The US election campaign, with five days to go

·2 min read
Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at a drive-in event in Coconut Creek, Florida, on October 29, 2020

The US election campaign, with five days to go

Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks at a drive-in event in Coconut Creek, Florida, on October 29, 2020

With five days to go before the US presidential election, here are some of the highlights from the campaign trail on Thursday:

- The candidates hit Florida -

Donald Trump and Joe Biden concentrated their efforts on the key state of Florida, where the president sought to raise enthusiasm for an economic recovery to counter polls that show him slightly behind there.

He again played down the dangers of Covid-19 in favor of reopening businesses and stuck with his strategy of fear-mongering.

"They will allow you nothing," the Republican said in Tampa, referring to Democrats.

"We're never going to lock down again... We're open for business."

Biden addressed a drive-in rally in Broward County north of Miami, the first of his two Florida rallies on Thursday.

"I'm not going to shut down the economy," the former vice president said.

"I'm not going to shut down the country. But I am going to shut down the virus."

- Shifting tides? -

Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in Florida in 2016 but an NBC News/Marist poll released on Thursday had Biden with a 51-47 lead in the state.

The poll showed Biden had a commanding lead among Black voters (84-14), women (57-41) and independents (55-41) and was also favored by seniors (53-46), who make up a large proportion of the voters in the Sunshine State.

Florida is tied for third with New York in total number of electoral votes at 29 out of a total of 538.

Candidates must win 270 electoral votes for victory.

Trump cannot lose Florida if he is to be reelected.

A second poll, from Quinnipiac, had Biden ahead 45-42 in Florida.

It also showed a close race in Iowa, but Biden maintaining slightly larger leads in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest number of electoral votes at 20, equal with Illinois.

- News of economic growth -

Economic growth was Trump's primary argument before the pandemic, and he received good news on that front with GDP figures announced Thursday.

The data showed an annual rate of growth of 33.1 percent in the third quarter -- a jaw-dropping statistic that reflected the fact that the economy is rebounding from such a low base.

"Biggest and Best in the History of our Country, and not even close," Trump tweeted.

But economists warned that the rebound in the July-September period, after the 31.4 percent drop in the second quarter, was driven by consumer spending supported by a massive $3 trillion in government aid, much of which has since expired.

bur-la/mjs/acb