A handful of states, a dozen at the most, with Florida and five states of the so-called Rust Belt at the top, will be the ones that ultimately decide the outcome of the US presidential elections, which offer a preliminary scenario almost traced to the 2016: the polls give the winner to the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, and give the Republican Donald Trump just over 10% of chances of repeating victory, despite the fact that this time he is running as a candidate for reelection and, above all, of that four years ago he was already able to turn the odds.
Trump lost the popular vote in the country as a whole to Hillary Clinton, but he won because Americans do not vote directly for their president, but rather elect their state representatives to the Electoral College, an institution whose sole function is to elect the president. and the vice president. Each state elects a number of delegates based on its population – in all but two, Nebraska and Maine, under the formula winner-takes-all, whoever wins takes all – and it is necessary to add a simple majority of 270 to reach the White House, a system that protects the least populated states and, above all, attaches extraordinary importance to undecided states, called in electoral jargon battleground states (states in dispute) or swing states (pendular states, changing).
A large part of those in dispute this year are the same as in 2016, although the circumstances are very different: Trump is no longer an untimely careerist, but the president of the United States; the country suffers the worst pandemic in more than a century and, as a consequence, the worst economic crisis since the Great Recession, with the consequences that all this may have on the minds of the voters; and the sense of historical urgency is even more pressing than then.
In the country as a whole, Biden leads Trump by about seven points of vote intention, according to the average of polls of the specialized blog Real Clear Politics: the Democratic candidate would obtain 50.7% of the votes for 44% of the president republican. It is a difference that, during the last year, has never been less than four points, but it has narrowed in recent weeks and, as HIllary Clinto and Al Gore know, the door to the White House only opens by winning in places decisive; these are the key states of these presidential elections.
Who won in 2016?
Donald Trump, with 49% of the votes, just 1.2 points and 113,000 votes more than Hillary Clinton, in a state that registered 9.4 million votes.
How many representatives do you elect for the Electoral College?
29, the second-highest figure of all states considered in dispute this year, after Texas.
Because it is important?
In addition to providing more than 10% of the delegates needed to take over the presidency, in recent decades it has proven to be an essential state: since 1992, no candidate has reached the White House without winning in Florida. And in 2000, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, who had won the popular vote in the country as a whole, thanks to the scarce 537 votes of advantage – out of a total of almost six million – that he obtained in a controversial recount decided by the Supreme Court.
What will the result decant?
In a state as diverse as Florida, victory will depend on the loyalty to Trump of conservative sectors, such as the Cuban community in exile. Or the retirees who are retiring to the ‘golden state’ and who four years ago promoted their triumph, but who now constitute the population group most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s ability to again mobilize Latinos and African Americans, who did not vote for Hillary Clinton as they had for Barack Obama, will also play a role. For now, the polls give a very small and insignificant advantage, in tone to the two points, to the Democratic candidate.