Although Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is leading the way in most polls, including in the important tipping states, it is still possible that Donald Trump will take the presidency in January.
Neither experts nor the Democrats’ own election analysts take it for granted that Biden will win on 3 November. They burned themselves on that four years ago. In disbelief, they had to see the results in Trump’s favor, even though he received almost 3 million fewer votes than Clinton.
Trump won by a few thousand votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Democrats felt confident of victory in advance. Thus, the case was decided due to the special American electoral system, which makes it possible to win the election without having the most votes at the national level.
Belief in the accuracy of the polls thus suffered a major setback in 2016.
One of the few polls that managed to predict the shock result in 2016 was the survey by Investor Business Daily / TIPP, which again this year shows a far smoother run between the candidates than the average of the polls.
Earlier this week, Biden had a lead of only 2.3 percentage points. In comparison, the poll for The New York Times / Siena College showed that Biden was around 9 percentage points ahead of Trump.
The seesaw state of Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that Trump more or less has to win to get enough voters to stay in the White House. Here, too, opinion polls show that Biden is ahead, but the distance has become a little smaller in recent days, according to a poll from Reuters / Ipsos.
Appeal to the residents
Pennsylvania’s significance also led to it being where former President Barack Obama traveled when he began campaigning for Biden this week.
At an election rally in Philadelphia on Wednesday, he warned voters against believing that Trump could not win again.
– We must not settle down. I do not believe in the polls. There were many of them last. They did not vote. Because a lot of people stayed home. Became lazy and settled down. Not this time. Not in this election, Obama said in what was his first campaign meeting for Biden.
Split over postal votes
Another factor of uncertainty is the many postal votes that will characterize this year’s election as a result of the corona pandemic. The questions are related to whether they will arrive in time to be counted, and whether the states have sufficient resources to deal with them.
The states have different deadlines for when the postal votes must be received, but recently the Democrats won a victory when the Supreme Court upheld Pennsylvania in that the deadline for counting postal votes can be postponed, contrary to what Trump wanted.
It is expected that far more Democrats than Republicans will vote by mail, which has led to the voting method becoming a party political issue.
Another factor that could give Trump a jump in popularity is a so-called October surprise.
Four years ago, the surprise came just eleven days before the election: FBI Director James Comey announced that he would resume the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server. For a whole week, history dominated the press releases.
Also this year, several sensational news items have appeared in the election campaign, including the New York Times’ revelation that Trump has a bank account in China and the publication of his tax returns.
Biden, for his part, has had to endure new attention about his son Hunter and his well-paid board assignment in a Ukrainian gas company while he was vice president. Trump has repeatedly used the story to portray Biden as corrupt, without being able to document the allegations.
Small error rate
Analysts also follow the behavior of both Trump and Biden with an arguing eye. For Trump to win the votes of skeptical white suburban women who voted for him in 2016, he must change his appearance, as he did in part in Thursday’s debate with Biden. If he manages to give a calmer and more presidential impression in the next few days, at the same time as Biden makes a mistake, the odds can turn around.
So far, Biden has waged an unusually disciplined election campaign. He has avoided statements that could lead more people to believe Trump’s claim that he is senile. And he has still not made any sarcastic statements that could have provoked some of the very different groups of voters he must have behind him to win, according to the BBC.
Among them are both moderate and dissatisfied Republicans, white working class voters, various minorities and people on the liberal left. It will probably not be a big mistake until some of these, instead of voting, choose to stay at home.
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