National polls collated on www.realclearpolitics.com and www.fivethirtyeight.com suggest that Mr Biden still holds an almost unassailable lead over President Trump. FiveThirtyEight’s collated polling shows Mr Biden’s lead widened impressively at a national level to 10.4% this week. RealClearPolitics has Mr Biden’s lead widening slightly from 8.1% a week ago, to 9.8% as of yesterday. These represent massive increases statistically, and that is despite a Presidential hospitalisation which should have rustled up a few sympathy percentage points.
It is important to note that the headline figures reflect an aggregated number across the country. The huge gains over the past week by the Biden camp underline a definite swing by female and elderly voters towards Biden’s camp, with a deep level of dissatisfaction over President Trump’s handling of Covid-19. With cases surging again in the US, this could well increase the pressure on the President. It will, therefore, be vital for him to be out on the road displaying his rapid recovery and allaying concerns.
A look at the universe of individual polls though, reveals a wide disparity in margins, but favouring Biden overall. More worryingly for the Republicans, the polls are showing the key battleground states are swinging notably to Biden’s favour.
The Senate race remains the critical, yet most-overlooked part of the election. With a majority of 51 seats needed for control, RCP and FiveThreeEight are suggesting a 51/49 seat majority for the Democrats. It should be noted though, that seven senate seats are a toss-up (too close to call). With three weeks to go, even Texas has noted a strong swing to the blue corner although Republicans will likely hold the Lone Star State. Florida, however, looks in real danger of turning blue along with most of the swing states. The Republicans are running out of time, and by all accounts fundraising to turn this tide. Still, the polls were completely wrong on many levels in 2016, so one can never say never.
Markets, for their part, are pricing in a Biden Presidency and a Democrat Senate in addition to a follow-on fiscal stimulus bill. There is complacency in all those assumptions, and the example I like to use is this: look at how many candidates and hostile Republicans President Trump saw off in 2016 to secure the original Republican nomination. He then showed no statistical respect for the polls either, defying them all to win the great prize. Any signs of a turn in fortunes from here by the Republicans will therefore raise volatility in financial markets. And let’s not ever forget the power of the Trump tweet.