6% undecided in six states could decide the future”

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These are record elections. Record seniority of the candidates for the White House, 81-year-old Joe Biden and 78-year-old Donald Trump. Record expenditure, more than ten billion. However, they could also and especially go down in history as the six-by-six ballot boxes. Decided in November by a small number of states and swing voters.

The vote is still months away, but the political campaign in the United States appears destined for a photo finish, prompting strategists to parse the tendencies of public opinion like never before. Polls show significant neck-and-neck, around 45%, in a climate made more volatile by general disapproval of the 2020 rematch.

The impasse certainly betrays the seriousness of the unknowns. Four criminal trials, doubts about his vocation to democracy, extreme rhetoric and controversial social and cultural crusades (against abortion) hover over Trump. Biden worries about age, an economy plagued by inflation and domestic and foreign emergencies, from immigration to conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, with the Israeli-Palestinian drama sparking protests among young people.

But despite the enormity of today’s challenges, the future of the White House appears to be in the hands of increasingly smaller groups of regions and voters, thanks to the growing polarization of the country and its electoral system. The formula, in fact of six by six: considers as the absolute key player half a dozen states in the Midwest and Southwest, where a 6% share of the ‘persuadable’ voters is also up for grabs.

The battlefield of the Magnificent Six? Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once the heart of the Blue Wall, the industrial-electoral wall of Biden’s Democratic Party, cracked by Trumpian populism. Then Georgia, Nevada and Arizona, once conservative fiefdoms and now more diverse. In 2020, Biden won them all by a very narrow margin. In 2016, it was Trump who broke through in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and won the presidency.