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This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. 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.
We’ve made changes to our Electoral College ratings to reflect this reality.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maine’s 2nd district has moved from Likely Republican to a more competitive Lean Republican.
These moves alone push Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold (to 279).
Republican strategists we’ve spoken with this week think Trump is close to the point of no return. A couple of others wondered if Trump had reached his “Katrina” moment: a permanent loss of trust and faith of the majority of voters.
In talking with strategists on both sides this last week, it’s also clear that Trump is dragging Republican congressional candidates with him as well.
Plugged in strategists on both sides tell us that Trump is running behind in districts he easily carried in 2016. As one GOP strategist told us this week, “I’d be surprised if any House GOP challenger is able to outperform Trump — they are tied to him.” Meanwhile, Democratic Senate candidates — even those in second and third-tier races — are pulling in eye-popping second-quarter fundraising totals.
Can things change between now and November? Of course. So, this comes with that important caveat. But, we also know that the president is not interested in changing his approach or focus. As one strategist who has been doing extensive focus group work with suburban voters tells us, “they are mostly done with Trump.”
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. Moreover, 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? 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.