National polls on the presidential race are mostly pointless. They may show trends in popularity, but in the end, it’s the individual states that matter.
Consider this: In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump in the popular vote by 2,868,518 votes. But she lost in the Electoral College, the only vote that counts, by a huge margin: 304-227.
So all eyes will be on a batch of key battleground states come Election Night. And some new polls are now showing that Joe Biden’s once-hefty lead in several of those states is dissipating.
A University of Northern Florida-Public Opinion Research Lab poll released on Wednesday puts Biden’s lead over Trump at just one point, 48% to 47%.
“While some polls have shown Biden with a big lead in Florida and other key states, we made an effort to capture hard-to-reach voters and our results suggest that it might be a long night on November 3rd,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director and associate professor of political science. “This is Florida, and elections are never easy here, I expect this race to come down to the wire.”
The pollster used an unusual technique to try to capture what some politicos say are “hidden” Trump voters. Binder said that those surveyed who said “MAGA!” or “I’m voting Republican!” before hanging up were counted for Trump.
“People say I’m voting for the Republican – click. Or I’m voting for the Democrats, click,” Binder said.
In addition, the pollster wrote, “If the respondent indicated that they had already voted or were at least probably going to vote and strongly approved of the job that President Trump was doing, that voter was calculated as voting for President Trump. If a respondent already voted or was at least probably going to vote but had a strong disapproval of the job President Trump was doing, they were classified as a Biden voter.”
Meanwhile in Ohio, Rasmussen puts Biden’s lead at that same single point, 48% to 47%. In Pennsylvania, a Reuters-Ipsos survey released Monday showed Biden’s lead down to four points, while his average lead had hovered around seven points.
Real Clear Politics keeps a running average of battleground polls. Here’s were things stand right now (with the previous average on parentheses). In the averages, Biden’s lead has risen slightly in Florida and Michigan, but dropped in Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Arizona — Biden 3.2 (+4.0)
Florida — Biden +2.1 (+1.7)
Michigan — Biden +7.8 (+7.2)
North Carolina — Biden + 2.3 (2.7)
Pennsylvania — Biden +4.9 (6.4)
Wisconsin — Biden +4.6 (6.3)
The Washington Times pointed out that in 2016, Clinton held an even bigger edge than Biden in several key states, including Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all of which Trump went on to win.
“With 14 days to go before the election, Mr. Biden had an average lead of 3.9% in six battleground states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona. Mrs. Clinton held a 4.4% lead in those states at this juncture,” the Times reported.