“We are going to win four more years in the White House,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday. “We’re winning. We are winning again.”
The numbers so far are against him. A Fox News poll, conducted Tuesday through Thursday and released Friday evening, shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading 52% to 44% among likely voters nationwide.
An average of the Fox News poll and other national surveys has Trump trailing by roughly 8 points. That’s a bigger deficit than he faced against Hillary Clinton at this time in the presidential election four years ago.
Just days ahead of the 2016 election, Clinton’s sizeable lead from just a couple of weeks earlier had crumbled to just a 1.5-point edge over Trump. On the eve of the election, Clinton held a 3.2-point advantage over Trump, according to an average compiled by Real Clear Politics. Clinton ended up winning the national popular vote by 2 points.
But it’s the states and their electoral votes that decide who wins the White House -- and thanks to victories in six key battleground states that he flipped from blue to red, Trump trounced Clinton in the Electoral College vote.
Fast-forward four years and Biden has a slight edge in many of the key battlegrounds, according to an average of the most recent public opinion surveys.
But Trump still has a path to victory -- albeit a narrow one.
While the national polls were relatively close to the mark in 2016, surveys in many of the key battlegrounds appeared to under-sample Trump supporters, and Trump narrowly won three crucial states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin -- where an average of the final polls had Clinton on top. He also outperformed the polls in a couple of other battlegrounds.
The question now is whether the current surveys are counting the broad swath of voters they missed four years ago. Separate from the polls, Republican voter registration is up in several key states, including Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The president and his campaign have repeatedly discounted public opinion polls and say that their internal numbers paint a different picture.
Biden, campaigning Monday in Pennsylvania, said he’s “not overconfident about anything. I want to make sure that we turn out every vote possible.”
Biden -- who was born and spent his first decade in Scranton, Pa. -- said that “with the grace of God and goodwill, I’m going to win Pennsylvania. It matters a great deal to me, personally and politically.”
“I think we’re going to win Michigan, I think we’re going to win Wisconsin, I think we’re going to win Minnesota. I think we have a fighting chance in Ohio. I think we have fighting chance in North Carolina, a fighting chance in Georgia, a fighting chance in Iowa,” he added.
Here's a look at the 12 states that will likely decide who wins the presidential election
With 29 electoral votes up for grabs, Florida is the largest of the traditional battlegrounds.
Twenty years ago it was the state that decided the presidential election between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. President Bush won the state by five points in his 2004 reelection.
Barack Obama carried the state by razor-thin margins in 2008 and 2012. But four years ago, Trump narrowly edged Clinton by 1.2 points to flip the state from blue to red.
An average of the most recent polling in the state shows Biden holding a slight edge over the president.
Biden and Trump held dueling rallies in the Sunshine State on Thursday. Many political analysts and pundits say that Florida’s a must-win state for the president.
Biden told his supporters in the state that “you hold the key. If Florida goes blue, it’s over.”
Arizona has long backed Republicans in presidential elections.
Bill Clinton in 1996 became the only Democrat to win the state since 1952. But Trump carried the state by just 3 points four years ago. An average of the most recent polls has Biden and the president basically tied in the battle for the state’s 11 electoral votes.
As with Florida, the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be doing him no favors with the state’s crucial senior voters.
North Carolina’s seeing plenty of candidate traffic, and its airwaves are being flooded with ads.
Obama carried the state in 2008 by a razor-thin margin over Republican John McCain. Four years later, GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the state’s 15 electoral votes by roughly 2 percentage points over Obama.
Polls on the eve of the 2016 presidential election indicated Trump held a 0.8% edge over Hillary Clinton. Trump ended up winning the state by 3.6 points.
In the final days of the 2020 race, Biden has a razor-thin edge over the president, according to an average of the most recent polls.
Four years ago, Trump became the first Republican nominee to win Pennsylvania since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump carried the state -- and its 20 electoral votes -- by less than 1 percent over Clinton.
This time, the Biden campaign has heavily concentrated on Pennsylvania, the former vice president’s native state. During his nearly four decades in the Senate representing Delaware, Biden was known as Pennsylvania’s third senator.
