The Biden campaign warned this week the race between the Democratic candidate and President Donald Trump is “a lot closer” than some may think.
The remarks from Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, came in a Twitter thread Wednesday in which she also touted a record $383 million campaign haul in September.
“Millions of voters have already cast their ballots,” wrote Dillon. “But there is still a long way to go in this campaign, and we think this race is far closer than folks on this website think. Like a lot closer.”
“The next few weeks are going to be hard,” she added.
The next few weeks are going to be hard. I tell our team every week that “we can do hard things.” I want to tell you about where your money is going, what we’re seeing on the ground, and what “hard things” need to be done to win this election in the next couple of weeks. (5/?)
— Jen O'Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) October 15, 2020
Dillon’s assessment came as Biden enjoys a lead over Trump in national polls, with the Real Clear Politics polling average as of Friday giving the Democratic nominee a roughly 9-point edge.
Yet, as The Guardian noted Friday, that lead “doesn’t guarantee the Democratic candidate victory”—a reference to the importance of several key battleground states that could ultimately decide the election.
Hillary Clinton also had a clear lead over Trump in the polls for almost the entire 2016 campaign. She ended up losing in the Electoral College.
Because the presidential voting system assigns each state a number of Electoral College votes, which go to the state’s victor regardless of the margin of victory, a handful swing states will probably decide the election and be targeted heavily by campaigners.
Those circumstances aren’t lost on GOP voters. According to Politico,
Swing state Republicans aren’t entirely convinced that Trump’s situation is dire. While acknowledging the obstacles to his reelection, they are quick to point out a salient fact: Trump also trailed in polls in many battleground states at this point in 2016 only to win them narrowly on Election Day. They report high enthusiasm within the GOP base and deep support for the president in rural America—support that isn’t being captured in the polls, they say.
In Wisconsin, Republican Party Chair Andrew Hitt told Natasha Korecki, the rural counties that powered Trump’s 2016 win are “glowing bright red. We really have no concerns that the rural vote is going to turn out for the president.”
A Mason-Dixon released Friday showed Biden narrowly ahead of Trump in Florida—a state the president had been leading—in a promising sign for Biden. But, with Biden at 48% and Trump at 45%, the Democratic has a small lead that is within the poll’s 4 percentage point margin of error.
A further concern for Democrats is that “Republicans are aggressively attempting to suppress Democratic votes,” as Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan wrote in a Thursday column. They pointed as examples to the “poll watchers” the Trump team has called for as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s restrictions on ballot drop-off locations.
Goodman and Moynihan framed voting as “a vaccination for our ailing body politic. Mass participation just might be a miracle cure,” they wrote.