President Donald Trump and his supporters are hoping that if his hardcore MAGA base shows up in big numbers in November and Democratic turnout is weak, he will be able to pull off another Electoral College victory. In order for that to happen, Trump will need to fire up his base as much as possible in swing states.
But according to new, updated analysis from the Cook Political Report, former Vice President Joe Biden has an increasing advantage in many of the swing states that Trump needs to win.
"This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a blue wave," Cook's Amy Walter reports. "President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points) and Wisconsin (9 points). He's even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina."
This month, Walter explains, Biden is looking even better in swing states than he did in June — and Cook has changed its Electoral College ratings to "reflect this reality."
Walter explains that according to Cook's analysis this week, "Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Nebraska's 2nd District move from 'toss-up' to 'lean Democrat.' Maine, once in 'lean Democrat,' moves to the safer 'likely Democratic category.'"
The Cook reporter adds, "Georgia has joined Arizona, North Carolina and Florida in the 'toss-up' column, although at this point, Biden would be slightly favored to win at least Arizona and Florida."
Florida has been a swing state for a long time. President George W. Bush won Florida twice, but so did President Barack Obama — before Trump carried the state in 2016. But only in recent years has once-red Arizona become a swing state.
The victory of Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona was one of the big political bombshells of 2018, and poll after poll has shown Republican Sen. Martha McSally trailing Democrat Mark Kelly in this year's U.S. Senate race in that state. Moreover, Biden appears to be quite competitive in Arizona, which for decades, was a deep red state synonymous with the conservatism of Sen. Barry Goldwater and later, Sen. John McCain.
Trump's poor performance in recent polls is being felt on Wall Street: according to Axios reporter Dino Rabouin, Wall Street is now betting on a Biden victory — a change from earlier this year.
Rabouin reports: "Betting markets have turned decisively toward an expected victory for Joe Biden in November — and asset managers at major investment banks are preparing for not only a Biden win, but potentially, a Democratic sweep of the Senate and House too…. The shift is the latest indicator of how quickly the political and business worlds have aligned in the view that Trump is unlikely to win a second term as COVID-19 infection numbers have spiked again and the economy looks to be stalling."
On May 11, Rabouin reported that Wall Street was expecting Trump to win a second term. But more recently, according to Rabouin: "A Citigroup poll of 140 fund managers released last week found that 62% expect a Biden win, compared to 70% who expected a Trump victory in the same survey in December. And according to Kace Capital Advisors Managing Director Kenny Polcari, 'Talk of a Democratic sweep (is) now common' among investors."
Walter, on Cook's website, stresses that the "Democratic tsunami" in November could include not only Trump losing to Biden, but also, Democrats retaking the U.S. Senate and expanding their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
None of that is to say that Trump won't turn things around between now and November. There were summer polls that, in 1988's presidential race, showed Democratic nominee Mike Dukakis with a double-digit lead over Vice President George H.W. Bush. But in 1988, the U.S. wasn't coping with the world's deadliest pandemic in more than 100 years.
Walter adds the caveat that the race could still change, noting:
One of the biggest unknowns, however, is voting itself. As we've seen this spring and early summer, most states are not prepared for an onslaught of absentee ballots. And confusion about how/where to vote could impact turnout.
She also floats the possibility of voters splitting their ticket this year — that is, voting for Biden over Trump but voting GOP in Senate and House races. However, a GOP strategist interviewed by Cook is predicting that many voters will go straight Democratic this time.
"If voters start to sense that the race for president is a blow-out, will they be more willing to split their tickets to ensure a 'check and balance' in Washington next fall?" Walter writes. "At least one Republican I spoke with, however, was wary of a check-and-balance working this year, telling me that 'people are looking for a restart and a reset.' That includes down-ballot candidates as well as the president."