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State of play in three presidential battleground states

by Government Affairs Team | Nov 02, 2020

It’s less than a week to go before the election on November 3.   Many Americans have taken advantage of early voting laws in their states and have already cast their ballots.  But whether you have voted or still plan to vote on the 3rd, it is important that when you do, you post your picture on social media along with “#golfvotes”.

I recently wrote about the 10 states where there was less than a 5% difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election:  Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  These are the battleground states I will be watching closely on election night. 

An early look at three of those states, however, can shed some light as to what is on voters’ minds: 

Florida:  The biggest state among the battlegrounds is Florida, with its 29 electoral votes.   The “Cook Political Report”, respected for its non-partisan analysis, rates it as a “Toss Up”.  And the attached slide confirms this, with Joe Biden ahead of President Trump but only by 49.2% to 47.5% in an average of all polls.  COVID-19 is the top issue for voters in Florida and they prefer Biden on this issue, by a margin of 55%-45%.  On the economy, Trump is preferred, by the same margin.   

North Carolina:  Another “Toss Up, according to Cook and the numbers bear this out. Biden leads Trump again by a slim margin, 48.9% to 46.3%.  The President’s approval rating is 47%, which is tough news for any incumbent.  North Carolina has 15 electoral votes. 

Arizona:  Cook rates this state as “Leans Democrat” when it comes to the presidential race.  However, the latest polls indicate another tight race, with Biden up slightly this time - 48.7 to 45.7%.  As the attached slide indicates, Arizona voters follow Floridians in who they trust to handle COVID-19 (Biden) and who they trust on the economy (Trump).    And 90% of voters consider themselves “very motivated”.   Arizona has 11 electoral votes.

Are there any “swing” voters?   This slide indicates that among the three states, no more than 11% of voters consider themselves to be undecided between Trump and Biden.  Among those who have stated a preference between the two, most are not open to changing their minds.  These remaining “swing” voters are what each candidate is chasing.  According to National Journal’s research, they tend to be younger and have more moderate views.  

Voters are motivated and - mostly – have made up their minds.  The information from Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona shows that voters are driven to vote and motivated to do so by COVID-19 and the economy.  Not many are up for grabs.  As we get closer to Election Day, we will see how many of these actually vote and how these states will decide who occupies the White House next year.