President Donald Trump continues to sprint across the battlegrounds on Sunday, while Joe Biden looks to put Pennsylvania — and Trump’s reelection prospects — out of reach.
Biden’s lead is holding steady nationally and in several swing states as the final weekend of campaigning before Election Day. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll showed the former vice president 10 points ahead of the incumbent among registered voters.
In the states, polls from ABC News/Washington Post and New York Times/Siena College gave Biden mid-single-digit leads over Trump in the critical battleground of Pennsylvania, which is seen by both parties as the state most likely to tip the Electoral College one way or the other.
On balance, state polling at the end of the race suggests Biden is as well-positioned at the end of the campaign as he has been for much of the race. More New York Times/Siena College polls in Arizona and Wisconsin show leads for Biden, including an 11-point advantage in Wisconsin. A poll conducted for a number of media outlets in Michigan showed Biden ahead by 7 points. CNN polls released Saturday put Biden up 12 percentage points in Michigan, 8 points in Wisconsin, 6 points in North Carolina and 4 points in Arizona.
There are bright spots for Trump, however. Polling in the largest swing state, Florida, points to yet another photo finish there: Biden led by 3 points in a New York Times/Siena College poll, while Trump was up 2 points in an ABC News/Washington Post survey.
And then there was Saturday’s Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll in Iowa, which fueled Republicans’ hopes that Trump could again romp through the Upper Midwest — and boosted the GOP’s spirits about protecting its embattled Senate majority. As it did in 2016, the Register poll showed Trump leading the state by 7 points. Four years ago, that poll presaged an otherwise unexpected Trump surge throughout the Rust Belt, which led to his narrow victory.
But this year, there is greater evidence on the other side of the ledger suggesting Biden’s lead is more secure than Hillary Clinton’s in the final weekend. Polling becomes increasingly predictive as the election draws closer, and the overall lack of movement spells disaster for Trump. More than 92 million ballots have already been cast nationwide, according to the United States Elections Project.
Today on the trail: Trump battens down the hatches
Republicans got a rare dose of good news from the Des Moines Register poll on Saturday. But you know it’s looking grim for Trump overall if he’s spending time in Iowa and Georgia, solid pieces of his 2016 map, two days before Election Day.
Trump won Iowa by 9 percentage points four years ago — a wider margin than he mustered in once-heavily Republican Texas — and Georgia hasn’t gone for a Democrat for president since 1992.
In Iowa, Trump will visit the northeastern city of Dubuque, significant because of its large Catholic population. Trump carried Catholics in 2016 by about 8 percentage points, according to Pew, but he’s now losing that critical constituency to Biden.
Later today, Trump will appear in Rome, Ga., in a conservative swath of the state where Trump’s imperative is to swell turnout to compensate for expected losses in Atlanta and the suburbs. Trump is polling slightly behind Biden in the state, though most surveys there have been within the margin of error.
In a five-rally day, Trump will also visit the swing states of Michigan, Florida and North Carolina — all of which Trump won in 2016.
Biden goes for the key state
The reason Trump did four rallies in Pennsylvania on Saturday is because the election is likely over for him if he loses there.
Biden will follow Trump into the state today in an effort to put it out of reach, appearing at two events in Philadelphia. The city and its immediate suburbs will unquestionably vote Democratic, but Democrats are hoping explosive turnout there can overwhelm Trump in more rural, conservative areas of the state.
Biden is leading Trump in Pennsylvania by about 5 percentage points, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average.
While Biden is in Philadelphia, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, will be campaigning in Georgia and North Carolina.
Air wars holding steady
In the final week of the campaign, Biden is investing the most heavily in Pennsylvania and Florida, with buys of $9.1 million and $8.5 million, respectively, according to the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics. Outside Democratic groups are pumping millions of dollars more into those states from Oct. 27 through Tuesday.
At a massive fundraising disadvantage, Trump and the Republican National Committee have about $3.6 million in ads up in Pennsylvania in the final week, though the pro-Trump group America First Action has pumped another $8.4 million into the state. Trump and the RNC are spending about $5.6 million in Michigan and about $4.9 million in North Carolina, their other big buys.
The relatively steady ad spending is one more sign of how static the race has been. For all of the upheaval of 2020 — from a global pandemic to economic collapse and widespread civil unrest — the presidential race hasn’t moved much at all in months.
If you’re looking for something new, it’ll be in the content, not the placement of the ads. Biden on Saturday released one narrated by Bruce Springsteen. Meanwhile, Boston hockey legend Bobby Orr endorsed Trump in a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Election Day forecast: Great!
Outside of the Pacific Northwest (where folks vote by mail), basically no rain or snow is in the forecast across the entire country. That means voters waiting in pandemic-mandated lines outside polling places should stay dry, if maybe a little chilly.
Post-Election Day forecast: "Bedlam"
Trump has already said he expects the election to end up in the Supreme Court. But his weekend of campaigning is revealing in stark terms how he expects the days after the election to unfold.
In Trump’s view, it’s “highly likely” there will not be a result on election night, in part because of the days it will take to count ballots in Pennsylvania, he told a crowd in Newton, Pa., on Saturday.
He’s right — and Pennsylvania is among several key states where state laws basically make it impossible for election officials to count all the votes, especially mail ballots, on election night. Trump has tweeted repeatedly about wanting to know the results of the election, but state officials are going to follow their local rules and continue counting valid ballots in the days and weeks after Election Day, as they have done for years.
Trump, who has repeatedly advanced baseless claims that the election will be “rigged,” then offered his prediction for what that period of vote-counting will entail.
“You’re going to have bedlam in our country,” he said.
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