Donald Trump Reportedly Struggling To Defend Florida As Joe Biden Builds Polling Lead

A Friday report from The Hill detailed U.S. President Donald Trump’s struggles to defend Florida — which he won in 2016 — against Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Trump’s reelection team is reportedly spending more money on advertising in Florida than in any other state. The Trump campaign apparently plans on spending around $40 million on advertisements in the nation’s biggest swing state, which is more than it is expected to spend in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania combined.

The Trump campaign claims to have contacted more than 10 million Floridians this election cycle. Together with the Republican National Committee (RNC), the commander-in-chief’s team has reportedly deployed more than 180 staffers to the Sunshine State.

Polling suggests that Trump has every reason to be concerned about his standing in Florida. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, Biden is ahead by 13 percentage points. In the survey, 37 percent of respondents said that they approve of Trump’s performance in the White House, while 59 percent disapproved.

The Hill report also cited a survey from the Florida-based St. Pete Polls that showed Trump trailing Biden by 6 points. Notably, the poll found that Biden is ahead in Southwest Florida, as well as among voters in the key I-4 Corridor.

As Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert put it, “the trajectory we’re heading obviously spells trouble for the president.”

Ulvert argued that Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic enabled Biden to surge ahead.

“Florida on Memorial Day and in early June — it looked like the pandemic was more under control. Then everything changed over the last three weeks. There’s no strategy, there’s no plan, so it’s hard to imagine voters are going to forget all this 60 days from now.”

According to GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, in order to win back seniors and suburban voters, the commander-in-chief needs to make it clear that he is doing all he can to contain COVID-19.

“I think if he gets over that hurdle in Florida with how they perceive him handling the coronavirus, which he can do from the White House bully pulpit, then he will be in a lot better standing in Florida,” O’Connell said.

As The Hill noted, Trump has gradually changed his rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic. This week, he urged all Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing.

In an interview on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commended Trump for embracing recommendations from public health experts, describing the change as a “very good thing.”

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