 60 per cent of voters believe that the country is on the wrong track, with 55 per cent saying that the worst is yet to come.

But in contrast, Biden is leading outside the margin of error in several key battleground states and even deep red Texas appears to be up-in-the air, according Morning Consult.

The Morning Consult poll surveyed 4,451 likely voters in Florida and 2,686 likely voters in Pennsylvania.

The results in Pennsylvania, potentially the most consequential state for Trump clinching a win, are likely to still be unknown on Election Night as the Supreme Court ruled last month that the Keystone State can accept and count mail-in ballots through Friday – three days after the election.

Morning Consult’s projection for Pennsylvania is slightly rosier for Biden than Monmouth University’s, also released Monday, which puts the Democrat between five and seven points ahead.

If there is high turnout, it suggests he will win 51% to 44%, if there is ‘low turnout’ – which could include large-scale disqualification of mail-in ballots – he would win 50% to 45%. Monmouth’s margin of error is 4.4%, putting its predictions inside it.

Joe Biden is ahead of Donald Trump outside the poll's margin of error in Pennsylvania and Florida, two states that could decide the election on Tuesday

Joe Biden is ahead of Donald Trump outside the poll’s margin of error in Pennsylvania and Florida, two states that could decide the election on Tuesday 

Support for Trump has dropped since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the national Morning Consult poll

Support for Trump has dropped since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the national Morning Consult poll

National breakdown by demographic of who the 14,663 likely voters polled support in the presidential election

National breakdown by demographic of who the 14,663 likely voters polled support in the presidential election

In Florida, pollster Scott Rasmussen, who predicted a Trump victory in 2016, gave Biden a four-point margin of victory in his final 

Overall, Biden leads Trump by 8 percentage points nationally, with 51.9 per cent of the 14,663 likely voters surveyed by Morning Consult saying they would vote for Biden if the election were held at the time of the poll and 43.9 per cent saying they favor the president.

The 3 per cent remainder of likely voters polled say they don’t know who they are backing – a far lower number than in the 2016 election cycle.

Among those, 30 per cent say they are leaning toward Biden, 28 per cent leaning toward Trump, but a whopping 43 per cent saying they are more likely to vote for a third party candidate. 

The national poll has a margin of error of only plus or minus 1 percentage points.

Biden is also leading in swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona.

His lead, however, falls within the small margin of error for state polling of plus or minus 2 percentage points in Arizona, which has 11 Electoral College votes and North Carolina, which has 15 Electoral College votes.

Texas, a deeply Republican state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1976, is tied with the 3,267 likely voters polled split 48.1 per cent for which candidate they are casting their ballot. 

According to the rolling poll, the only swing state where Trump is leading in Ohio where he holds 49.2 per cent compared to Biden’s 46.6 per cent.

He is also leading outside the margin of error in Indiana, Missouri and South Carolina if the election were held the day respondents were prompted with the question of who they would vote for.

Monday marks the final full day of campaigning for Trump and Biden, with each hoping to tip the race in their favor in the closing stages.  

More than 93 million people have already voted and each campaign insists it has a pathway to victory, though Biden’s options for picking up the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win are more plentiful. 

Trump is banking on a surge of enthusiasm from his most loyal supporters in the swing states, allowing him to eke out an electoral college win without winning the popular vote.

Heading into the closing 24 hours, Trump and Biden each painted the other as unfit for office and described the next four years in near apocalyptic terms if the other were to win. 


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