Donald Trump in fight of his life

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

With 100 days to go before the US election on 3 November, US President Donald Trump is facing the fight of his life.

The latest opinion polls show Trump’s Democratic Party rival, Joe Biden, is ahead and his lead is widening.

Three critical battleground states that Trump won in the 2016 US election are putting Biden ahead, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

The polls show that Biden (51%) leads Trump (46%) in Florida, that Biden (49%) leads Trump (45%) in Arizona and Biden (52%) is trouncing the US President (40%) in Michigan, which matches the national 12% average lead Biden holds for the presidential race according to the CNN Poll of Polls on 20 July. The Real Clear Politics opinion polls show Biden ahead of Trump nationally by nearly nine points.

Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has seen his country suffer more than any other – more than 4.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and approaching 150,000 deaths – and his reaction to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and subsequent Black Lives Matter demonstrations is being blamed for the swing to Biden.

Trump has consistently downplayed COVID-19. However, Trump’s decision to hold his first coronavirus media briefing in nearly three months saw a markedly different tone as there was a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus in Florida, Texas and Arizona as well as cases rising in 40 states.

Trump even admitted the coronavirus would “get worse before it gets better” and encouraged people to wear face masks if they were unable to socially distance.

Two days later, Trump said Republicans had scrapped plans for a big convention in Jacksonville, Florida, saying the timing was “just not right . . . There is nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe”.

“A great many people in the White House know what is expected of a president during the most serious pandemic in the last century,” Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, told the Financial Times. “They would dearly love for the president to provide the kind of leadership that a number of governors of both parties around the nation have provided.”

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who is close to the Trump campaign, said the White House “wants to make the case that (the president) is leading the charge to combat the coronavirus and save American lives”.

“It is all about being front and centre on the coronavirus,” Mr O’Connell said. “If President Trump continues to make coronavirus briefings as he did this week, where he is succinct, realistic and informative . . . not only will the key voters he needs come home to him . . . but many other voters will be far more receptive to his messages concerning Biden.”

Trump, who has faced many fights during his hugely successful career, has previously been able to claim credit for the US economy but not any more. He also is unable to hold conventions packed full of his supporters, which he thrives on.

In February Trump repeatedly claimed credit for the country being on an economic high, with unemployment at its lowest for half a century.

On Thursday, the US will release its second quarter report on the Gross Domestic Product.

“We’re looking for the worst postwar economic contraction in 62 years,” Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, told Market Watch.

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