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Joe Biden Wins U.S. Presidency After Bitter Contest With Trump #GotBitcoin

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th U.S. president, unseating the incumbent with a pledge to unify and mend a nation reeling from a worsening pandemic, faltering economy and deep political divisions. Joe Biden Wins U.S. Presidency After Bitter Contest With Trump #GotBitcoin

Updated: 11-13-2020

Three More Networks Call Arizona For Biden

Three major television networks, CNN, ABC and NBC, projected late Thursday night that Biden had won Arizona, the first Democrat to do so since President Bill Clinton in 1996.

The Associated Press and Fox News called the state for Biden on election night, but other news organizations had held off. The Fox projection infuriated Trump and he has been lashing out at the network on Twitter and elsewhere ever since.

Trump trails Biden in Arizona by about 11,500 votes.

After the three networks released their projections, Meghan McCain tweeted a photograph of her late father, John McCain, a Republican who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years, with the words: “I like people who don’t lose Arizona.”

That was a reference to a remark Trump made during the 2016 campaign about John McCain, a frequent critic and one of the country’s most revered veterans. “He was a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

In order to reverse the results of last week’s vote and get the 270 electoral votes required to win, Trump, who has made baseless claims of election fraud, would have to move at least three battleground states into his column.

Overall, Biden now leads Trump by more than 5 million votes. — John Harney

Trump Campaign Battles Arizona County Over 191 Disputed Ballots

President Donald Trump’s campaign failed to produce evidence to back its claims that thousands of ballots weren’t counted in Arizona’s biggest county because of widespread problems with machinery and poll workers, a lawyer for the Democratic National Committee told a judge.

The Trump campaign and the Arizona Republican Party claimed in a lawsuit that poll workers improperly directed voters to press a green error button that resulted in potentially thousands of ballots going uncounted on Nov. 3. Evidence presented at the hearing showed 191 votes for the president were affected, a figure the campaign ultimately didn’t dispute.

President-elect Joe Biden leads Trump by 11,034 votes in Arizona, where 11 electoral votes are at stake. Even without Arizona, Biden has been projected to win at least 279 electoral votes, surpassing the 270 needed for victory.

The Republicans’ complaint evolved out of an earlier, failed suit in which the campaign alleged voters were improperly directed to use Sharpie markers to fill in their ballots, supposedly resulting in the votes not being counted.

“The plaintiffs in this case have zigzagged wildly all over the place,” Sarah Gonski, a lawyer for the DNC with Perkins Coie, said in a closing statement at the hearing in Arizona state court in Phoenix. “It’s been a moving target throughout this case.”

Six Hours

After six hours of testimony, including from Trump voters who said they were confused by the county’s voting machines, State Court Judge Daniel Kiley said he’d rule later on the campaign’s request to force a manual inspection of the ballots.

The campaign claimed poll workers who assisted voters at vote-tabulating machines inappropriately pushed a green error button alerting voters that they’d voted for two candidates in the same race. Pushing the button casts the ballot while discounting the so-called overvote, and numerous Trump voters said they were concerned that meant their votes weren’t counted.

The campaign’s lawyer, Kory Langhofer, emphasized in his closing argument that the case had never alleged fraud. The campaign backed off its original demand for a full manual inspection of the affected votes and said such a count would be necessary only if it would make a difference in one of the many statewide races.

Scott Jarrett, director of Election Day and Emergency Voting, testified that the green button issue wasn’t raised by the Trump campaign on Election Day and was raised only later, as Arizona Republicans began accusing Democrats broadly of trying to steal the election.

Laura Christians, an Arizona woman who claims her in-person vote for Trump probably didn’t get counted, testified that the sworn affidavit she signed about alleged poll worker shenanigans was written by lawyers.

“They wrote that up and sent it to me to review to make sure it’s what I agreed with,” she said. “I personally did not prepare it.”

Joe Biden Wins U.S. Presidency After Bitter Contest With Trump #GotBitcoin

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th U.S. president, unseating the incumbent with a pledge to unify and mend a nation reeling from a worsening pandemic, faltering economy and deep political divisions.

Biden’s victory came after the Associated Press, CNN and NBC showed him winning Pennsylvania and Nevada and gaining more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris,” Biden said in a statement. “In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.”

Biden was at home with his family when he learned he’d won the election, a campaign aide said. The president-elect planned an 8 p.m. New York time address to the nation.

Trump rejected the outcome, saying in a statement immediately after the race was called that the election is “far from over.” He was at Trump National Golf Club Washington, D.C, in Sterling, Virginia, when the networks called the race for Biden.

Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, 56, becomes the first Black and Indian-American woman to serve as vice president, a glimpse at a coming generational shift in the party.

Biden, 77, will become the oldest president-elect in U.S. history and the first to oust a sitting commander-in-chief after one term since Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Biden won 290 Electoral College votes, according to the AP, which earlier had called Arizona for the Democrat. Several other networks have yet to call Arizona or Nevada, but Biden still has the Electoral College votes to claim the presidency.

Spontaneous celebrations broke out in front of the White House, in New York City’s Times Square and in Philadelphia as news of the election results were released.

But the incoming president’s goal of uniting the country will be made more difficult by Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud and with control of the U.S. Senate up in the air, awaiting two runoffs in Georgia in January.

If Republicans hold the Senate, Biden’s agenda of tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations and climate-friendly energy policies could be stymied in Congress. Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives.

Biden won back the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — the so-called Blue Wall that delivered the presidency to Trump in 2016. Buoyed by historic turnout, Biden reaped 4 million more votes than Trump nationwide, as of Saturday morning, winning nearly 75 million votes to Trump’s 71 million.

Trump Contests The Results

Trump cast doubt on the outcome throughout the count, claiming widespread voting irregularities without evidence and filing lawsuits to contest the ballot count in some key states where he was behind.

So far, none of Trump’s lawsuits have gained traction or demonstrated that the results of the election can be overturned.

Biden pulled together enough support to sweep aside one of the most unconventional and polarizing presidents in U.S. history, a man who cultivated a fierce loyalty among his supporters — they had taken to chanting, “We love you!” at his campaign rallies — while equating his political rivals and the media to enemies of the state.

Given how close Biden’s margins were, Trump might have won a second term if not for his widely criticized response to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout. The president routinely mused at rallies how he had the election won before the virus reached the U.S. earlier this year.

Trump consistently downplayed the threat of the virus and discouraged even the simplest public health measures to curb its spread, turning mask-wearing into a political issue. For voters, seeing Trump, his wife and his youngest son infected with Covid-19 in early October punctuated his failure to protect the nation as a whole.

Biden has promised that combating the U.S. outbreak will be his highest priority, along with repairing a battered economy. He has proposed a $3.5 trillion plan that relies heavily on deficit spending to create jobs, though a plan that size likely would face resistance in a Republican-led Senate. More than 9.7 million Americans have been sickened and more than 236,000 have died since February.

The president-elect has said he can erase some of Trump’s most controversial decisions on his own, without congressional approval. He plans to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization and reverse Trump’s rollbacks of environmental regulations. He says he will also end the ban on immigration from several predominantly Muslim nations and restore rights for asylum seekers.

Many world leaders offered congratulations to Biden, saying they looked forward to working with a president who promised to return the U.S. to the global community after Trump’s isolationist bent. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Biden’s victory a chance for a new beginning in transatlantic ties — a “New Deal.”

Voters responded to Biden’s relative humility and his conventional approach to the campaign, which reflected his 47 years in public life. Biden surrounded himself with many of the same advisers from his past campaigns, and his administration likely would include at least some veterans of Barack Obama’s White House, where Biden was vice president.

On the airwaves, Americans saw a one-sided contest: In August and September, Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee outraised Trump’s team by more than $289 million, fueling a massive advertising effort.

Biden Faces GOP Senate

Facing a likely Republican majority in the Senate, Biden would have to draw on longstanding relationships with top Republicans in Congress in order to have any shot of passing major legislation or getting his preferred cabinet confirmed. That could prove difficult in a Washington that looks little like it did when Biden first entered politics in 1972.

The presidency marks an unexpected capstone for Biden’s five-decade political career. The former Delaware senator’s two previous presidential bids in 1988 and 2008 collapsed in the primaries. After serving as Obama’s vice president, he passed up a chance to run again in 2016 following the death of his son Beau Biden and as Democrats coalesced around Hillary Clinton.

Biden entered the Democratic primary in April 2019 as the front-runner. He ran on a message of unity, often saying he ran because of Trump’s response to the 2017 White supremacist rally and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the president said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

Until Biden’s victory was assured, Democrats feared he might fall short — much like Clinton in 2016. Public polls once again appeared to overstate Biden’s strength in closely contested states, as Biden was forced to eke out narrow wins in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Party operatives fretted about Biden’s light travel schedule during the campaign’s final stretch. Some aides feared Biden’s operation did not excite Black and Latino voters enough to get them to the polls.

Harris To Be Key Adviser

Biden’s choice of Harris seemed designed to counter the criticism that he was a throwback candidate in a party pointed toward the future. A California senator and that state’s former attorney general, Harris drew younger and minority voters to the campaign. Biden promised her that she would have the same access to the Oval Office that he did as vice president, and would be the last one to offer advice after a meeting.

