WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st September, 2020) Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has maintained his lead both nationally and in key US swing states over the past week largely due to voter confidence in how his administration would handle the pandemic, although President Donald Trump is still seen as stronger on economic issues despite the recent crash.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday revealed that Biden leads nationally by 8 percent, possibly boosted by perceptions that he is better capable of managing the pandemic. Biden now has a 22-point lead, 51% to 29%, on COVID-19 handling, up from 11 points in June, according to the survey.
The labor market lost 21 million jobs between March and April and shrank by a record 33 percent in the second quarter amid widespread lockdowns due to COVID-19. The United States gained 1.4 million jobs in August, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent, falling below the 10 percent-mark for the first time in four months.
One notable trend seen in the data has been the remarkable stability in the polls despite the country being rocked by multiple crises including social unrest over police brutality in addition to the pandemic and economic woes.
The poll also revealed that early voting could reach record levels in the 2020 election. Some 52% of those surveyed said they plan to cast a ballot before the November 3 election, either in-person or via mail.
Americans have higher interest in this year's election than any other, the poll also showed. 80% of respondents rated their interest level at either 9 or 10 on a ten-point scale compared to 68% in 2016 and 72% in 2012.
BIDEN MAINTAINS GRIP OVER BATTLEGROUND TERRITORY
According to the average of the most recent surveys published on poll aggregator Realclearpolitics.com (RCP) as of Sunday evening, the former vice president leads by 6.5 percent nationally, a full point lower than last week.
Given the structure of the Electoral College national surveys are less significant than polling in key battleground states. That said, the state-level polling reveals that if the election were held today, Biden would win by a landslide.
Biden leads in eight of the top 10 largest battleground states, the sum of which account for nearly 35% of the total electoral votes (538) apportioned across 50 states, a majority of which is needed to win the election.
Yet Biden's lead is under three percent in 3 of those states, according to the RCP averages. In fact, the only states in which Biden has a "comfortable" lead includes Minnesota (+10), Wisconsin (+6.7) and Arizona (+5.0).
The only major movement in the polls since last week consists in Biden narrowing Trump's lead in Texas by more than a point to 1.2% and the former vice president boosting his lead by four points in Minnesota, where the Trump campaign has invested significant resources to win.
The Republicans are hoping to again win the majority of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate. The Senate currently consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two Independents but 35 seats are up for grabs on the November 3 ballot. This includes 33 regular seats along with two others vacated by Arizona Senator John McCain's death and Georgian Johnny Isakson's premature retirement due to health reasons.
Friday's death of liberal-leaning Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made the Senate races even more relevant, although whomever Trump nominates to replace her could be confirmed before the next presidential term begins on January 20.
Even if Trump were to win, he needs at least 51 Senators to approve his nominee, hence why the Republicans are motivated to fast-track the nomination process.
Based on the current polling numbers the Democratic Party would end up with 51 Senate seats. According to the RCP average, recent polls show that seven seats are in the "toss up" category. Six of these seats are currently held by Republicans and one by a Democrat. Four of the six Republican incumbents are currently losing, according to the poll aggregator.
In Arizona, Democratic candidate Mark Kelly leads Republican incumbent Martha McNally by 6.7%. The three other Republicans down in the polls include Iowa's Joni Ernst (-0.4), Maine's Susan Collins (-6.0) and North Carolina's Thom Tillis (-3.6). Michigan incumbent Democrat Gary Peters has a 3.6% lead.
Meanwhile, the Democrats appear to be in a good position to maintain control of the 435-member House of Representatives, where they have a 36-seat edge. All 435 seats will be on the November 3 ballot.