The swing states where the pandemic is raging
Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike.
Why it matters: Most voters have already made up their minds. But for those few holdouts, the state of the pandemic could ultimately help them make a decision as they head to the polls — and that's not likely to help President Trump.
The big picture: The U.S. is seeing a third wave of coronavirus cases, setting us up for a brutal winter. On Friday, a record 83,757 cases were recorded across the country.
- Joe Biden has consistently polled ahead of Trump when voters are asked who they trust more to handle the coronavirus.
- Worsening outbreaks could also impact key Senate races, which will ultimately help decide how much power the president has.
Details: Wisconsin and Montana have the largest outbreaks of all states with close Senate races or that are competitive in the presidential election.
- Maine — where Sen. Susan Collins is fighting to keep her seat — is the best off by far, with a low per capita case count that isn't growing very quickly.
- Florida, which has the most Electoral College seats up for grabs of all tossup states, has a smaller-than-average outbreak, which could mean less headwinds for Trump.
The bottom line: The virus isn't under control almost anywhere in the U.S., and even states like Florida have a relatively large and growing outbreak. Whether it's at the top of voters' minds or not, the winner of the election will be dealing with the pandemic and its fallout for a long time.
- And given the current state of things, that person could be facing a worst-case scenario when they take office at the height of winter.