A new survey by 7News Miami and Emerson College shows that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is six points ahead of President Donald Trump in Florida, a state that is central to the incumbent’s hopes for a second term in office.
According to the survey, Biden is 51 percent of the respondents and the president 45 percent. The margin of error in the survey was 3.3 percent.
Florida is always an important frontrunner, indicating the direction in which the election is headed. For Republicans, the state has often been the key to victory; in two of the GOP’s last three election victories, the party would not have been able to prevail without the Sunshine State.
Both the Trump and Biden campaigns have wasted attention and money on Florida in the hope of securing the 29 votes from the electoral college. According to the 7News/Emerson College poll, Biden is ousting Trump on the eve of the most exciting election in modern history.
“Florida is a key state for both candidates,” said Spencer Kimball, the director of Emerson College Polling. “We’ve seen Biden take the lead in March, in June, and hold it,” he added, “and then this last week it looks like he may have gotten a little bit of momentum down in Florida.
The survey shows that the majority of Florida respondents – 51 percent – do not approve of Trump’s performance in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that Trump is widely accused of botching.
Florida has reported a total of 807,000 COVID 19 cases since the pandemic began earlier this year, with nearly 17,000 deaths. The state recorded 4,865 new cases on Sunday, with a further 28 deaths.
The rate of new infections has slowed since September, but has accelerated in recent weeks as the rest of the country has been preparing for a second wave. On Friday the state recorded 5,592 new cases – the highest daily total since August 15.
Some reports suggest that Florida’s older voters – critical to the direction the state is taking – were shut down by Trump’s lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden told voters at a community center for seniors in South Florida last month that the president considered seniors “expendable.
The 7News/Emerson College poll seemed to support this claim. Younger voters and the over-65s are pulling for Biden, while the 45-64 age group continues to support the president overwhelmingly.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the race, Kimball said. “We’ve seen President Trump’s numbers remain fairly stable in Florida from 2016, but as this pandemic has increased, especially in June and July, we’ve begun to see those numbers decline.
But despite all the good news for the Biden camp, the survey showed worrying weakness in the southern part of the state, Kimball said.
“The area that I think worries Biden most would be down in South Florida – in Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties – because that’s where the early voting is a little easier, and that will be an area where Biden will have to win by literally hundreds of thousands of votes.
Pollsters and experts are cautious about making grand predictions, given the impact of the pandemic, a predicted high voter turnout and the memory of how polls predicted Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016.
“In politics, nothing is certain, and even with our poll results, there is still room within the margin of error to see a trump card, perhaps a 1.5-point victory in Florida,” Kimball said.