Nate Cohn: “We’re all understandably focused on the states likeliest to decide the election, like Pennsylvania and Florida. Those states remain close enough that Mr. Trump remains competitive. But states like Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Iowa also remain very competitive. In fact, they’re even closer than Florida or Pennsylvania — so close that a Biden landslide is just as real a possibility as a Trump victory.”
“Here’s a different way to think about it: If Mr. Biden outperformed today’s polls by just two points, he would be declared the winner early on election night. Florida would be called by around 8 p.m., and Texas could be the state that makes Mr. Biden the president-elect. (Yes, Texas). He’d have a good shot at the largest electoral vote landslide since 1988.”
“But if Mr. Trump outperformed the polls by the same margin, suddenly we’d have an extraordinarily close race on our hands, potentially waiting days or weeks while mail-in votes were counted in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.”
NATIONAL–Quinnipiac—Biden 52—Trump 42
NATIONAL–Marquette—Biden 50—Trump 40
NATIONAL–YouGov—Biden 49—Trump 42
NATIONAL–USC Dornsife—Biden 52—Trump 42
NATIONAL–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 51—Trump 42
NATIONAL–Qriously—Biden 46—Trump 39
NATIONAL–Climate Nexus—Biden 52—Trump 41
GEORGIA–Monmouth—Trump 47—Biden 46
FLORIDA–St. Pete Polls—Biden 50—Trump 47
FLORIDA–Washington Post-ABC News—Trump 51—Biden 47
FLORIDA–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 49—Trump 46
ARIZONA–Washington Post-ABC News—Trump 49—Biden 48
ARIZONA–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 49—Trump 43
MICHIGAN–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 51—Trump 43
MICHIGAN–Reuters/Ipsos—Biden 49—Trump 44
MICHIGAN–Baldwin Wallace (Great Lakes Poll)—Biden 50—Trump 42
OHIO–Baldwin Wallace (Great Lakes Poll)—Biden 45—Trump 44
NORTH CAROLINA–Reuters/Ipsos—Biden 47—Trump 47
NORTH CAROLINA–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 48—Trump 46
PENNSYLVANIA–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 49—Trump 45
PENNSYLVANIA–Baldwin Wallace (Great Lakes Poll)—Biden 47—Trump 45
WISCONSIN–CNBC/Change Research—Biden 51—Trump 42
WISCONSIN–Baldwin Wallace (Great Lakes Poll)—Biden 50—Trump 41
GEORGIA–SENATE–Monmouth—Perdue 48—Ossoff 42
GEORGIA–SENATE SPECIAL–Monmouth—Loeffler 23—Collins 22—Warnock 21
The Cook Political Report moves Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat from Toss Up to Lean Democrat.
Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy: “Voters think Biden is smarter, more honest, more level headed, and cares more about Americans than the president. And that, in part, translates into a ten-point lead.”
A pair of Senate Republican committee chairmen released a report Wednesday arguing that Hunter Biden’s board position with a Ukrainian energy company was “awkward,” “problematic” and interfered with “efficient execution of policy” for the Obama administration, the Washington Post reports.
But the report offered few specific examples that it impacted Vice President Joe Biden’s actions and failed to demonstrate that it changed the administration’s policy toward Ukraine.
President Trump’s top aides decided not to alert him of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death while he was onstage at a Minnesota rally because they feared that his crowd would cheer about her passing, New York Times reports. They would have.
“Pro-Trump cable network One America News is selling QAnon emojis on its YouTube channel, cashing in on the conspiracy movement that the FBI considers a potential source of domestic terrorism,” the Daily Beast reports.
David Wasserman: “In the hours since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, several analysts have speculated the new, colossal Supreme Court fight will help President Trump by rallying traditional GOP voters behind him and shifting the focus of 2020 from the mismanagement of COVID-19 to a more straightforward partisan cage match.”
“That’s possible, but given the likelihood of the court to take a sharp right turn, a pre-election Supreme Court fight carries much bigger risks for Trump than the Brett Kavanaugh brawl in 2018.”
“Namely, there’s potential for the Roe v. Wade/abortion issue and the Affordable Care Act to drive a wedge in Trump’s coalition. In 2016, much of his support came from voters who disliked Hillary Clinton, liked Trump’s rhetoric on trade and immigration, but consider themselves pro-choice — especially non-evangelical, blue-collar women. And, these voters remain up for grabs in 2020.”
Philadelphia Inquirer: “The state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state that’s seen as increasingly likely to determine who wins the White House, last week ordered officials to throw out ‘naked ballots’ — mail ballots that arrive without inner ‘secrecy envelopes.’ Pennsylvania uses a two-envelope mail ballot system: A completed ballot goes into a ‘secrecy envelope’ that has no identifying information, and then into a larger mailing envelope that the voter signs.”
