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Democratic candidate Joe Biden will enter the first presidential debate on Tuesday, leading President Donald Trump in seven states that the Republican won four years ago.
If Biden won every Hillary Clinton-borne state along with the seven battlefield states he currently leads Trump (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), he would get away with at least 347 electoral votes. A victory requires only 270 votes.
And Biden is linked to Trump in Iowa and is 1 percentage point behind in Georgia – a state that the Democrats haven't run since the 1992 general election.
On the way to election day in 2016, Clinton led Trump in Pennsylvania (+1.9 percentage points), Michigan (+3.4 points) and Wisconsin (+6.5 points). Trump won all three.
For Trump to win 2020, he will likely have to win at least five of the states Biden currently leads: Arizona (+3.4 points), Florida (+1.3 points), Pennsylvania (+4.7 points), North Carolina (+0.8 points) and Ohio (+3.3 points). If he wins this, Trump can probably afford to lose battlefield states like Michigan (+5.2 points) and Wisconsin (+7 points), where Biden is currently the leader.
Put simply, if Trump doesn't gain any significant ground in the remaining six weeks leading up to Election Day (November 3rd), he'll be in a bigger surprise than four years ago.
The silver lining for Trump? Like Clinton four years ago, Biden didn't break 50% in most battlefield state averages. It's only over 50% in Maine (53.8%), Minnesota (50.4%), and Wisconsin (50.7%). That means there are enough undecided or third party voters in most battlefield states to potentially bring those states to Trump.
As of Monday, FiveThirtyEight predicted a 78% chance of winning for Biden, while The Economist predicted that the Democratic candidate has an 85% chance of winning the electoral college.
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