An average of the most recent public opinion polls gives Biden a mid-single-digit advantage over the president.
Trump returns to the Keystone State on Saturday and Monday, with Biden stopping there on Sunday, and the former vice president, running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, and their spouses fanning out across the state all day on the eve of the election.
Like Pennsylvania, Trump in 2016 broke the Democrats' quarter-century winning streak in Wisconsin with a narrow victory over Clinton.
But as is the case in Pennsylvania, Trump is currently under-performing with key constituencies, including suburban voters. Also working against the president – a new wave of coronavirus – which has hit Wisconsin particularly hard.
An average of the most recent polls in Wisconsin gives Biden a mid-single-digit lead in the battle for the state’s 10 electoral votes.
Ohio has long played a crucial role in presidential elections. It was the state that famously put George W. Bush over the top in 2004 for a second term.
Obama narrowly carried the state in 2008 and 2012. Four years ago, it appeared it would be another close contest, with an average of the polls on the eve of the election putting Trump narrowly ahead. But Trump ended up swamping Clinton by eight points, flipping the state and winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.
Trump’s margin of victory was the largest by any presidential candidate in nearly three decades.
In the 2020 race, Ohio was expected to remain solidly Republican. But the race has tightened amid the pandemic and both campaigns are heavily investing in the Buckeye State. An average of the latest polls indicates the race is basically a dead heat.
Obama carried Iowa by six points in 2012, but Trump flipped the Hawkeye State four years ago, topping Clinton by nine points, even though the final surveys suggested a much closer margin.
As with Ohio, it wasn't on the battleground radar a year ago.
But Iowa's very much in the spotlight now, with an average of the latest polls in the state giving Biden a razor-thin edge over Trump.
Southerner Bill Clinton in 1992 was the last Democrat to carry Georgia in a presidential election.
Long a red state, Georgia tightened in the 2016 election when Trump captured the state’s 16 electoral votes by just 5 points. The president, apparently playing some defense, recently campaigned in the state and returns on Sunday. Biden made his first general election trip to the state earlier this week.
An average of the last public opinion surveys in Georgia gives Biden a narrow lead.
Democrats carried Michigan for a quarter-century in presidential elections until Trump narrowly won the state four years ago.
But the president's support among White working-class voters doesn't appear to be matching the 2016 levels, and Black turnout, which was down four years ago, appears to be re-energized.
An average of the most recent polls gives Biden an upper-single-digit lead in the battle for the state's 16 electoral votes.
Biden is teaming in-person with Obama for two stops in Michigan on Saturday.
The night before the election in 2016, Trump's final campaign rally went past midnight in Grand Rapids, Mich. Hoping to repeat history, the Trump campaign says the president’s last stop in the 2020 race will be Grand Rapids.
George W. Bush in 2004 was the last GOP standard-bearer to win Nevada. But Clinton narrowly edged Trump by 2 points four years ago, and Trump’s eyeing to flip the Silver State.
Both campaigns have invested time, money and resources in the state in the battle for its 6 electoral votes. An average of the latest polls has Biden holding a mid-single-digit lead.
Richard Nixon was the last Republican to win the state – during his 1972 landslide re-election.
Four years ago, Trump narrowly lost Minnesota and its 10 electoral votes to Clinton, and for over a year the president and his re-election campaign have been eyeing the state in hopes of breaking theGOP's losing streak.
An average of the latest polls in the state give Biden a mid-single-digit advantage over Trump, but the surveys suggest that Trump has gained ground over the past month.
The presidential nominees held dueling rallies in Minnesota on Friday.
But the longtime ruby-red state has become more competitive in recent years.
Trump won Texas and its whopping 38 electoral votes by nine points in the 2016 election, down from Romney’s 16-point win over Obama in 2012.
The Cook Political Report, a leading nonpartisan handicapper, this week changed its rating of the state from lean Republican to toss up. The most recent polls give Trump a slight edge over Biden that's within the margin of error.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris made three stops in the Lone Star State on Friday.