“It’s unclear how many naked ballots there will be, because this is the first year any Pennsylvania voter can vote by mail, and most counties counted them in the June primary without tracking how many there were.”
Axios: “The decision to reject ‘naked ballots’ didn’t apply during the primary earlier this year, which was the first use of expanded mail-in voting, so it’s unclear how widespread the mistake may be. However, 6.4% of ballots were ‘naked’ during last November’s municipal election in Philadelphia, which was conducted under the more restrictive absentee system.”
President Trump dismissed Cindy McCain’s endorsement of Joe Biden saying he “hardly” knows her and describing the former vice president as a “lapdog” for her late husband, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Said Trump: “Cindy can have Sleepy Joe.”
Bruce Mehlman offers an excellent summary of what the impact of the Supreme Court vacancy is for the presidential campaigns and their parties.
How it helps Donald Trump and Republicans:
- Changes the subject (from the coronavirus pandemic and 200,000 dead)
- Reiterates the election is a choice (adds a third name to the ticket, e.g. Trump-Pence-Barrett)
- Energizes Catholic and Evangelical voters (whose support lagged in 2016)
- Provokes progressive over-reactions (making the election about D.C. statehood, court-packing and “radical changes”)
- Fires up the confrontation-loving base (“Fill That Seat!” is the new “Lock Her Up!”)
- Helps in key Senate races (Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, Kansas)
How it helps Joe Biden and Democrats:
- Fires up the base (Democrats raised more than $100 million in first 36 hours after RBG’s death)
- Prioritizes issues of abortion rights and health care (helping with suburban women whose support was at risk over safety concerns)
- Opens attack on GOP incumbent senators as “swampy hypocrites” (for flip-flopping since the Merrick Garland nomination)
- Adds new potential vulnerabilities (as Democratic oppo research seeks nominee’s flaws)
- Helps in key Senate races (Colorado, Maine)
“Four years ago, when Russian intelligence agencies engaged in a systematic attempt to influence the American presidential election, the disinformation they fed American voters required some real imagination at the troll farms producing the ads,” the New York Times reports.
“There was the exaggerated Texas secession movement, a famous ad in which Satan arm-wrestles Jesus while declaring, ‘If I win, Clinton wins,’ and an effort to recruit protesters and counterprotesters to the same, invented rally over the rapid spread of Islamic influence in the United States.”
“This year, their task is much easier. They are largely amplifying misleading statements from President Trump, mostly about the dangers of mail-in ballots.”
A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 63% of voters now feel apprehensive about encountering canvassers outside their door because of the pandemic.
Just 28% say they are comfortable being contacted in person by campaign volunteers.
Rick Hasen: “With less than six weeks to go before Election Day, and with over 250 COVID-related election lawsuits filed across 45 states, the litigation strategy of the Trump campaign and their allies has become clear: try to block the expansion of mail-in balloting whenever possible and, in a few key states, create enough chaos in the system and legal and political uncertainty in the results that the Supreme Court, Congress, or Republican legislatures can throw the election to Trump if the outcome is at all close or in doubt.”
“It’s a Hail Mary, but in a close enough election we cannot count the possibility out. I’ve never been more worried about American democracy than I am right now…”
“We should not think of the litigation and the wild claims of voter fraud as separate from one another. Instead, they are part of a play to grab power if the election is close enough. There are good legal arguments against a power grab, but if another body tries to overturn the will of the people in voting for president, there will be protests in the streets, with the potential for violence.”
“This is a five-alarm fire folks. It’s time to wake up.”
“At least a half-dozen Minnesota Republicans running for state legislative seats in November have promoted the sprawling, false QAnon conspiracy that claims Satanists and pedophiles run the government and that COVID-19 is part of a plot to steal the election,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
“Once a fringe fiction, QAnon is quickly seeping into mainstream Republican politics as scores of GOP candidates across the country express support for it.”
“The Republican National Committee cut million-dollar checks to six state parties in August as it prepared for the fall campaign. But one payment stands out amid a torrent of money flowing to traditional battleground states: $1.3 million to once-brick red Texas,” Politico reports.
“Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is ramping up his domestic appearances before overwhelmingly Republican audiences, raising criticism that he’s going on the campaign trail for President Donald Trump by taking part in events that previous top U.S. diplomats would have avoided,” Bloomberg reports.
“Pompeo will be in Wisconsin on Wednesday to address the Republican-controlled state legislature in a speech billed as warning of the threat that states face from China’s Communist Party. He’s following a string of Republican visitors to the battleground state including Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) delivered a pretty devastating comeback to President Trump after his dog-whistle attack on her Somali origins at his Pennsylvania rally Tuesday night, the Daily Beast reports.
Said Trump: “She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How was your country doing?”
Responded Omar: “Firstly, this is my country and I am a member of the House that impeached you. Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.”