Harris challenged Biden in the primaries after gaining national fame through her questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr at their confirmation hearings. If Biden, who will turn 82 in 2024, decides not to seek a second term, she is almost certain to run again.

Ultimately, it was the coronavirus that sunk Trump’s chance of a second term. Even after recovering from his bout with the virus, Trump attacked leading infectious disease experts, such as Anthony Fauci, a member of his own coronavirus task force. Polls routinely showed that voters rated Trump’s pandemic response poorly.

While Trump held a series of rallies packed with unmasked supporters, Biden urged Americans to heed the warnings of scientists and medical experts to maintain social distancing and wear face coverings in public.

After canceling all in-person campaign events as the coronavirus swept across the U.S. in March, Biden later resumed travel after Labor Day and made a point of wearing a mask in public. His events were small and socially distant, and he held drive-in rallies of hundreds of people honking their support.

Biden made the race into a referendum on Trump, and the president tried to caricature Biden as a corrupt, past-his-prime politician who was too weak to hold off the far left wing of his party. The president coined a derisive nickname for Biden — “Sleepy Joe” — just like his “Crooked Hillary” moniker in 2016.

Trump was better able to define Clinton, whose campaign was overshadowed by controversy over her handling of her emails while secretary of State. A late October letter from then-FBI Director James Comey may have cemented Trump’s win.

But attempts by Trump’s associates to smear Biden as corrupt fell flat. A week before the election, 55% of voters surveyed in a CNN poll said they viewed the former vice president favorably.

Still, many of the same challenges that sunk Trump’s presidency — namely a resurgent pandemic that is slowing the U.S. economic recovery — could overwhelm the rest of Biden’s agenda.

He will be confronted with a cascading set of crises even beyond the pandemic: racial unrest, accelerating climate change and a possible Supreme Court ruling that could gut Obamacare, a policy he has promised to build on.

Biden likely will have to continue to contend with Trump, who is showing no sign of going quietly from the White House.


Biden’s haul outpaced Obama’s re-election fundraising in the same month in 2012 by about $20 million.  Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

Joe Biden Topped Donald Trump In May Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, ahead in national and many swing-state polls, also has pulled in front of President Trump in the monthly money race, outraising the president by about $7 million in May, according to the campaigns.




Trump Gets KPOP’d And Tic Toc’d As Teens Mobilized To Derail Trump’s Tulsa Rally

Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee announced Saturday that they’d collected $74 million last month. Mr. Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee said earlier that they had raised a combined $81 million over that span. Mr. Biden’s May haul outpaced former President Obama’s re-election fundraising in the same month in 2012 by about $20 million.

Campaign finance reports, detailing the ways the two raised and spent money in May, are due to the Federal Election Commission by the end of Saturday.

Mr. Trump’s allies reported about $265 million in available cash. Mr. Biden’s campaign and the DNC haven’t disclosed their latest cash-on-hand number, but the entities had about $100 million in the bank at the end of April, earlier fundraising reports show.

The Trump and Biden election efforts had raised about the same amount in April; Mr. Trump and the RNC brought it $61.7 million, while Mr. Biden and the DNC collected $60.5 million.

The coronavirus pandemic brought in-person political fundraising and campaign events to a halt in mid-March as most states issued stay-at-home orders.


Biden, Obama Release Campaign Video Applauding Their Achievements

Mr. Trump has begun getting back on the campaign trail, with a Saturday rally in Tulsa after some private fundraising events. His campaign and the RNC raised about $10 million at a recent Dallas event and $3 million at his golf club in New Jersey last weekend, according to the RNC.

“There is definitely pent-up excitement for in-person fundraisers,” RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement.

The Trump campaign broke a record by raising $14 million online last Sunday, the president’s 74th birthday, the RNC and the Trump campaign said.

Mr. Biden hasn’t resumed in-person fundraisers, but his money quest has featured the Democratic Party’s biggest names in Zoom virtual events.



Fundraisers last month included one with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and one with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a 2020 presidential primary candidate.

So far in June, Mr. Biden’s campaign brought in $6 million during a fundraiser hosted by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, $3.5 million from one with California Sen. Kamala Harris and $8.4 million from climate-focused donors, according to the campaign. Mr. Obama is set to host his first fundraiser for his former vice president on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden has invested some of the campaign’s money in new television, radio and print ads, announcing Thursday that it is spending $15 million on five weeks of advertising in six states that Mr. Trump won four years ago, including Florida and Wisconsin.

One goal of the ad blitz is to reach voters who flipped from backing Mr. Obama in 2012 to Mr. Trump in 2016, according to a Biden campaign memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Some ads will appear on Fox News and during Nascar events, as well as in parts of the Florida panhandle, the memo said.

The television push is Mr. Biden’s first of the general election, though his campaign also has spent about $16 million on digital ads since the beginning of March, when he began wrapping up the Democratic nomination, according to advertising tracker Kantar/CMAG.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has spent about $40 million on TV, radio and digital ads since the beginning of March, Kantar/CMAG data show.

Biden Holds Lead Over Trump Among Younger Voters, Poll Shows


Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden holds an advantage over President Donald Trump nationally as well as among young voters, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, surveyed 1,332 registered voters from June 11 to 15. Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 58 percent said they would vote for Biden if the presidential election were held today, while 31 percent favored Trump.

The survey also found that Biden is holding a lead over Trump nationally. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for the former vice president, while 41 percent chose Trump. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Trump’s support increased as the poll looked at older age groups. Among those between ages 35 and 49, 45 percent said they would vote for Biden, compared with 42 percent for Trump. But Trump leads Biden among respondents between ages 50 and 64, as 47 percent supported the president while 45 percent chose Biden.

A separate poll, conducted by The Economist/YouGov, found similar results, with the candidate preference differing based on age. Sixty-one percent of respondents between ages 18 and 29 chose Biden as their preferred candidate, compared with 24 percent for Trump. Among respondents between ages 45 and 64, Trump holds a slight lead over Biden, 47 to 46 percent.

The Economist/YouGov poll also shows Biden with a 9-point lead over Trump nationally, 50 to 41 percent. This poll surveyed 1,500 adults from June 14 to 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Additionally, the Quinnipiac University poll looked at Americans’ views on such issues as the economy, the coronavirus pandemic and race relations.

According to the poll, 51 percent of respondents said that they believe Trump will do a better job of handling the economy, while 46 percent chose Biden.

In comparison, Biden is ahead of Trump when it comes to who would be better at handling the pandemic and race relations. The former vice president holds a 54 to 41 percent lead over Trump for response to the pandemic and a 58 to 36 percent lead for handling race relations.

In addition to this poll, the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight averages of several national polls show Biden leading Trump by over 8 points. The Real Clear Politics average has Biden leading 50.1 to 41.6 percent, while FiveThirtyEight has 50.3 to 41.5 percent.

Updated: 6-24-2020

Obama Raises $11 Million For Biden’s Presidential Bid, Underscores ‘Urgency’

Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday made his first campaign appearance alongside Joe Biden since endorsing him for president in April, helping raise more than $11 million for his former No. 2 as he exhorted supporters to meet the “urgency” of the moment.

“I appreciate all of you being on this call,” Obama said at a virtual fundraiser. “But man, this is serious business. Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough.”

The virtual fundraiser collected $7.6 million from 175,000 grassroots contributors. Obama and Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also hosted a private online portion for high-dollar donors, which was not open to reporters and brought in more than $3.4 million.

The haul was the most for any Biden campaign event, coming on the heels of the Democratic Party and Biden’s campaign out-raising Republican President Donald Trump in May for the first time.

Tuesday’s fundraiser showed the drawing power of Obama, who remains overwhelmingly popular among the Democratic base and who will be counted on as a key campaign figure this autumn.

It also highlighted the dramatic changes the coronavirus pandemic has wrought on traditional campaigning, with the two politicians sharing a split screen from their living rooms, while supporters tuned in via live-stream.

Early in the 2020 campaign, Biden’s weak fundraising numbers compared with some of his Democratic competitors were a source of concern. But his fundraising from donors has picked up in recent weeks as his lead in national opinion polls grew and the country reacted to incidents of police brutality.

Trump, who has been campaigning for a second term since 2017, still has far more cash on hand ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

His campaign noted in a statement that it raised more than $10 million last weekend, when the president appeared in Oklahoma for his first live campaign rally since the outbreak erupted.

“There is no enthusiasm for Joe Biden,” said Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman.


Obama, who has only occasionally criticized Trump since leaving office in 2017, faulted his successor’s behavior several times on Tuesday, saying he “exploits” divisions among Americans and calling his approach to governing “mean-spirited.”

“There is no disconnect between the urgency of this election and the political moment and what has been happening on the streets,” said Obama, referring to the civil rights protests that have swept across major cities since George Floyd, a Black man, died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Obama also criticized Trump for ignoring advice from public health experts on how to handle the coronavirus and for giving cover to authoritarian governments by attacking the free press and advocating military force against protesters.

