In just 20 weeks (141 days), a deeply conflicted American electorate will vote, most of them for either President Biden, who’s bearing the blame for the high cost of living, or for former President Trump, whose behavior and character many question.

In recent weeks, Trump’s always unconventional behavior has become even more erratic—just as the most recent University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, released last week, shows a growing pessimism about the economy.

In a country as evenly divided as ours, small numbers of votes in a small number of states have enormous consequences. That is one reason that looking at national polls at this stage, while informative about broad trends, are of little use in ascertaining what is likely to happen in the presidential race.

Similarly, only nine of 34 Senate races leave us any real doubt about the outcome, and just 11 governorships are up for election this year.

So where to best allocate our attention this fall?

There are nine states with contests of particular national import in November:

Presidential and Senate battlegrounds: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada,

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CPR 2024 National Polling Average
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