The third and largest coronavirus wave hits the US in time for the presidential elections, with a surge in the most important swing states of the Midwest. Numerous polls suggest that voters may be taking their pandemic pain and panic with them at the ballot boxes in these locations: President Donald Trump is not only down on national polls – he is doing particularly badly on battlefields where infection rates are rising.
In the past two weeks, the number of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin – where Trump won one percentage point in 2016 – has increased 36 percent to an average of 4,200 new infections per day. And that's only among the people who have been diagnosed. The test positivity rate in the state is a staggering 28 percent, according to Covidexitstrategy.org, and health officials have already had to turn State Fair Park into a field hospital to handle the rush of new patients.
In Michigan, the situation is almost as worrying: the number of cases has risen 73 percent in the past two weeks to 2,600 per day, while the number of Covid-19 patients in the hospital has more than doubled since the end of September. It's another swing state that Trump won in 2016 by an even smaller 0.3 percent lead.
In these places and in the states around them, the majority of voters seem to prefer Biden. That has mostly been the state of affairs for some time, but it may become even clearer as election day approaches. "Biden is fine everywhere – but his leads are even more solid in places where the coronavirus is hardest hit," said Mike Greenfield, Change Research's chief executive officer, who has followed the pandemic's impact on voting decisions. Manufacturing.
Look at the current data:
According to two Washington Post-ABC News polls, voters are likely in Michigan Biden is 51 to 44 percent ahead of Trump, while a Financial Times analysis of RealClearPolitics survey data gives Biden a 7.9 point lead.
in the WisconsinThe Post-ABC polls speak for Biden with an impressive 17 points, and again the FT finding was more modest – a 6.8 point lead for Biden. Registered voters also prefer Biden in both states, according to the Post-ABC, which found the Democrat is more trustworthy than Trump in terms of the pandemic response. There has also been a small shift in FiveThirtyEight's survey average in favor of Biden recently.
In states bordering Wisconsin, inclusive Iowa and MinnesotaAccording to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, Biden also has good polls. In Iowa, Biden is 50 percent and Trump is 46 percent in a poll by RABA Research. According to a survey by Gravis Marketing, Biden is 14 points ahead of Minnesota.
These results are consistent with Change Research's analysis. By examining 110,000 poll responses from various polls between June and October, they determined whether or not a state was seeing a Covid-19 spike, which postponed the election by an average of 3 percentage points.
The trend continued even for Trump supporters. Overall, voters who favored Trump in 2016 and live in states with higher Covid-19 rates are about 50 percent more likely than voters in states where the virus is better controlled to support Biden in 2020, according to Change Research .
"We suspect that Biden's particularly strong lead in Wisconsin is due to people seeing the ineffectiveness of Trump's policies in that state," Greenfield said.
We won't really know to what extent the spread of Covid-19 in swing states could affect the election until after November 3rd – when all the ballots are counted. Voting decisions are complicated, surveys can be misleading, and we need more data to assess how strongly coronavirus motivates decision-making.
At the same time, the pandemic has become a central electoral issue that has deeply affected and continues to affect the lives of all voters – how they give birth and say goodbye to loved ones who have passed away, how they work (if they are still working), how they shop for groceries, and whether their children have to Go to school or college. Most Americans are somewhat or very concerned that they are both infected with the virus and that it is having an impact on the economy.
"(People in) places that have been badly hit or are currently badly hit will seek solutions to their everyday problems," said Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety. They "may be looking for a solution for the other candidate," he added.
The Trump administration has grossly mistreated the pandemic, from failing to get Covid-19 tests working, to discontinuing America's leading health agency, to politicizing the wearing of masks and lying about the danger of the virus. And those public health failures don't even explain the collateral damage from the virus: the stock market has cratered, there are record unemployment claims, people are losing their health insurance and homes, and more Americans are literally starving. Post-pandemic reconstruction will require a war effort, at a time when 1,000 Americans are dying from the disease every day.
"It comes as no surprise to me that voters recognize the sheer incompetence of the current government – some deliberately – in this task," Adalja added.
Days before the election, Trump is still lying about the reality of the pandemic. "We're rounding the curve," he said at a rally on October 25th in Lumberton, North Carolina. "Our numbers are incredible."
Biden has presented himself as a candidate for the reconstruction of America. The size of the challenge facing the former vice president isn't too great – but he's the candidate who can get the scale of the problem under control, said Shannon Monnat, professor and co-director of the Politics, Location and Population Health Laboratory at Syracuse University.
"The president has asked Americans to deny what they see right in front of them," she added. “People are tired. They want leadership and a coordinated response from the national coronavirus. "
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