Trump, Biden take campaign fight to battleground Florida

International Desk
29 October 2020, Thu
Published: 08:27

Trump, Biden take campaign fight to battleground Florida

President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will rally supporters on Thursday in the battleground of Florida, visiting the same city hours apart and putting on full display their contrasting approaches to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic.

Opinion polls show Biden with a significant edge nationally, but his lead is tighter in battleground states.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday showed Trump had essentially moved into a tie with Biden in Florida, with 49% saying they would vote for Biden and 47% for the president.

With its 29 electoral votes, the state is a major prize in next Tuesday’s election.

Trump will stage an outdoor rally in Tampa.

Thousands of people have crowded together at recent Trump rallies, many eschewing masks despite public health recommendations.

Biden, in contrast, will hold a drive-in rally later in Tampa where attendees will remain in their cars.

He will host a similar event earlier in the day in Broward County in South Florida.

In the days leading up to the election, the pandemic that has upended life across the US this year, killing more than 227,000 people and causing millions of job losses, is roaring back.

Trump this week has repeatedly dismissed the threat of the pandemic, claiming that his rivals and the news media would cease paying attention to it after the election, even as his counterparts in Europe scrambled to respond to the disease’s resurgence this fall.

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm congressional elections, Trump himself drummed up what he described as a national security crisis, fixating on caravans of migrants approaching the US-Mexico border.

He dropped the issue after a resounding Republican defeat that gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll in Florida, 48% of likely voters said Biden would be better at handling the pandemic, while 42% said Trump would be better.

Some 52% said Trump would be better at managing the economy, against 41% for Biden.

Following his own bout with coronavirus, the president has conducted a hectic campaign schedule in the days leading up to the election, holding as many as three rallies a day in different states, while Biden has taken a more measured tack – even spending two days this week close to his home base of Delaware.

More than 76.5 million people have cast early in-person and mail ballots, according to data compiled by the US Elections Project at the University of Florida.

That is a record-setting pace and more than 53% of the total 2016 turnout.

In a significant setback for Republicans in two battleground states, the US Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to block extensions for receiving mail-in votes in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Trump has made unfounded claims that voting by mail, a common practice in US elections, leads to widespread fraud. Source: Reuters