Donald Trump and Joe Biden are campaigning Thursday in Florida, a key state where the US president intends to rely on the latest growth figures to try to regain control within five days of a poll of which he is not a favorite.
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“Next year is going to be FANTASTIC !!! The president tweeted from his club in Doral, hours before flying to Tampa. “So happy that this fantastic GDP figure came out before November 3”.
According to a preliminary estimate from the Commerce Department released shortly before his arrival in Tampa, growth reached 33.1% on an annualized basis.
But this figure, as spectacular as it is, comes after an equally historic plunge of 31.4% in the second quarter.
It was also mainly supported by the generous aid paid by the federal government to households and businesses in the face of the pandemic, most of which have now ended.
Two styles of candidates, two campaign strategies, two radically different approaches to the coronavirus epidemic: the inhabitants of the “Sunshine State” will attend, a few hours apart, a concentrate of this 2020 campaign.
The city of Tampa will be the focus of attention. It will host a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” rally at 1.35pm (5.35pm GMT), followed by a drive-in speech by Joe Biden at 6.30pm (10.30pm GMT).
The American president, who mobilizes large crowds wherever he goes, most often not concerned with wearing a mask and social distancing, makes the size of these gatherings his main campaign asset.
At the slightest opportunity he mocks his opponent, unable according to him to arouse such enthusiasm. And he is now openly ulcerated by the too much attention given, to his liking, to this virus which has killed more than 227,000 people in the United States.
“COVID, COVID, COVID, the disinformation media sing in unison,” he tweeted.
” Elbow to elbow ”
Much more withdrawn since the start of the campaign, Joe Biden, who has hardly left his small town of Wilmington, Delaware, highlights the need to respect health instructions and to set an example in the face of this deadly pandemic.
“The Trump administration’s refusal to recognize the reality we are living through, as nearly 1,000 Americans die every day, every day, is an insult to every person who suffers from Covid-19 and every family who has lost a loved one “, He launched Wednesday.
Struggling in Wisconsin and Michigan, two states he won extremely narrowly in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump cannot afford to lose Florida as well if he wants to hope for a second term.
A victory for Joe Biden in this great southern state, where the results are expected to be announced early enough on the evening of November 3, could quickly end the suspense of election night.
However, the two septuagenarians are neck and neck in this state which represents 29 votes in the electoral college, out of the 270 needed to win the White House.
According to the latest NBC News / Marist Poll, published Thursday morning, Joe Biden has a slight lead over the tenant of the White House (51% against 47%).
Notable fact: the Democratic candidate has a marked lead among seniors (53% against 46%) while in the last poll of this institute in September the two men were almost tied.
Many polls show a worrying decline for the Republican candidate within this category of the population who played a key role in his victory in 2016.
Like Joe Biden in Delaware and Donald Trump in Florida, more than 78 million voters have already voted in advance, a historic record.