Great Britain

Biden and Trump set for Florida showdown with dueling rallies as polls show former VP with the lead

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both set their sights on the Sunshine State, as the two head to Florida on Thursday for one of their final campaign stops as polls show an ever-tightening race.

The president was scheduled to host another one of his controversial mega-rallies in Tampa on Thursday despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has reshaped campaigning for elected office.

Numerous health officials have repeatedly warned Mr Trump — who himself contracted Covid-19 just weeks ago — against holding the in-person events that often see thousands of attendees, noting the rallies could potentially serve as super-spreader events similar to the White House Rose Garden ceremony he hosted after nominating Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Mr Biden, meanwhile, will be hosting a series of events throughout the state, following guidelines his campaign has followed to reduce the risk of infections.

The former vice president will speak at a drive-in rally in Tampa the same day Mr Trump was appearing in the city, as well as at another rally in Broward County.

The dueling rallies come as new polls show the once-reliably red state of Florida could be a battleground during the 2020 election cycle, with a NBC News/Marist College poll released on Thursday finding Mr Biden with a slim lead over Mr Trump.

Mr Biden’s lead is within the margin of error of 4.4 percent for the new poll, though it showed the former vice president with 51 percent of support among likely Florida voters, compared to Mr Trump, who received 47 percent of support.

The president’s support in Florida, a state he won in 2016, appeared to have slightly declined since the same poll was conducted in September and showed him and Mr Biden with 48 percent support each.

Mr Biden was also leading Mr Trump in several other battleground states crucial to his re-election, including Wisconsin, where the former vice president reportedly held at 17-point lead over the Republican incumbent, as well as Michigan, where surveys showed him with a seven-point advantage.

He appeared to be leading the president just five days before the end of the national election in some states where coronavirus cases have been steadily rising in recent weeks, as the country grappled soaring infections of the novel virus just ahead of the flu season.

Recent surveys have also shown more voters in key states indicating they trust Mr Biden to better handle the pandemic than Mr Trump, including in Florida, where 48 percent of voters said the former vice president would do a better job managing the outbreak than the president. 

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