“There’s a big contest, not just in this country but around the world, about who we are,” Obama said.

Biden, who has an extensive foreign policy record both as a U.S. senator and as vice president, said he would pick up the phone on his first day in office with a simple message to allies around the world: “America is back.”

As the event ended, Obama said: “Love you, Joe.”

“Love you too, pal,” Biden responded.

Updated: 6-24-2020

Trump Trails Biden By 14 Points In Latest National Poll

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading President Trump by 14 points, 50 to 36 percent, in the latest general election poll by The New York Times and Siena College. The poll is the most recent of several national surveys that have shown Biden ahead of Trump by double digits.

The New York Times/Siena College poll also shows Biden leading or tied with the president among all age demographics.

Biden and Trump both poll at 44 percent support with those aged between 45 and 64, and Biden is within the 3-point margin of error in his 47-45 percent lead among those 65-years-old and older.

It’s a similar story across education levels of voters — the president trails Biden with voters who completed some high school and/or trade school, as well as with those who hold bachelors degrees and graduate degrees. Trump and Biden are tied with those who have completed “some college” with 43 percent support each. And it’s the latest poll to show that Trump’s 2016 support among blue-collar workers and white voters has ebbed. Trump and Biden are statistically tied with white voters with the president up one point at 44-43 percent.

However, this poll doesn’t suggest a surge in support for Biden. Only 26 percent of registered voters said they found Biden “very favorable” — another 26 percent said they found him “somewhat favorable”, and a combined 42 percent of registered voters said they find Biden either “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable.

While that isn’t a ringing endorsement for Biden, it may be all he needs to curry favor with an electorate that, according to this poll, finds Trump more unfavorable. A similar 27 percent of registered voters said Trump was “very favorable”, but 50 percent of them found the president “very unfavorable”.

Trump’s disappointing poll numbers come at a time when a majority of voters have said they disapprove of the job he’s doing in handling the coronavirus pandemic and after an underwhelming crowd in Tulsa, Okla. showed up for the president’s first official campaign event since the pandemic began. According to this poll, 58 percent of registered voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

The New York Times/Siena College poll of registered voters took place between June 17 and 22.

Updated: 6-27-2020

More Democratic Women Urge Joe Biden to Pick a Black Woman Running Mate

Former vice president is considering at least six for the job that is a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Joe Biden has often spoken on the campaign trail about a January 2009 day when he waited on a train platform in Wilmington, Del., for Barack Obama, soon to be the nation’s first black president, a moment that served for Mr. Biden as a sign of American progress.

Nearly a dozen years later, some Democratic women are urging Mr. Biden’s campaign during phone calls, at fundraisers and in writing to be part of history again by selecting the first black woman as a vice-presidential running mate.

The push for Mr. Biden to choose a woman of color has increased in recent weeks as his search process has coincided with the wave of protests over the killing of the African-American George Floyd by a white policeman in Minneapolis last month.

“We’re talking about a transformational moment, and African-American women have been transformational leaders for generations, for centuries,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), who has urged the Biden campaign to add a black woman to the ticket.

Mr. Biden’s campaign is considering at least six African-American women for the job, according to people familiar with the search, with some further along than the others.

The women include California Sen. Kamala Harris; Rep. Val Demings of Florida; former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; and Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia. Rep. Karen Bass (D., Calif.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has recently begun undergoing vetting, according to two people familiar with the search process.

At least two other women of color are also being considered: Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the first Latina Democrat elected governor.

Other potential running mates include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Mr. Biden has emphasized the importance of governing and compatibility during his search. In an interview with CBS earlier this month, he said the recent protests and unrest across the nation hadn’t affected how he would make his decision, but he said it had put an “urgency” on finding someone who shared his overall philosophy.

During a recent virtual fundraiser led by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D., Del.), who is helping to lead Mr. Biden’s search process, attendees expressed support for Ms. Harris and Ms. Demings to be on the ticket, according to an attendee.

Ms. Bass, who is close to Ms. Blunt Rochester and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, another member of the search committee, has talked up the benefits of Mr. Biden selecting a black woman.

“It would be energizing and exciting for there to be an African-American woman on the ticket,” she said in an interview with CBS’s “The Takeout” podcast earlier this month. “If there is not an African-American woman on the ticket, I think people will be disappointed.”

One of the arguments that Democratic women have made to the campaign is that black women are among the party’s most loyal voters. “Presidential cycles come and go where black women are still loyal, but we are now as a voting bloc ready to govern,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, a political network of women of color.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former 2020 rival to Mr. Biden who endorsed his candidacy in March, withdrew from the search earlier this month and called it “a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”

Rep. James Clyburn (D., S.C.), a top Biden surrogate, said he had suggested Ms. Bass, Ms. Harris, Ms. Bottoms and Ms. Demings to Mr. Biden months ago for consideration as potential running mates. Mr. Clyburn said that in his discussions with the campaign, he has framed a black running mate as “a plus, not a must.”

“I would never tell anybody what they must do,” Mr. Clyburn said.

A Monmouth University poll released last week found that 59% of Democratic primary voters believed choosing a woman of color would help the ticket. The poll, which surveyed more than 2,000 primary voters in early June, found that Ms. Harris, at 28%, was the preferred choice for Mr. Biden’s running mate, followed by Ms. Warren at 13% and Ms. Klobuchar at 12%.

“You have to be deeply insensitive not to get that this is a singular moment in history,” said David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “Biden has a sense of that history. He understands the moment. But he’s also been the vice president. He knows the job, he knows what he wants.”

Even before the renewed focus on racial injustice, more than 200 black female leaders signed an open letter to Mr. Biden in late April urging him to choose a black woman as his running mate. Roughly a dozen of those women joined a conference call with Mr. Biden and his senior staff in May, where they made the case that an African-American woman would help Mr. Biden win the White House, according to a participant.

Participants included Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, former Hillary Clinton aides Minyon Moore and Karen Finney, and civil rights advocates such as Roslyn M. Brock of the NAACP.

Although the campaign didn’t make any commitments, the participant said Mr. Biden was receptive to their feedback. Since Mr. Floyd’s death, the number of signatories on the letter has grown to more than 700.

Mr. Biden has often used the term “simpatico,” saying he wants to find a candidate who would serve the same kind of close adviser role that he played for eight years—and be ready to serve as president if necessary.

He has also frequently touched on history, recalling how the civil rights movement of the 1960s inspired him to pursue a career in public service that led him to become No. 2 to the nation’s first black president.

At campaign events before the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Biden recounted the moment before a pre-inauguration rally when he waited for Mr. Obama at the train station, which was near a site of racial unrest in his hometown in 1968. He called his children by phone. “Don’t tell me things can’t change,” Mr. Biden recalled telling them.

Updated: 6-26-2020

Updated: 7-3-2020

Joe Biden Raises $141 Million, Topping Trump For Second Straight Month

Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $131 million, trailing the Biden campaign and Democratic Party.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $141 million in June, his campaign announced Wednesday night, topping the total haul of President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee for the second straight month.

Trump and the RNC combined to raise $131 million.

Both campaigns massively improved upon their fundraising from May, when Biden and the DNC banked $80.8 million and Trump raised $74 million.

Biden has now outraised Trump in both months since reaching a joint fundraising agreement with the DNC in late April, which allowed him to raise much larger sums from a single donor. Trump and the RNC have had a joint fundraising agreement for years.

The Trump campaign, which is trailing by significant margins in public polling, has long planned to have a major financial advantage over the Democratic nominee. But Biden’s fundraising strength, powered by donors large and small, likely means that advantage is smaller than the Republicans would like.

The Trump campaign said it has more than $295 million on hand, while the Biden campaign did not release a total. The Biden campaign ended May with just $82 million in the bank.

The Trump campaign announced its fundraising total with great bombast and confidence earlier Wednesday only to be one-upped by Biden’s team Wednesday night.

“After yet another haul of record-breaking support, the voters are speaking loud and clear ― they support President Trump,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement at the time.

“As Joe Biden remains hidden in his basement, President Trump is leading this country to a Great American Comeback that will reignite our economy, restore law and order, and usher in a new era of strength.”

“There’s real, grassroots energy for Joe,” Biden campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon countered on Twitter, noting the Biden campaign’s fundraising list had grown by more than 2.6 million people over the past three months.

The Biden campaign’s haul was part of an auspicious month for the finances of left-leaning groups and campaigns. The wave of activism powered by the Black Lives Matter movement and growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic led to a record-shattering $392 million in payments through ActBlue, a digital donation processor for Democrats and liberal groups.

Updated: 7-15-2020

Biden Expands Lead As Trump’s Approval Drops

Voters increasingly dislike president’s performance during coronavirus pandemic, but majority of voters back his handling of economy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump reached double digits this month as Mr. Trump’s approval rating declined amid widespread disagreement with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Less than four months before the November election, 51% of voters said they would vote for Mr. Biden if the election were held today, with 40% backing Mr. Trump. Mr. Biden’s lead over the president rose to 11 percentage points from 7 percentage points last month, as both candidates saw growth in the share of voters who view them very negatively.

