There are less than three weeks until Election Day and polls show President Donald Trump struggling in nine swing states, including eight that he won in 2016.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has a 10 percentage point lead on Trump in a general election matchup, a number that the president dismisses as being “fake news.” While polls aren’t always indicative of the outcome of an election, numbers coming out of key swing states, including the critical Sunshine State, raise concerns about Trump’s ability to win.
Biden leads in Florida by 3.7 percentage points, according to a Real Clear Politics average, a similar advantage that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had in 2016. Trump only won the state by a little over a percentage point and without carrying it again, the president will struggle to win another four years in office.
If Trump takes all the states likely to go Republican and Biden takes the Democratic ones, the president will have 125 electoral college votes to Biden’s 212, according to The New York Times. Florida would give Trump another 29 votes, keeping him in the race, but if Biden takes it, he would be less than 30 votes away from the 270 needed to win.
“Trump has to carry Florida,” John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, previously told Newsweek. “I don’t see the path forward in the [electoral] college without Florida.”
Biden has a seven percentage point or greater lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states where he has some of his biggest advantages over the president. Four years ago, Trump won both states by less than a percentage point.
Trump also trails Biden in Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona and Iowa.
In Texas, Trump had the advantage over Clinton in 2016, according to FiveThirtyEight, and he won the state by about nine percentage points. With 20 days until Election Day, he has a 4.4 percentage point advantage over Biden.
Ohio and Georgia are still anyone’s game, as Biden holds the former and Trump the latter by less than one percentage point.
Polls were criticized in the past for failing to predict the winner of the 2016 election—although they were spot on for the popular vote—but Geer said if Biden keeps his lead over Trump, the electoral college won’t change the outcome of the election.
“Even if you want to discount some of the polls, he’s consistently behind by about eight points, that’s a real problem in the college even if it’s four points,” Geer said.