Donald Trump has fought an uphill battle in the polls from the start of his reelection campaign this year, hit with crisis after crisis which he has proved ill-equipped to handle. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died or sustained lasting damage due to COVID-19, and the country remains in the grips of social unrest spurred by police killings of black men and women. The first presidential debate did not help his image, and he has now contracted COVID-19, potentially allowing his rival in the US Election to extend an already vast lead.
The latest polling data shows Joe Biden has extended the distance between him and Mr Trump to its highest point in months.
Poll aggregators FiveThirtyEight have shown Mr Biden’s lead began following the presidential debate earlier this year, with an immediate uptick by September 30.
Data from the day shows he is now 8.2 points ahead of the incumbent.
FiveThirtyEight has assigned him a 50.9 percent chance of winning, while Mr Trump dwindles on just 42.7, down from 43.2 the day before the debate.
The latest data is good news for Mr Biden, who has now reclaimed a polling high he hasn’t seen since August.
The last time he broke into an eight-point lead was on August 30, when he again had 8.2 points over his rival.
Back then, he had a 50.4 percent chance of taking the Oval Office over Mr Trump’s 42.3.
His lead was also collapsing at the time, but Mr Trump’s recent infection may cause the opposite effect.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey of South Carolina, Mr Trump has a slim one-point lead in the state, which he won with 16 in 2016.
Florida is one of two “tossup” states which either Mr Trump or Mr Biden could take.
Mr Biden also has the lead in Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all of which carry a hefty Electoral College value.
The news has shaken Republicans, who believe he may take a senate majority with him if people vote him out of office.
John Pudner, a former Republican campaign operative who runs Take Back Our Republic, a nonpartisan group, said the result is “concerning”.
He said: “I think Trump’s polling and his miscues at the debate are especially a cause for concern in those tight races in Georgia, South Carolina and Iowa…it’s making his reelection tougher, and it’s making those Senate races tougher to win.”
With aspects of Mr Trump’s campaign now suspended, his Democrat opposition has the chance to steamroll him.
Mr Biden could continue to campaign in all of the battleground states and encourage the same “blue wave” Democrats rode into the Capitol Building in 2018.