But Mr. Trump maintained the backing of a majority of voters on the economy, with 54% approving of his handling of the matter, a record high in the poll. The U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February after the pandemic forced wide swaths of the economy to shut down, triggering millions of job losses. While activity showed signs of rebounding in May, economists expect the outlook could deteriorate as a wave of new cases forces states to pause or reverse reopening plans.

The president’s overall job-approval rating dropped 3 percentage points over the last month. Forty-two percent of voters approved of Mr. Trump’s performance, with 56% disapproving—his lowest job-approval rating since April 2018.

Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who worked on the survey, said Mr. Trump faced the most challenging environment for an incumbent since Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Mr. Carter lost and Mr. Johnson decided not to run for re-election.

“President Trump has hit the trifecta in the misery market. The three key indicators—job rating, personal feelings, attitudes on re-election—are all deeply submerged underwater,” Mr. Hart said. “They represent the best measure of the standing and political strength of an incumbent president.”

The coronavirus crisis continued to drag on Mr. Trump’s chances of winning re-election, with 37% of voters approving of his handling of the continuing outbreak and 59% disapproving. The number of voters who approve of Mr. Trump’s response to the pandemic has steadily dropped, falling 6 percentage points since last month and 8 percentage points since March.

More than 136,000 people in the U.S. have died as a result of the virus and more than 3.4 million people have been infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As states grapple with how and when to safely reopen, coronavirus cases are increasing across the country, with experts raising alarms about a resurgence of the illness.

Mr. Trump and his top advisers have often played down the threat, saying that the country is recovering from the pandemic. They have also emphasized the importance of reopening the economy.

By more than 2-to-1, voters said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is more focused on stopping the spread of the virus than on reopening businesses. Nearly three-quarters of voters said they always wear a mask while shopping, working or when they’re around people outside their homes, an 11-percentage-point increase from last month. The share of Trump supporters who say they always wear masks climbed 15 points since June, from 39% to 54%.

Overall, nearly three-quarters of voters, 72%, said they believed the country was on the wrong track.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Mr. Hart and fellow Democrat Jeff Horwitt, said Mr. Trump’s path toward winning reelection is narrowing.

“There would have to be a sea change in these numbers to say how you would project that Trump would be winning a national vote,” he said, adding that the president could focus on winning the electoral college even if he loses the popular vote, as he did in 2016.

Though a narrow majority of voters support Mr. Biden for president, fewer—47%—say they want a Democratic-controlled Congress, down from 51% in June. Forty-three percent of voters say they prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.

Voters are paying close attention to politics, with 77% saying they are highly interested in the election. Voter interest, which typically jumps in September, has never been this high this far from an election.

Messrs. Trump and Biden are both facing low enthusiasm from voters, many of whom viewed them negatively and expressed discomfort with their candidacies. Forty-eight percent of voters viewed Mr. Trump very negatively, with another 6% viewing him somewhat negatively. Just over half of voters, 52%, said they were very uncomfortable with Mr. Trump.

It was the president’s highest very-negative number since January 2018, when the government shut down amid a dispute between Mr. Trump and Congress over immigration and the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, one-third of voters have a very negative view of Mr. Biden, the highest such level the former vice president ever recorded in the poll. Another 13% have a somewhat negative view of him. Thirty-eight percent said they were very uncomfortable with Mr. Biden’s candidacy.

Voters signaled they are more enthusiastic about Mr. Trump than Mr. Biden, though neither candidate received high marks on that front. Just 14% of voters said they were enthusiastic about Mr. Biden compared with 23% who said the same about the president.

But Mr. Biden is holding on to the support of more members of his party than Mr. Trump is of his. Ninety-two percent of Democrats back the former vice president, while 84% of Republicans say they will vote for the president. Independents narrowly sided with Mr. Biden, 39% to 35%.

Voters appear to be still making up their minds about Mr. Trump’s decision last week to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, his longtime friend and political adviser who was convicted of making false statements, witness tampering and trying to impede a congressional investigation into Russian election interference. Nearly half of voters, 47%, said they hadn’t heard enough about the matter to give an opinion, while 16% supported the president’s decision and 36% opposed it.

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 900 registered voters from July 9 through July 12. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.27 percentage points.

Updated: 7-20-2020

Poll: Joe Biden Leads Donald Trump By 15 Points, His Widest Margin This Year


Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump among registered voters by his widest margin in 2020, according to a new national poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll, conducted July 9 to 13 and released Wednesday, showed Biden leading Trump 52%-37%, a 15-point margin that increased since last month, when Quinnipiac found 49% of voters favored Biden and 41% favored Trump.

Biden’s lead is strong among Democrats, 91% of whom said they would back him and 5% of whom favored Trump, in line with their positions last month. Republicans chose Trump over Biden 84%-9%, a decrease from June when they backed the president 92%-7%.

Independents shifted more toward Biden in the last month. Fifty-one percent said they now support Biden while 34% said they are for Trump, and last month 43% were for Biden, while 40% were for Trump.

Cautious optimism for Biden:Polls show Trump is losing to Joe Biden. They said the same thing 4 years ago against Hillary Clinton

“Yes, there’s still 16 weeks until Election Day, but this is a very unpleasant real-time look at what the future could be for President Trump. There is no upside, no silver lining, no encouraging trend hidden somewhere in this survey for the president,” said Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy.

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

As the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, those surveyed said they thought Biden would do a better job with handling a crisis, health care and the coronavirus response. Voters also said they though Biden would do better handling the economy than Trump, 50%-45%, a reversal from Quinnipiac’s poll from June, when Trump had an edge over Biden, 51%-46%.

The president’s overall job approval rate also dropped to 36% with 60% disapproving. Last month, it was 42% approving to 55% disapproving. The current net rate is Trump’s worst in about three years of Quinnipiac’s national polling.

Fauci More Trusted Than Trump, Poll Shows

On the coronavirus, a 62% majority of voters said that Trump is hurting rather than helping slow the virus’ spread. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, is more trusted by voters than the president. Sixty-five percent of respondents to the poll said they trust Fauci’s coronavirus information, while 26% said they do not. Thirty percent of respondents said they trust Trump’s information on the virus and 67% said they do not.

Trump’s dilemma:Attacks on Fauci reflect Trump’s problem of what to do about high-profile adviser with a penchant for straight talk

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

The poll results come as some in the White House have launched a series of attacks on Fauci’s credibility, including a scathing USA TODAY opinion piece written by trade adviser Peter Navarro, as Trump maintains he has a “very good relationship” with Fauci.

The Trump administration has pushed hard in recent days for the reopening of schools even as experts worry about the potential for spreading the coronavirus if children return to school. Trump has criticized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on school reopening, and threatened funding for schools if they do not open.

But voters said by more than a two-to-one ratio that they disapprove of Trump’s handling of school reopening and don’t think it is safe to send children to school in the fall. Sixty-one percent said they disapprove of Trump’s handling and 29% said they approve.

Sixty-two percent said it is not safe to send children to elementary, middle or high schools while 31% said they think it is safe. The majority of Republicans (60%) think it is safe while Democrats (86%) overwhelmingly think it is unsafe.

Additionally, Trump got a negative 31%-65% approval on race relations as he faces mounting criticism over his response to national protests against racism and police brutality. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose neck was pinned down by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, weeks of protests have occurred across the country.

On Tuesday, Trump dismissed a question from a CBS News reporter about why Black people are dying at the hands of police, saying that “more white people” are killed despite studies that show Black people are at higher risk of a fatal police encounter.

Asked who would better handle the issue of racial inequality in the country, 62% said Biden and 30% said Trump.

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

‘What a terrible question to ask’:Trump says ‘more white people’ are killed by police, while studies show Black people are more likely to be killed.

Biden also widened his lead in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday that had him up by 11 points against Trump, 51%-40%. Last month, the same survey of registered voters had 49% favoring Biden and 42% supporting Trump.

Updated: 7-22-2020

How Joe Biden Cut Into President Trump’s Campaign Cash Advantage

WinRed, ActBlue filings show how political giving in U.S. fluctuated across six unpredictable months.

President Trump started off the year with a sizable cash advantage over the Democratic presidential field, while former Vice President Joe Biden was consistently outraised by his primary competitors.

Six months later, the Democratic presumptive nominee has overcome a slowdown in giving that coincided with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and raised more than Mr. Trump for two straight months.

The latest public filings from WinRed and ActBlue, the main online donation platforms for Republicans and Democrats, show how American political giving has fluctuated across an unpredictable first half of 2020.

Mr. Trump has benefited from more than three years of large donations made through his Trump Victory committee, raising more than $218 million since the beginning of 2017 for his campaign, the Republican National Committee and state parties. Mr. Biden set up a similar fundraising structure with the DNC at the end of April, raising nearly $100 million through two committees for his campaign, the DNC and state parties.

Trump Emerges From Impeachment

On the Republican side, Mr. Trump added to his already formidable war chest with a surge in donations during his impeachment trial. The day before his acquittal by a GOP-controlled Senate, Mr. Trump’s re-election effort raised $2.6 million, its best single-day total through WinRed that month.

