COLUMBUS, Ohio — We are down to 18 days until Election Day and the latest national polls show former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by more than 10 points.
Republicans are skeptical of the polls because of what the numbers said in 2016. Democrats say they need to bank on a large margin of victory just in case the results are challenged.
Spectrum News spoke with political strategists from both sides who laid out what their candidate needs to do to win the presidency.
Republican Strategist Bob Clegg says the election is playing out "almost step-by-step" the way it did four years ago. He believes the president has plenty of time to make up the polling deficit and win re-election. Meanwhile, Democratic Strategist Dale Butland says "barring a seismic event'," things are looking very good for Joe Biden to take over in January.
"I think that Donald Trump is not only in danger of losing. I think he is in danger of losing big," says Butland.
Butland says he hears from Democratic colleagues who are hesitant to think Biden is ahead as much as polls suggest because most predicted Hillary Clinton would win. Yet, he says the main difference between now and then is Clinton had big leads in Democratic states whereas FiveThirtyEight shows Biden is in front in swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
"Personally, I think we're gonna do better than that. I think we're gonna win those three, but I also think we got a shot at Florida. I think we've got an excellent shot at Arizona, probably North Carolina. Maybe even Ohio," Butland thinks.
Clegg concedes Biden will likely win the popular vote but the Republican strategist is far from putting Ohio in the loss-column for Trump, who won the state by eight points in 2016. FiveThirtyEight says the Buckeye State is virtually tied.
"I think Ohio will keep its streak going and will once again predict who the next president of the United States is gonna be because I'm firmly convinced Donald Trump's gonna win Ohio again, and it's not gonna be close," says Clegg.
Some voters in Ohio and others across the country have already cast their vote for President. Clegg and Butland agree Democrats historically come out earlier while Republicans head to the polls on Election Day.
Yet, Clegg says Democrats have less enthusiasm for their candidate.
"People are voting for him because there are people that hate President Trump. So, Joe Biden's the empty vessel that they poured all into," Clegg says.
Each say the loser of the race should accept the results of the election despite the President never making that commitment.
"It disturbs me when anybody says anything like that. Now, he has said things like that. Hillary Clinton just this year, a month ago, said Joe Biden shouldn't concede," says Clegg.
Democrats speculate one of the main reasons Trump wants Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court prior to Election Day is for that very reason.
Butland says he would rather not find out and that is why Biden needs to beat the president handily.
"If you have a landslide in the Electoral College, if we win places like Florida and if we win places like Ohio, then there is no conceivable way that Trump can contest the election because you either win those electoral votes or you don't," says Butland.
Both strategists say Coney Barrett's inevitable confirmation is affecting the race. Butland says this is driving Dems even more to the polls pointing out 62 percent of the country does not want to see Roe vs. Wade overturned which is what some feel Barrett would help strike down. Clegg thinks this is a huge political gamble for the President and questions whether it will be enough to get him re-elected.