The 2020 presidential election is underway with 16 states open for early voting. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have met for one debate in Cleveland that most Americans would like to forget. Kamala Harris and Mike Pence are scheduled to meet Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET for the vice presidential debate, with hopes for less interrupting and more substantive discussion.
National polls continue to indicate Biden is growing his lead, but as we learned in 2016 national polls only tell a part of the story when it comes to the election. The U.S. doesn't use the popular vote to determine the winner of a presidential election and focusing on national polls is nothing more than a distraction. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 race by 2.8 million votes. But Trump won the presidency.
The U.S. uses the Electoral College to determine the president, making the races in select U.S. states more valuable than others.
TheStreet will try to block out the noise from much of the election coverage we've seen during this 2020 election cycle and focus on the polling and trends in key states that could swing this election. TheStreet compiled an index of the key states to follow in the 2020 presidential election and the latest polling averages from Real Clear Politics.
TheStreet Election Polls Index Oct. 6 Edition
|State||2020 RCP Polling Avg.||2016 RCP Polling Avg.||2016 Polling Results|
The key states to watch once again be within the Rust Belt - Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In 2016, Clinton was leading in the final polling for Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump beat Clinton in all three states, and following the 2016 election reports pointed to "neglect and poor strategy" by the Clinton campaign in these states. Biden has made these states a priority to his campaign and shaped his messaging around the issues voters in these states are facing.
TheStreet will highlight a state in each new article, column and we will start with arguably the most important state to winning the 2020 election: Pennsylvania.
President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by a little more than 44,000 votes in a stunning defeat to the Clinton campaign which assumed it would take Pennsylvania. Democrats elected Biden for his strength in select states like Pennsylvania and early polling averages show Biden with a +6.5 advantage over Trump. The final polling average in 2016 showed Clinton with only a +2.1 lead over Trump. Trump won the state by +0.7%, four years after President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by +5.4%.
As we learned in 2016, anything within 3% should be considered a toss-up. Could Trump make up some ground by Election Day to close the gap and stun Biden, as he did Clinton? Just as it was in 2016, Pennsylvania will be one of the most important states to win and TheStreet will be following Jim Cramer's home state closely.
The latest polls in October show Biden increasing his lead, a month after Biden's lead was only +4%. The swing in support comes after many Keystone State voters were turned off by Trump's debate performance. Trump has two more debates to change voters' minds and close the gap between the two candidates.
What's at Stake: 20 Electoral Votes
Last Day to Register to Vote in Pennsylvania: Oct. 19 - Register here
Early Voting: Starts Sept. 14 - Ends Oct. 27
Election Day Time: Nov. 3, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. - More Information
Key Senate Races: None.
Key House Races: 18 Districts