After disappointing showings in the first three early primary contests, Mr. Biden decisively won the South Carolina Democratic primary. He followed days later with a string of Super Tuesday victories that propelled him to the front of the primary field – and filled his campaign coffers. Mr. Biden’s campaign raised $22.5 million between Feb. 29 and March 4, the day after his Super Tuesday win. That was more than his campaign had raised all year up to that point.

After the first case was reported in the U.S. in late January, the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the country by mid-March. States imposed stay-at-home orders. Businesses closed. Unemployment began a historic rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against gatherings of 10 people or more. And political giving slowed as the campaign trail ground to a halt.

Facing a nearly impossible path to the nomination, Mr. Sanders ended his presidential campaign, leaving Mr. Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Donations to the former vice president’s campaign jumped that day to $1.8 million, quadrupling the previous day’s online haul through ActBlue.

Mr. Sanders endorsed Mr. Biden. Over the next four days, Mr. Biden’s campaign brought in more than $7 million – its best string of online fundraising days since Super Tuesday.

Messrs. Trump’s and Biden’s daily online donations remained largely steady. During this period, Mr. Biden consolidated his fundraising with that of the Democratic National Committee and established joint fundraising committees that can accept large checks. Mr. Trump had this structure for much longer because he launched his re-election bid early in his term. Both campaigns had an expected end-of-month bump ahead of a Federal Election Commission reporting deadline.

Beyond Presidential Races

As protests spread across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, money poured into bail funds, racial-justice nonprofits and progressive causes, many of which use ActBlue as a donation platform. ActBlue reported its single-day record on June 2, the date of Blackout Tuesday, an online antiracism campaign. That day, more than $41 million in donations were processed through ActBlue, which the group said was driven by donations to racial-justice nonprofits. Mr. Biden also saw a bump on June 2, bringing in $3.1 million through ActBlue.

Candidates Close Out The Quarter

Mr. Trump’s re-election effort raised $12.9 million through WinRed on the president’s birthday, the bulk of a $14 million record day for the campaign.

Since then, those big checks have combined with Mr. Biden’s improved online fundraising to help him narrow the cash-on-hand gap between his campaign and Mr. Trump’s.

Updated: 7-24-2020

Poll: Biden Widens Lead Over Trump In Florida To 13 Points

The shift comes as the state has suffered a surge in coronavirus cases.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a 13-point lead over Donald Trump in the key swing state of Florida, according to a poll out Thursday, yet another warning sign for the president as the state reels from a late-developing surge in coronavirus cases.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows Trump trailing Biden among registered voters in his adopted home state 51 percent to 38 percent.

That represents a 5-point climb for Biden and a 4-point drop for Trump since April 22 — before Florida’s coronavirus surge began — when a Quinnipiac poll showed a 4-point race between the two.

Since then, the must-win state for the president has become a global epicenter of the virus, shattering records when it recorded 15,000 new cases in a single day earlier this month. The state added 10,239 new cases on Thursday, and reported a record-high 173 deaths, after Ron DeSantis was among a handful of GOP governors to enthusiastically embrace Trump’s demands for a rapid reopening of the economy.

The GOP even moved its national convention to Florida from North Carolina after the Democratic governor there refused to allow the kind of massive gathering Trump envisioned for his renomination speech.

As a result, both men’s approval ratings, both in general and on the pandemic, have slipped. The survey found that approval of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus sat at 37 percent, down nearly 10 points from 46 percent in April. Nearly 6 in 10 voters disapprove of Trump’s coronavirus response now, compared with 51 percent in April.

In April, half of voters approved of DeSantis’ handling of coronavirus; that number is down to 38 in July, while disapproval has risen from 41 percent to 51 percent.

Florida voters are more confident in Biden’s ability to handle coronavirus, the poll found, with the former vice president leading Trump by 20 points — 58 to 38 percent — on who voters trust more to handle the pandemic.

The survey is yet another bearing bad news for the president, who has seen his numbers continue to slide as states across the country grapple with a coronavirus surge. Both national polling and surveys from battleground states have shown Biden with a growing lead.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Biden holds a 7-point lead in Florida, a state whose 29 Electoral College votes Trump won by less than 2 percent in 2016. That’s only a little less than Biden’s average national lead, which shows Trump trailing by 8.7 percentage points.

When it comes to plans to hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville in about a month, a majority of Florida voters, 62 percent, said they think it will be unsafe to do so, compared with 34 percent who say it will be safe. Among Republicans, however, nearly 7 in 10 voters think it will be safe to hold the convention, which party officials have considered moving outdoors and will be limiting attendance. A little over a quarter of GOP voters think it will not be safe to hold the convention next month.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 925 self-identified registered voters in Florida by phone from July 16-20. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Updated: 7-24-2020

Facing Declining Polls, Staff Anxieties, Trump Changes Course On Coronavirus

Cancellation of convention events, revival of news briefings come amid low marks from public on handling of pandemic.

By the time President Trump sat down with aides on Monday to discuss his grim polling numbers, pressure was growing for a course correction on coronavirus.

At the White House with his pollsters and top political advisers, Mr. Trump was briefed on the latest round of surveys, including data that showed widespread disapproval of his handling of the pandemic and support by the majority of Americans for wearing a mask, said people with knowledge of the conversation.

Advisers had for days been gently suggesting that the president reconsider his approach, arguing that promoting mask-wearing was patriotic, and Mr. Trump signaled he was ready for a change, the people said.

“It just was a mismatch with the reality on the ground,” said a senior administration official of the White House’s previous lack of high-level, public focus on the issue.

The meeting, one of several in recent weeks that laid bare the possibility that the president could lose in November, kicked off a week in which Mr. Trump made an effort to change his virus response. The president reined in some of his rhetoric on the pandemic, led news conferences at the White House in which he for the first time acknowledged the severity of the resurgence and canceled the bulk of the Republican National Convention.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better—something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday at his first coronavirus briefing in several months. On Thursday, in announcing the scaling back of his convention, he said: “There’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.”

His remarks this week at times contrasted with his past statements on the pandemic. Last month, he called mask usage a “double-edged sword,” suggesting face coverings give people a false sense of security. In early July, Mr. Trump said 99% of Covid-19 cases are harmless, overstating the number of asymptomatic or less-severe cases.

And up until recently, the president was holding out hope publicly and privately for an in-person convention after moving the bulk of the event from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., in search of a more permissive setting after sparring with North Carolina officials.

“The governor is a little backward there. He’s a little bit behind,” Mr. Trump said in early June, just before announcing the shift to Florida.

Mr. Trump faces challenges winning over a weary public that polls show is dissatisfied with his management of the public-health crisis. His shift comes well into a resurgence of the pandemic, which some health experts say has been fueled by reopening state economies too quickly at the urging of Mr. Trump.

The White House says Mr. Trump’s approach to the coronavirus has been consistent.

“There has been no change,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Friday. White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews said Mr. Trump acted early and decisively by restricting travel from China and shutting down much of the country.

In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released earlier this month, 37% of voters approved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the pandemic, with 59% disapproving.

In the same poll, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden saw his lead over Mr. Trump rise to 11 percentage points from 7 percentage points the month before.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien held a conference call with reporters Friday, arguing that polls didn’t accurately predict the outcome in 2016 and saying the president had “multiple pathways” to victory.

Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who worked on the survey, said it is too late for Mr. Trump to alter public perception of his handling of the crisis.

“While he’s making the right sounds and putting the right words out there, at no time does he convey either empathy or connection to the grief the American public is going through,” he said.

Advisers and allies said they hope Mr. Trump recognizes the gravity of the moment, after at times in the past struggling with message discipline.

“The president has decided that he’s losing more of his base than he’s gaining with his approach to Covid,” said Republican donor and energy-company executive Dan Eberhart. “He’s seeing his numbers just like everyone else, and he is realizing that he has to change course.”

At the urging of his senior advisers, in Mr. Trump’s return to regular briefings he kept his remarks brief, urging mask-wearing and asking young people to stay out of crowded bars. He spoke about getting money to schools for reopening, continuing to press states to resume in-person learning but noting the decision was up to governors. He previously said Democrats were keeping schools closed for political reasons.

A person in close contact with the White House said there was agreement among White House and campaign aides that the president’s insistence that the economy should reopen was out of step with the concerns of many Americans, who wanted a focus on health and safety.

“Everybody recognized,” the person said, “we’ve gotta pivot.”

At the same time, Mr. Trump has stuck to an aggressive view on school reopenings, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance this week outlining the importance of in-person learning. The president said Thursday that some schools might have to delay opening by a few weeks, at odds with many school districts that have put off reopening indefinitely.

Some aides had long urged him to shift focus away from the coronavirus and toward the economic recovery, advice that the president initially followed. But in recent weeks, others told him that strategy was no longer sustainable amid a worsening pandemic and signs that the job market was sputtering after an initial rebound.

People close to the president said he has been considering making changes to his approach for weeks. He wore a mask a week earlier during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and he has made a point of saying he keeps a mask with the presidential seal in his jacket pocket.

He also had previously said he might need to make more changes to the convention plan. He talked with Mr. Stepien and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over the past week leading up to his decision, people familiar with the matter said.

