Cook Political Report editor: Time to ‘sound the alarm’ on Biden’s likely victory

Cook Political Report editor: Time to 'sound the alarm' on Biden's likely victory

It’s time to “sound the alarm” that Joe Biden is likely to be the next president of the United States, said Dave Wasserman, US House editor for Cook Political Report, on Tuesday. 

Wasserman was one of the few political commentators who correctly forecasted President Trump’s victory in 2016, writing in FiveThirtyEight two months before the last election that there is an “unusually high chance Donald Trump could win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.”

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But now, Wasserman is making the case that Biden has a better chance of beating Trump in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 for multiple reasons. 

“First, Biden’s lead is larger and much more stable than Clinton’s was at this point. Second, there are far fewer undecided and third-party voters left to woo — reducing the chances of a late break toward one side,” Wasserman wrote in NBC News Tuesday. 

“And third, the scores of district and state-level polls conducted by the parties to make spending decisions in down-ballot races generally align with national polls showing Trump running behind his 2016 pace, including in key states.”

There are, of course, still paths to a second-term for the president. GOP strategist Karl Rove argued on “The Story” this week that Trump’s chances for victory hinge on winning one of the three rustbelt states he carried in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Michigan. 

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“Think about it this way, if the president wins every state — let’s take the three Great Lakes states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin [and] put them to the side for a second. If the president wins every one of the rest of the states he won in 2016 and carries Pennsylvania, he’s got 280 electoral votes, 10 more than needed,” Rove said. 

“If he carries Wisconsin out of those three states, only Wisconsin, he’s got 270. If he carries Michigan out of those three states, and loses Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he’s got 276, so the path to victory lies in these states.”

This combination of Sept. 29, file photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

This combination of Sept. 29, file photos shows President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The numbers don’t look great for the president in these states though. According to the latest Fox News poll, “Biden leads by 12 points in Michigan (52-40 percent), 5 points in Pennsylvania (50-45 percent), and 5 points in Wisconsin (49-44 percent).”

This rustbelt strategy also would require Trump to carry every other state he won in 2016, and the numbers are tight in certain Sun Belt states like North Carolina and Arizona

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Ultimately according to Cook Political Report’s latest projection, Democrats have 290 electoral votes in the solid, likely, or lean to the left categories.

Republicans, meanwhile, have 163 electoral votes in the solid, likely, or lean to the right categories. There are 85 electoral votes ranked as a toss-up. 

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