Florida Now a Toss-Up Between Biden and Trump, Election Forecaster Says

Florida is officially a toss-up between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a nonpartisan election forecaster.

The Sunshine State had previously been deemed "leans Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. But on Thursday, the forecaster updated its 2020 Electoral College analysis to move Florida into a "toss-up" category.

The shift comes as Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, dominates the polls. According to the election forecaster, Biden has not trailed Trump in a survey of the swing state since mid-March.

"It was just getting very hard for us to ignore that maybe it doesn't feel like the state is leaning Republican anymore," said J. Miles Coleman, an associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball.

The latest poll released Thursday found Biden ahead by 6 points in Florida. The survey, conducted by The New York Times/Siena College showed Biden with 47 percent support among registered voters compared with Trump's 41 percent support. The survey also showed Biden in the lead in five other battleground states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Florida will be critical to both parties in the November election. It has the most electoral votes to award of the six swing states that will essentially determine which candidate wins the presidency in November.

President Trump won the state by 100,000 votes in 2016, turning it red again after it had gone for Barack Obama in both of his White House runs. Trump won 48.6 percent of the vote statewide to Democrat Hillary Clinton's 47.8 percent.

But polling has shown that Trump is losing favor with senior citizens—a key voting bloc he won over by 17 points in 2016—amid his handling of the coronavirus health crisis. Plus, his recent comments in which he expressed openness to talks with Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro could hurt his standing with Hispanic voters in the state.

Newsweek reached out to the Biden and Trump campaigns for comment on the rating change in Florida but did not receive a response before publication.

Sabato's Crystal Ball also shifted its rating of another key swing state on Thursday morning, moving Pennsylvania from a "toss-up" to "leans Democratic." Polling averages from Real Clear Politics show Biden up by 6 points in Pennsylvania—a state Trump narrowly won in 2016.

"We see Joe Biden right now on something of a sugar high," Coleman said. "Even though Biden probably isn't going to be this robust come Election Day, we wanted to convey that he's looking like a favorite."

president trump supporter joe biden supporter
A President Donald Trump supporter and a former Vice President Joe Biden supporter converse before the Joe Biden Campaign Rally at the National World War I Museum and Memorial on March 7, in Kansas City, Missouri. The survey showed Biden in the lead in six battleground states. Kyle Rivas/Getty