The one that is called by some as the “election of the century”, due to the importance it has in the current social, economic and health scenario in the United States, enters the final week of the campaign. As the first Tuesday in November approaches, attention is increasingly focused on an election that, despite appearing to be leaning towards one side, recent experience shows that it is not yet guaranteed.
Given the peculiarity of the American model, in which the winner is determined by an electoral college, and not by popular vote, electoral surprises are possible and the final result is largely unknown.
Donald Trump will know it well, since in 2016 he won despite being only 28,6% likely to be elected, largely because states like Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin were projected to be Democratic (especially the last two) and ended up falling to the Republican candidate.
In these three states alone, Trump secured 59 electoral college votes. To win, a candidate needs to secure 270. Curious that one of the topics that dominated the campaign, racial tensions and police violence directed at African Americans, had one of its main episodes precisely in Wisconsin.
Protests against police action in a case in which an African American was shot seven times in his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin, culminated in violence between heavily armed civilian Protestants and militias associated with the far right. Two Protestants were killed and another was seriously injured after being shot by a 17-year-old from Illinois who, armed with an automatic assault rifle, went to the city to "protect private property".
In 2020, any of the aforementioned states will again be seen as decisive. According to the website FiveThirtyEight, which takes a weighted average of the known polls, Democratic candidate in 2020, Joe Biden, has a greater advantage than was attributed to Hillary Clinton four years ago in each of these constituencies. In addition, he also leads in Arizona and North Carolina, two other states that Trump won in 2016 and which represent 26 votes.
On the other hand, the polls also point to the president's victories in Ohio, Georgia and Iowa, which represent 40 votes in high school. In this scenario, a victory in Florida or Pennsylvania would dramatically increase the odds of a second term: according to FiveThirtyEight simulations, if Trump wins these five states he will have a 95% chance of winning the general election.
Nebraska and Maine: two different states
Another interesting aspect that could prove to be key in an election that is anticipated to be close are the votes of Maine and Nebraska. Each of the states, in order to increase the interest of the campaigns in the voters of that region, divides the votes of the electoral college that is attributed to it between the general circle of the state and electoral districts.
For example, in 2016, Maine, a traditionally democratic and progressive state, elected Hillary Clinton as a whole; however, his second electoral district, one of the most rural and vast circles on the American electoral map, attributed his collegial vote to Trump.
The reverse could happen this year in Nebraska, a markedly conservative state, but where the second district encompasses the capital Omaha, a cosmopolitan and progressive hub that, according to some polls, will give Joe Biden a vote in the middle of the deeper Midwest.
Regardless of the polls, on November 3, the American president will meet for the next four years, this in an election that is expected to have the highest turnout in several decades. As of Sunday, more than 58 million early votes had been received, both in face-to-face and postal votes, according to data from the University of Florida's US Elections Project.