Positive polls placing Donald Trump ahead in Pennsylvania and Michigan has led to a fight over prediction accuracy among establishment and upstart pollsters.
An exclusive poll for The Independent, meanwhile, found the majority of Americans believe Trump has harmed the standing of the US in the world.
In Texas, Trump says he is “way ahead in Texas” despite opinion polling showing a statistical toss-up in the Lone Star State. Joe Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris is visiting the state on Friday as Democrats increasingly believe they can cause an upset.
It comes as the state’s 2020 voter turnout surpassed its 2016 total, four days ahead of Election Day, in a milestone that is expected to fuel Republican concerns about the party’s election chances.
Nationally, more than 85 million ballots have been cast, more than 60 per cent of the total vote in 2016.
Mr Biden himself is meanwhile heading to Iowa, with Mr Trump returning to Wisconsin and Michigan in a bid to shore up support in the Midwest where he appears to be haemorrhaging support in response to his blundering response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the latest 2020 election polling.
Biden ahead in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania
Donald Trump is trailing election rival Joe Biden in three crucial swing states, according to the latest Hill/Harris poll, losing by small margins in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
“Joe Biden’s position in key swing states going into the final week suggests that Trump has so far been unable to generate enough momentum to close the gap,” comments pollster Mark Penn.
The challenger leads the president by three points in Florida, 50 per cent to 47 per cent, with three per cent still undecided (who are they?!)
In North Carolina, In North Carolina, Biden's lead is just one point: 49 per cent to 48 per cent. Again, three per cent of respondents said they were not sure who to vote for - even at this late stage in proceedings.
His biggest lead though is in his native Pennsylvania, where he is ahead by five - polling 51 per cent to Trump’s 46 per cent.
“In Florida, Trump has a strong Latino vote for a Republican but has problems with senior women concerned about the coronavirus,” Penn comments.
“In North Carolina, Trump is getting little to no black vote and is down in the suburbs to make a should-win state close.
“In Pennsylvania, Trump has strong rural support but is being pinned down by Biden in the suburbs, where the Democrat leads by a wide margin.”
Trump tells Tampa: 'If Florida goes blue, it's over. It's over’
Speaking on the campaign trail in the Sunshine State, his adopted state, on Thursday, the president told his supporters: "If Florida goes blue, it's over. It's over… The heart and soul of this country's at stake right in Florida. It's up to you. You hold the key."
The rest of his address was dedicated to lying about the coronavirus - misrepresenting the US death toll by 15,000 - pledging no more lockdowns, attacking Biden, China and ex-Homeland Security official turned whistleblower Miles Taylor and claiming that America’s allies treat the country less well than its enemies (!).
John T Bennett has this report.
Most polls and political pundits suggest Sunshine State is a toss-up with five days to go
Biden and Trump attack Latin American dictators in bid to win Florida voters
The Democrat was also in Tampa and actually joined the president in lashing out at the authoritarian leaders of Central and South America as part of a late appeal to win over Spanish-speaking voters.
It was certainly a more convincing stance from Biden, given that Trump is known to admire the “strongman” style of statesman and fancy himself in a pair of military epaulettes.
Justin Vallejo has this one what the candidates had to say.
Biden and Trump attack South American dictators in bid to win Hispanic voters at dueling Florida rallies
Donald Trump has strong support in Florida among Cubans, Venezuelans and Colombians while Joe Biden leads among Puerto Ricans
Rivals head for Midwest in final weekend of campaigning
The candidates will barnstorm across battleground states in the Midwest where the coronavirus pandemic has exploded anew, as they head into the final weekend before Tuesday's Election Day.
Biden is in Iowa on Friday - with trips to Wisconsin and Minnesota upcoming - while his running mate, Kamala Harris, is due in Texas as the Democratic ticket targets another major red state.
Trump too is returning to Wisconsin and Michigan in a last-ditch bid to shore up support.
Michigan and Wisconsin were two of the three historically Democratic industrial states, along with Pennsylvania, that narrowly voted for the Republicanin 2016, delivering him an upset victory. Minnesota, which has not voted for a GOP presidential candidate since 1972, is one of the few Democratic states that Trump is trying to flip this year.
