“Today we are making two ratings changes in Pres. Trump's favor, moving Florida from Lean Democrat to Toss Up, and Nevada from Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat,” Cook Political Report National Editor Amy Walter wrote on Thursday.
The switch slightly narrowed the Cook Report’s projected Electoral College lead for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over Trump from 308-187 down to 279-187. A presidential candidate needs to win 270 electoral votes to win the White House, so Biden continues to maintain a sizable advantage here.
Four years ago, then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton edged Trump by 2% in the national popular vote. But Trump narrowly defeated Clinton in a number of key battleground states, helping him crush her in the Electoral College count to win the White House.
In Florida, which has long been the largest of the traditional battleground states, Walter pointed to the latest polling which indicates Biden and Trump tied or Biden with a slight edge.
Compared with the president’s summer doldrums, Walter highlighted that “Trump’s image in the state and on the ballot standing have improved.”
Trump narrowly won Florida and its 29 electoral votes four years ago.
Walter emphasized that “a more competitive Florida contest is good news for Pres. Trump, who can't afford to lose this state.”
Trump narrowly lost Nevada to Clinton four years ago. As with Florida, it looks like the race is tightening there as well.
“There are signs that this state has become more competitive in recent weeks,” Walter said.
And she also pointed to an underperformance right now by Biden among Latino voters in both states as a contributing factor for the Cook Report’s changing of their ratings.