“They bet on a certain approach and the approach failed, and now he’s adjusting,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide.

Updated: 7-24-2020

Biden Closing Fundraising Gap With Trump

The former vice president’s campaign committee raised more money than Trump’s last month, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Joe Biden is closing the fundraising and cash reserves gap with President Donald Trump, the campaigns’ latest Federal Election Commission filings show – indicating that the former vice president is capitalizing on improving polling numbers for the 2020 election.

Biden’s campaign committee alone raised more than $63 million in June, while Trump’s committee raised more than $55 million, according to reports released by the FEC on Monday. The filings also show that the president’s campaign had $113 million in cash on hand at the end of June, compared to nearly $109 million for Biden – a gap that is narrower than in previous months.

The cash reserves gap is considerably larger when comparing the political parties, however. The Democratic National Committee reported on Monday that it raised about $12.5 million in June with over $37 million in cash on hand, while the Republican National Committee raised nearly $38 million with more than $100 million in cash on hand.

But quarterly records released last week by the candidates’ joint fundraising committees – formed through agreements between candidates and political parties, with higher contribution limits, according to the Campaign Finance Institute – show Biden gaining ground.

The Biden Victory Fund and Biden Action Fund – the former vice president’s two main joint fundraising committees – raised nearly $100 million combined in the second quarter, with more than $92 million in cash on hand at the end of June. Trump’s two joint fundraising committees, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and Trump Victory, raised more than $150 million combined last quarter, but trailed Biden’s committees with about $82 million in cash reserves.

The good news for Biden continued when it came to super PACs. FEC filings show that Priorities USA Action, a super PAC aligned with Biden, raised more than $9.7 million last month, compared to nearly $3.9 million brought in by America First Action, a Trump-aligned super PAC.

When combining the candidate committees, national party committees and joint fundraising committees, Trump had about $58 million more cash on hand than Biden at the end of June – a gap that has now “narrowed considerably,” according to information and statistics provided by the Campaign Finance Institute, a division of the National Institute on Money in Politics.

Michael Malbin, the co-founder and executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, cautions that while Biden “has done very well” and money can buy staff time and communications, communications also “do not buy you voters’ opinions.”

“This is not a horse race where the end game is who has more money,” he says. “It’s a horse race where the end game is who has more votes.”

Malbin also notes that Trump is getting a lot of free daily media coverage and attention, much like he did in 2016.

“In 2020, he is completely dominating the news once again, but not necessarily for the reasons he would like,” says Malbin, who is also a political science professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. “This election is going to be about Trump’s performance in office.”

However, Biden is accelerating his paid media efforts. The campaign announced on Tuesday that it will spend $15 million on advertising in the next week, with ads running in battleground states that Trump won in 2016, such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“He has almost as much cash available as the president,” Malbin adds. “Not as much, but almost as much. The marginal difference will not determine an election. Daily coverage of the president overwhelms (Trump’s) advertising budget.”

Updated: 7-26-2020

What Polling Can Tell Us 100 Days From The Election

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

Joe Biden has maintained steady lead over President Trump, but will it hold up?

The 2020 presidential election marks an important milestone Sunday as the race enters its final 100 days. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, Joe Biden and President Trump have been mostly derailed from conducting the kind of campaigns voters have come to expect.

How that ultimately will factor into the outcome is unclear, but recent polling has provided encouraging news for the Democratic challenger.

In the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by nearly nine points. That is the largest such gap at this point in the cycle by any candidate since President Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996, based on historical poll averages compiled by political scientists Robert S. Erikson of Columbia University and Christopher Wlezien of the University of Texas at Austin. (Their methodology for computing historical daily poll averages differs somewhat from that of Real Clear Politics, but the data provide a reasonable baseline for comparing the current race.)

But perhaps more remarkable than the spread between the candidates has been the stability of the race thus far. Messrs. Biden and Trump have both polled in an unusually narrow range, with average support for each varying by only a few points in the past six months.

In addition, the high end of Mr. Trump’s range hasn’t ever matched Mr. Biden’s polling floor to date. That hasn’t happened this close to Election Day since Sen. Bob Dole trailed far behind Mr. Clinton in 1996. Moreover, since 1992, the final national popular vote has nearly always fallen within the range of poll averages during the period between 100 and 200 days out.

The correlation between average poll standings at this point in the campaign and the final national popular vote is fairly strong. Nearly all of the outliers were candidates who were registering north of 60% of the two-party vote in poll averages 100 days out. Those eventual winners saw their support dampen a bit by Election Day, but most still won by comfortable margins.

Mr. Trump’s share of the two-party vote currently sits just above 45%, lower than any eventual popular-vote winner since 1988. But it is worth noting that then-Vice President George H.W. Bush overcame the biggest 100-day deficit of an eventual winner—nearly 20 points—thanks to a series of missteps by opponent Michael Dukakis and a hard-hitting ad campaign attacking the Democratic nominee.

Moreover, two popular-vote winners in the last 20 years lost in the Electoral College vote: Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

That popular vote/electoral vote split might be the most enduring lesson of 2016. While national polls were among the most accurate in estimating the popular vote since 1936—the final Real Clear Politics average gave Mrs. Clinton a 3.2-point advantage, while her actual popular-vote margin was 2.1 points—Mr. Trump emerged victorious thanks to narrow wins in key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And state polls there missed the mark for various reasons.

However, in at least two of those states—Michigan and Pennsylvania—Mr. Biden’s current lead in poll averages is more than double what Mrs. Clinton’s was at the same point in time. That should be a sign of concern for the Trump campaign, since he won those three states by a combined 77,744 votes—just over one-half of 1% of the trio’s aggregate vote total.

Updated: 8-5-2020

Trump’s 90-Day Challenge: Settle On A Message And Erase Biden’s Lead

The president’s campaign has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend but relatively little time to reverse the direction of his re-election race.

President Trump’s campaign has hundreds of millions of dollars, a small army of staffers and the power of incumbency. But as he seeks to turn his re-election bid around, he is racing the clock.

With 90 days until Election Day and weeks until the early voting process starts in some states, the president’s campaign is trying to refocus as he trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in national and swing-state polls. Newly minted campaign manager Bill Stepien is seeking to better define the president’s message, concentrate more on key battleground states and target advertising dollars at early voters.

“We’re going to run like we’re the underdog. We’re going to run like we’re two points behind, even if and when we’re two points ahead. That’s the mentality we’re going to have, that’s the mindset we have over the next three months of this campaign,” Mr. Stepien said on Fox News Monday.

The campaign efforts follow a push to get Mr. Trump to offer a more somber, clear message on the coronavirus, which aides and allies see as key to stabilizing his standing with voters, which has been battered by public frustration with the response to the pandemic and widespread protests over racial injustice.

Mr. Trump has been inconsistent in his coronavirus messaging, at times criticizing his own health advisers and arguing with reporters during interviews and press conferences over whether the crisis is improving.

While those close to the president argue that their internal polling is more encouraging than the public numbers and that there is time to get on the right track, some privately acknowledge the window is narrowing to course correct. Absentee ballots will be mailed out in North Carolina starting on Sept. 4, and other states follow close behind.

“They need to be very disciplined and on message for the next 90 days. Those are two things Trump is not particularly good at,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant.

After briefly pausing advertising for a strategic review, the Trump campaign launched two news ads in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina on Monday. One of the ads argues that Mr. Biden “has embraced the policies of the radical left.” The other features a woman holding up a series of cue cards detailing her concerns about Mr. Biden’s policies, including that they could raise taxes.

“The 2020 calendar looks a lot different than the 2016 calendar,” said campaign adviser Jason Miller, who said the campaign wanted to push the president’s vision for a second term, which includes a secure country with a revitalized economy, and contrast it with Mr. Biden’s proposals. “These are all things that Americans will be thinking about as they keep voting.”

People with knowledge of the campaign said that emphasizing Mr. Biden’s ties to the most liberal wing of the party would continue to be a leading attack, arguing that this would resonate with moderate voters. Questioning his mental fitness for office would also be revived, a person said.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates dismissed those charges, declaring that “the Trump campaign is locked in a sad and pathetic cycle of bimonthly, shambolic message resets—all of which are based on the same recycled lies that voters have seen through countless times before.”

As part of his efforts, Mr. Stepien has been closely focused on the president’s pathway to 270 Electoral College votes. People close to the campaign said that while there would continue to be campaigning in a large set of states, there would be a more concentrated effort on a series of battlegrounds in the closing days, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona—all of which Mr. Trump won in 2016.

Michigan is increasingly viewed as harder to hold, though the campaign still has resources in the state. Minnesota, New Hampshire and Georgia will also remain a focus.

The campaign is also pushing for additional debates, arguing that voting will be well under way by the first one in late September. Mr. Bates said that Mr. Biden has already made clear that he will participate in debates “on the dates and in the locations chosen by the Presidential Commission on Debates.” The commission has proposed three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

The campaign, the Republican National Committee and their joint committees ended June with $295 million in cash. A lot of that will go to television advertising, with some dollars on direct mail and digital advertising, said people familiar with the plans.

