With just a few days left to the elections, here is a run-down of what the US elections looks like thus far.
The United States Presidential election is conducted via the electoral college. Winning a majority of the votes in a state will win you all the electoral votes of the state, with a state’s number of electoral votes roughly based on its population. 270 electoral votes are required to win.
Since early October, when the first presidential debate was held and news broke of President Donald Trump testing positive for Covid-19, Joe Biden’s margin in national polls over President Donald Trump has increased from a previous steady 7-8%, to a peak of around 10.7% in mid-October. As the election nears, the race has tightened to around 8-9%, with RealClearPolitics giving Biden an average of 51.3% to Trump’s 43.6%
According to FiveThrityEight’s forecast, Biden is currently favoured to win the presidency, at 88 to 12 odds. His lead in the polls is large enough that traditionally red states such as Iowa, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas now have competitive odds.
House and Senate
The Democratic party has 96 in 100 odds of retaining control of the House of Representatives, the branch of the government responsible for passing legislation. In the Senate, the Democratic party is estimated to have 74% odds of winning control, due to both Biden’s lead nationwide, and because double the amount of Republican seats are up for election.
What to watch out for on election night
This year, there is a good chance that we may not know the results on election night itself, due to delays caused by increased use of mail-in ballots and other Covid-19 related complications. Due to its experience with mail-in voting and its early processing, results for Florida are expected to come in on election night itself, while other battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin are expected to potentially take up to weeks after.
Given the current pandemic, it should come as no surprise that Covid-19 ranks as the most important issue facing the United States, with a 538/Ipsos poll showing 31.9% of Americans naming it as most important. 78.0% of respondents see Biden as better on handling Covid-19, though 79.1% sees Trump as better on the next most important issue, the economy. Testing positive for Covid-19 may have further decreased confidence in Trump on the issue.
Other major issues this election season includes racial discrimination and police brutality, the swearing in of Supreme Court judge Amy Coney Barrett just before the election, and allegations revolving around Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
Finally, President Trump has implied on some occasions that he may not respect the results of the election, and also casted doubts on the legitimacy of mail ballots. A close or indeterminate election result may well be dangerous in the current political climate.