A Year Before The 2020 Election, Battleground State Polls Signal Tight Race Ahead

With 365 days until the 2020 presidential election, Republicans and Democrats both have good reason to believe they have a political advantage, but several new polls paint a picture of a race that is closer than either party is likely comfortable with, as President Donald Trump and top Democratic contenders fall within the margin of error of each other in key states.

“This is going to be a barnburner, knockdown, ugly, tight race and frankly neither side should be confident,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

President Trump enters his reelection fight with historical headwinds favoring an incumbent and the strongest job market in decades. Although fears of a recession persist, Trump can boast of solid economic growth, steadily improving wages, and a record-smashing stock market.

However, he is also likely to be the first president to ever face reelection after being impeached, his approval rating has rarely climbed out of the low 40s, and most voters do not trust him. The economy is the only issue on which a majority of voters consistently signal approval for his policies, giving Democrats a clear opening if they can figure out how to take it.

Although national polls mostly offer good news for Democrats, they may be less instructive than battleground state surveys that provide a more muddled assessment. A New York Times/Sienna College poll of registered voters in six states Trump won by slim margins in 2016 suggests only Biden is currently ahead of Trump in most of them, and even he is still within the margin of error.

“The state-level polls give us a better indication,” O’Connell said. “Everyone seems to forget it’s all about the Electoral College regardless of what the national polls say.”

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at ABC 6

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Analysis & Political Strategy