In the coming weeks, the president is expected to continue the kind of travel he has conducted recently, heading to battleground states for an official White House appearance coupled with a political event or a fundraiser. A person with knowledge of the campaign said there were also talks about Mr. Trump making more political stops in the coming days.

While he has canceled the Jacksonville, Fla., portion of the convention, the president still plans to make a speech accepting the nomination on Aug. 27, but the location hasn’t been finalized.

“I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday morning on Fox News, calling it the “easiest and least expensive” location—but an acceptance speech from the White House could also open the president up to criticism because campaign activity is not normally carried out on the White House grounds.

Convention organizers are also working out a program of speeches and events for the nights ahead, which is expected to prominently feature the president’s family as it did in 2016.

A key part of the strategy is the effort from aides to get Mr. Trump to change his rhetoric on the coronavirus. He has restarted his daily briefings about the response, delivering data from the White House briefing room and urging the public to wear masks and practice social distancing. He also cancelled the bulk of the Republican National Convention, citing the need to set an example.

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said sticking to this message is key.

“The best way to move the numbers comes from the White House and not the campaign,” he said. “The president needs to demonstrate that he’s on top of the virus and he cares about its impact.”

Aides have been largely pleased with his response, though at times he has veered off course, as he did this week when he publicly attacked Dr. Deborah Birx, one of his top health advisers. A person with knowledge of the president’s thinking said he feels better about the current strategy from the White House and the campaign.

Since taking over the campaign several weeks ago, Mr. Stepien has also made some changes around the office, holding weekly staff meetings and daily sessions with senior aides, arranging data briefings for staffers on strategy and polling, and giving out “Staffer of the Week” awards, said a campaign official.

Updated: 8-16-2020

Biden Leads Trump, 50% to 41%, In Poll Ahead Of Party Conventions

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

President struggles to reach job approval that would make re-election more likely, while opponent draws soft support that could present turnout challenges.

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden start their nominating conventions this month with Mr. Trump struggling to reach a level of job approval that would make re-election more likely and his challenger drawing soft support that could present turnout challenges, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.

Less than three months before November’s election, 50% of registered voters nationally say they would vote for Mr. Biden if the election were held now, while 41% back Mr. Trump. That is essentially unchanged from Mr. Biden’s 11-point lead a month ago and is similar to his advantage much of this year.

Mr. Biden, however, is failing to generate widespread enthusiasm, the poll finds. For the past year he has been viewed more negatively than positively among the broader electorate—as has been the president—although Mr. Biden’s positive rating increased 5 percentage points between July and August to reach 39%.

“This poll is a warning for Democrats and the Biden team that there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who worked on the survey with Bill McInturff, a Republican, and Jeff Horwitt, a Democrat.

In another sign of potential softness in the Democrats’ support, 58% of those who back Mr. Biden say their vote is more in opposition to Mr. Trump than in favor of their chosen candidate. By contrast, those planning to cast a ballot for Mr. Trump are more enthusiastic about their choice, with almost three-quarters saying their vote is more for him than against Mr. Biden.

“In one respect, Biden’s vote looks like Trump’s did in 2016: more a vote against their opponent than support for them,” Mr. Horwitt said.

National conventions, such as the one the Democrats will convene online Monday, are designed to boost the nominee’s favorability by showcasing the candidate’s biography and offering a supporting cast of endorsers.

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

But it remains unclear what viewership will be like without an in-person gathering. Republicans plan to hold a mostly virtual convention the following week.

The Democratic convention is an opportunity for the party to shape perceptions of Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who was named last week as Mr. Biden’s running mate.

Ms. Harris was viewed positively by 39% of voters in the survey and negatively by 35%, with 14% saying they didn’t yet have an opinion. She is more popular among women (45%) and voters of color (45%) than among men (32%) and white voters (36%).

Mr. Biden’s 9-point advantage in the poll matches the lead Hillary Clinton enjoyed over Mr. Trump four years ago. Mr. Trump, however, is now an incumbent and is confronting the economic fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic.

The president’s job approval rating is 44%, up 2 points from July, with 53% disapproving of his performance in office.

“That seems to me to be short of where he would need to be to win a re-election,” Mr. McInturff said. “It has to improve.”

White House occupants in recent history with ratings near 50% or higher have generally won re-election, while those much below that threshold have lost. At the same time, Mr. Trump won an Electoral College majority in 2016 with only 46% of the popular vote.

While Mr. Trump scores 10 percentage points higher than Mr. Biden on which candidate would best handle the economy—the top issue among those tested—he falls short on perceptions of how he is dealing with the nation’s fight against the coronavirus.

A majority of 58% in the survey disapprove of his pandemic management. Some 53% say he didn’t take the threat seriously enough early on and still isn’t handling it well, up from 45% in April.

Six in 10 say the nation’s response to the virus outbreak has been unsuccessful. As summer makes a transition to fall, 49% of parents say they are comfortable with their children going back to in-person school, with an equal share saying they are uncomfortable.

More than 169,000 people in the U.S. have died as a result of the virus, and more than 5.3 million have been infected, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show.

The unemployment rate was 10.2% in July, largely because of the pandemic. If the rate stays at or above that level in the coming months, it would mark just the fourth time since the start of the Great Depression that the nation has faced double-digit joblessness during the final four months of a presidential campaign.

More than three-quarters of poll participants rate the economy as fair or poor, up from 68% in June and from 44% in December, before the pandemic struck. Almost half of Republicans think the economy is excellent or good, while just 4% of Democrats say that.

Mask wearing is on the rise, the poll found, with 79% saying they always wear one when around people outside their home, up from 74% in July and 63% in June.

Among various demographic groups, Mr. Trump is narrowly winning the male vote, while Mr. Biden holds a 21-point edge among women. Mr. Trump’s slight advantage among men may be one reason Mr. Biden’s campaign has placed, according to data from ad-tracking firm Kantar/CMAG, a $25 million advertising buy for National Football League games starting in September and running until the election.

The former vice president holds advantages of 80 points among Black voters, 26 points among Hispanic voters and 7 points among those 65 or older, while Mr. Trump has a lead of 51 points among white, evangelical voters and 24 points among white voters without a four-year college degree.

In addition to being viewed as better at handling the economy, Mr. Trump receives slightly higher marks on dealing with crime.

The former vice president is viewed as stronger on foreign policy, immigration, coronavirus management, health care, race relations and national unity. The two are essentially tied on a question about who has the “mental and physical health to be president.”

Interest in the election is running strong, with 79% of voters rating themselves at the highest levels of interest. That is 7 points higher than the survey recorded in October 2016, the month before Mr. Trump’s election.

Democrats and Republicans are nearly equally interested, with 83% and 85%, respectively, showing high interest, while 55% of independent voters rate themselves as highly engaged.

A leading endorser of Mr. Biden, former President Obama, is viewed positively by 54% of voters overall.

The poll shows a slight advantage for Democrats over Republicans, 47% to 42%, when voters are asked their preference for which party should control the next Congress.

One-party control of Washington, however, isn’t appealing to many voters. Half say Republican control of the House, Senate and White House would be a bad development, while a plurality of 44% say the same of complete Democratic control.

The Journal/NBC News poll, conducted Aug. 9-12, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.27 percentage points for the full sample of 900 registered voters.

Updated: 8-24-2020

Biden Enjoys Post-Convention Bump In Favorability Poll

Biden’s favorability ticked up from 40% just over a week ago to 45%.

The Democratic National Convention, which attracted a smaller audience compared to last cycle, still delivered a favorability boost for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, particularly among the core base of the party, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.

Prior to the convention, Biden had a net negative favorability rating, with slightly more Americans having an unfavorable view of the former vice president than a favorable one. In the days after the convention, Biden’s favorability ticked up from 40% just over a week ago to 45% in the new poll, which was conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.

Notably, this change was fueled by the more than 8 in 10 Americans who knew enough about him to form an opinion, since there was little change in the number of Americans who were willing to assess Biden since the ABC News/Ipsos poll last week.

His favorability climbed to 86% among Democrats from 79% in the last survey. Biden’s highest favorability across racial groups continues to be among Black Americans, with 69% viewing him favorably, compared to 39% of whites and 52% of Hispanics.

President Donald Trump’s favorability currently stands at 32% — little change from the last poll — but his unfavorability reached 60%, a concerning high for the incumbent president and something Republicans will try to turn around with their convention this week. Vice President Mike Pence’s ratings barely moved from last week, with 30% giving him favorable marks and 46% viewing him unfavorably.

November’s vote may be a referendum on Trump, but the campaign appears to be about Biden’s ability to woo voters to reject the president. While Trump’s approval has seen little movement, Biden’s above-water marks represent a significant turn for the 77-year-old, who enters the fall, and general election debate season, in a better position than Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In a 2016 post-convention ABC News/Washington Post poll, Clinton’s favorability rating landed at 48%, a gain of 6 points at that time from the last poll before the convention. But her unfavorability stood at 50%, putting her slightly underwater.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, is somewhat less well-known, with the 3 in 4 Americans who know enough about her to rate her giving her a plus-6 favorability rating — 41%, up from 35%.