Trump has consistently trailed Biden in national polls for months, partly because of widespread disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus. Polls in the most competitive states, however, have shown a closer race.
The pandemic, as well as an extraordinary level of enthusiasm, has prompted Americans to vote early in unprecedented numbers. Already, more than 81.1m votes have been cast either by mail or in person, well over half the total number of votes in the entire 2016 election, according to the US Elections Project at the University of Florida.
The deluge of mail-in ballots makes it likely that the winner of several states, including major battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, will not be clear on Tuesday night, as election officials expect the vote-tallying to take days.
On Thursday, a federal appeals court barred Minnesota election officials from implementing a plan to count ballots arriving up to a week after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by next Tuesday.
Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud and has more recently argued that only the results available on election night should count.
Early voting data show that far more Democrats have voted by mail, while Republicans are expected to turn out in greater numbers on Tuesday.
This means preliminary results from states like Pennsylvania that do not begin counting mail-in ballots until Election Day could show Trump in the lead before flipping as more
Democratic-heavy ballots are added, a phenomenon some have called the "red mirage" and the "blue shift." Several Pennsylvania counties have said they will not begin counting mail-in ballots until Wednesday.
Majority of Americans back national mask mandate, Independent poll finds
Asked about enforcing a nationwide mask mandate in the US, 58 per cent of Americans agreed that there should be one to combat the coronavirus while just 22 per cent disagreed, according to an exclusive Independent poll with JL Partners.
Danielle Zoellner reports.
Exclusive polling: 58 per cent of Americans believe the US should implement a national mask mandate
American voters would not approve of a Kamala Harris presidency, Independent poll finds
US citizens have indicated they would not approve of Joe Biden’s running mate becoming commander-in-chief, according to an exclusive poll for The Independent.
Only 28 per cent of poll respondents agreed that Harris should be president, while 44 per cent of respondents actively objected to the possibility.
When polling people voting for Biden, 44 per cent said they would support a Harris presidency while 20 per cent said they would not.
Danielle Zoellner reports.
Only 28 per cent of Americans say they would support Ms Harris for a future presidency
Trump ‘polling worst in states with big coronavirus spikes’
The president won Wisconsin by just one percentage point in 2016 and is facing an uphill struggle there this time around, with the latest ABC/Washington Post survey placing Biden ahead by a whopping 17 points.
The same poll places the challenger ahead by a probably-insurmountable seven in Michigan.
Other than the fact that the president is taking his superspreader rally tour to both this weekend, what do these two northern states have in common?
Roaring cases of Covid, as Vox points out.
Over the last two weeks, the coronavirus case count in Wisconsin has jumped 36 per cent and is now averaging 4,200 new infections per day.
In Michigan, cases have risen 73 per cent over the same period to 2,600 per day.
“Biden is doing well everywhere - but his leads are even more solid in places where the coronavirus is hitting the hardest,” says Mike Greenfield, the chief executive officer of Change Research, an organisation that has been tracking the impact of the pandemic on voter decision making.
“We suspect that Biden’s especially strong lead in Wisconsin is the result of people seeing the ineffectiveness of Trump’s policies in that state.”
“Places that were hit hard or are currently being hit hard are going to be looking to some solutions for their day-to-day problems,” adds Amesh A Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “[They] may be looking to find a solution in the other candidate.”
Mitch McConnell’s approval drops nationwide despite Amy Coney Barrett win, Independent poll finds
The Senate majority leader has taken a hit among the American public in the Trump era, with nearly half saying they feel worse about his job performance over the last four years, according to a new Independent poll with JL Partners.
Only 16 per cent of respondents said they felt better about the Kentucky Republican and his efforts over the last four years.
That compared with 44 per cent of respondents saying they feel worse about his presence leading the upper chamber of Congress, where McConnell prides himself of being “Grim Reaper” to Democratic legislative initiatives.
Danielle Zoellner reports.
Only 16 per cent of respondents say they felt better about Mr McConnell’s job performance
Minimalist Biden commercial asks voters to ‘silence’ Trump
The Democrat’s call for a calmer, more harmonious American political landscape is beautifully articulated here.
James Crump has this report.
Video targets US president’s views on climate change
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