The 2020 United States election could see incumbent President Donald Trump losing support at the November 3 polls among senior citizens who have a higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
The overview was shared by Dr Mark Rozell who spoke at the US Department of State–Foreign Press Centres election 2020 first virtual reporting tour of the United States and the Americas’ electoral process, implemented in cooperation with Meridian International Centre.
The eight-week programme is designated to enable journalists from around the world to cover the 2020 US elections remotely. The tour includes press briefings with political scientists, elections experts, analysts and pundits.
Millions of voters will decide whether Trump remains in the White House for another four years.
Trump, a Republican, is being challenged by Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, 77, who is best known as Barack Obama’s vice president.
The US has a state-by- state winner takes all system.
The winner of the election will be inaugurated in January 2021. Rozell, an expert on the US Federal Government system, the presidency, politics and elections is also an author. During a question and answer segment, Rozell was asked on by one journalist if Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic would benefit the democrats at the upcoming polls.
Rozell said polls have shown that Trump’s support among senior citizens who are most medically at-risk for COVID-19 had declined.
According to a Morning Consult poll, Trump’s approval rating among voters over the age of 65 dropped by 20 per cent between March and the end of April, making seniors more critical of the president’s performance. The recent trend among older Americans is part of a larger pattern of discouraging poll numbers for Trump. This group of voters could determine Trump’s political fate.
By contrast, in the 2016 election, Trump won 52 per cent of voters 65 and over according to CNN’s exit poll. Trump’s strength in that age groups was with white voters. As the US death toll from the virus eclipsed to 200,000, Trump suggested that only older Americans with heart problems and pre-existing conditions truly need to fear the virus.
Rozell said, polls are showing that if the election were held today, Biden has an eight per cent lead over Trump, but the key to this election was whether Trump can maintain the upper Midwest states votes where he won by a narrow margin in 2016.
“He promised to bring back the manufacturing sector of our economy, to bring back many of these industries that had disappeared from many of these communities and left a lot of economic devastation. He has not been successful in doing that.”
Some polls, Rozell said have also indicated that Trump is picking up support. A question was raised about Americans voting by mail and fears it could take days or even weeks to count these ballots. While insisting this would not change the role of electors, Rozell, however, said there could lead to an uncertain result on election night.
“Because of the pandemic we are having much more voting by mail this year. Therefore, we will not know most likely the results of the election on election night itself, as had always been the case. We will have to wait for the mail in votes to be counted.”
In some states, he said voters have begun lining up to vote even before the presidential debates started which is the traditional way. “But counting of mail ballots will take a few, perhaps, several days, even longer.”
He said one of the reasons Trump may not like early voting, was that studies have shown that certain demographics tend to be more likely non- voters.
Rozell said while voting by mail would reduce the risk of the pandemic, Trump’s supporters statistically are more likely to vote on election day and less likely to wear masks in public.