But Harris’ level of name recognition now matches that of the sitting vice president, with 76% of Americans familiar enough with Pence to make a judgment.

Harris’ marks represent a 10-point increase in the number of Americans familiar enough with Harris to rate her and a modest numerical increase in her favorability rating, compared to last week’s poll conducted immediately after she was chosen.

Among the base of Democrats, Harris’s favorability jumped to 77%.

Among Black Americans, 60% now have a favorable attitude of her, compared to 52% in the last poll, a climb driven in part by more of this demographic forming an opinion — 30% still don’t know enough about her to rate her or had no opinion of her, down from roughly 40% in the last poll.

The net shift for Biden, and the more modest, but positive, movement for Harris, follows the Democrats’ virtual convention, which spanned four nights and focused on making the case for a Biden presidency while contrasting him with Trump.

But only 30% of Americans said they watched at least some of the convention, either on TV or online this week, compared with 70% who said they either watched very little or none of it.

In 2016, 62% of the country watched at least some of the Democratic convention, when Clinton, the former secretary of state, was nominated, according to a Gallup poll. The question from Gallup did not include “online,” unlike the ABC News/Ipsos poll, which sought to catch a possibly broader audience.

Just over one third of Americans — 37% — said they did not watch any of the 2016 convention, or watched a very little of it. Still this year, 69% of Americans said they did see, hear or read news coverage of Democrats’ quadrennial gathering.

Overall, a majority of Americans — 53% — gave Democrats strong marks for their messaging and the programming throughout the virtual event. Just over 4 in 10 Americans disapproved.

Just before Trump and the GOP are set to have their week in the spotlight, a slight majority of Americans — 51% — said Democrats focused too much on criticizing their Republican counterparts, while 45% said they maintained the right balance.

Back in the 2016 Gallup poll, 43% said Democrats maintained the right balance, while 44% believed the party spent too much time hammering rivals.

Updated: 8-24-2020

Trump Trails Biden, But Polls Show The President Has Some Strengths

Trump’s image has improved among white voters, and Republicans are growing more interested in the election.

President Trump heads into this week’s Republican National Convention with national polls showing him trailing in his race for re-election. But surveys also identify strengths in his political standing, some of them not widely noted, that could help him close the gap by Election Day.

Mr. Trump lags behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 9 percentage points, this month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found.

The president’s share of support, now at 41%, hasn’t topped 44% this year against Mr. Biden. Mr. Trump also trails the former vice president in aggregated polling of most battleground states, though his deficit is smaller than in national polls.

“The president’s struggles aren’t with one specific group,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Inside Elections report. “He’s struggling in the suburbs but also underperforming in rural areas. We look at individual congressional districts, and I can’t think of one where he’s performing as well as in 2016.”

But in a few ways, the president’s position is stronger than head-to-head polling shows.

At this point in the last election, Mr. Trump trailed his Democratic opponent by 9 percentage points in Journal/NBC News polling, as he does today. Still, Mr. Trump won the Electoral College, which decides the president, that November.

And his public image has picked up some shine. More voters saw Mr. Trump in a negative light than a positive one in the most recent poll, by a margin of about 12 percentage points. But at this time four years ago, negative views outnumbered positive ones by 33 percentage points.

Here Are Some Other Signs Mr. Trump Could Improve His Position In The Race, Drawn From Journal/NBC News Surveys:

An improved image among white voters: Among white voters, Mr. Trump lags behind his 2016 vote share as recorded by exit polls. But in a sign of improvement, white voters in the most recent Journal/NBC News survey were divided almost equally between positive and negative views of the president. Four years ago, by contrast, negative views significantly outweighed positive ones among white voters, 54% to 35%.

“Trump improved his image among whites by about 20 points in the last four years,” said Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who works on the Journal/NBC News survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt. “That’s very important because they are more than 70% of the electorate.”

Holding steady with Hispanics: Mr. Trump trails his 2016 support levels among many groups, polling finds. Among Hispanic voters, by contrast, he appears to have maintained or even improved his standing.

Some 31% of the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority group say they will back the president, a slightly higher share than the 28% who voted for him in 2016, according to exit polls.

Hispanic voters aren’t a unified bloc, and their partisan profile varies by state. But Mr. Trump could make gains in Florida, Arizona and several other battleground states if he cuts into Democratic margins among Hispanic voters.

Rising interest among Republicans: Intensity and anger can drive turnout, and Democrats sought to use their convention last week to unify voters who dislike Mr. Trump’s combative style.

But Mr. Trump has also boosted Republican intensity. This week’s convention has the potential to raise it further.

Interest in the election has risen among Republicans in the past month and now matches Democratic interest. Some 85% of Republicans rate themselves as highly interested in the election, compared with 83% of Democrats.

Some 27% of voters say they would be optimistic and confident if Mr. Trump were elected, compared with 14% who said so in 2016. By contrast, 19% of voters said before the Democratic convention that they would be optimistic about Mr. Biden’s election.

Up-for-grabs voters lean Republican: The Journal/NBC News survey in July looked at voters who haven’t ruled out either candidate and are “in play” in November. These voters as a group have characteristics that suggest they are open to Mr. Trump and his party.

Some 22% have a positive image of Mr. Trump, while only 11% have a positive image of Mr. Biden, the July poll found. They prefer a candidate who will confront the Washington establishment, a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s pitch to voters, over one who makes an appeal based on competence and compassion, key themes during the Democratic convention. In addition, these voters want Republicans to lead the next Congress rather than Democrats, 42% to 25%.

These voters account for 13% of the electorate, the survey found, meaning that Mr. Trump would need to win a large majority if he was relying on them to close his gap with Mr. Biden.

Trump leads in the economic argument: Polls have consistently turned up voters who say Mr. Trump has done a good job handling the economy but won’t commit to re-electing him. In August, 48% said he was the candidate best able to deal with the economy, 10 percentage points more than said so of Mr. Biden, and yet more people said they would vote for the Democrat.

Mr. Trump is sure to use the convention week to argue that voters who think he can revive the economy should send him back to the White House.

“Mr. Trump is still favored on the economy, and that’s the top issue people are using to decide their vote,” said Mr. Roberts, the Republican pollster.

Journal/NBC News polling also shows dissatisfaction with Mr. Trump’s management, including the fact that more than half of Americans disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters dislike both parties: In 2016, the Democratic Party had a substantially stronger public image than did the Republican Party. While both were viewed in a negative light, negative views of the Democratic Party outweighed positive ones by 4 percentage points, whereas the GOP was underwater by 21 points.

Today, both parties are tarnished about equally, with negative opinion of the Democrats running 8 points ahead of positive views, compared with 11 points for the GOP.

Updated: 8-26-2020

Trump Goes Dark On TV As Early Voting Looms

The president is getting badly outspent in key battleground states.

Donald Trump is getting pummeled on the TV airwaves, alarming Republicans and prompting the president’s allies to plead for outside help.

August has been a blowout: Trump has been outspent on TV more than 2-to-1 over the past month, according to the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics. And in the past two weeks, Joe Biden is outpacing the president more than 5-to-1.

The shortfall comes at a pivotal moment in the campaign, with Biden essentially monopolizing TV advertising in key battlegrounds before the start of early voting. Trump has ceded the airwaves in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where he’s gone dark in August. In Wisconsin, Trump has been outgunned more than 8-to-1.

The president is not slated to be on the airwaves anywhere during the final week of the month, as Republicans hold their convention.

It’s a jarring turn of events for a reelection effort that has long promoted itself as a financial powerhouse and until recently had a heavy TV presence. And it’s exceedingly rare to see a sitting president go dark so close to an election.

But the Trump campaign has seen its long-standing cash advantage over Biden dwindle to just about $20 million, according to the most recent financial disclosures, even as Biden pours money into commercials.

Trump aides say they have decided to focus their spending on the post-Labor Day final stretch of the campaign and say they see little reason to advertise during the national conventions, which are receiving widespread coverage. Biden’s campaign spent $16 million on TV during his convention week, and is on track to spend more than $14 million during this week’s Republican confab.

It “makes little sense to blow donor money on ads during convention weeks, when all of the national media is focused on the candidates anyway,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, who argued that Biden’s advertising barrage was to designed to compensate for his relatively light public schedule.

Yet it has worried senior Republicans, who argue the reelection effort erred by allowing Biden’s message to go unchallenged. Among Trump allies, there is a growing desire to see a super PAC fill the void. Many in the president’s sphere have long expressed dissatisfaction with America First Action, the principal pro-Trump outside group which has been outspent by its Biden-aligned rival.

“With 70 days to go in a campaign, all of the people who have raised money on behalf of Donald Trump’s name should be spending it to support his campaign right now,” said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who informally advises the president.

David Bossie, a former Trump deputy campaign manager who remains close to the White House, said, “After years of planning, strategizing and fundraising, now is the time for the super PACs and those organizations that support President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s reelection to engage with their all-important dollars to have a positive impact now and not wait any longer.”

An America First Action spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. The organization has spent roughly $13 million over the past month and has booked $24 million from September through the election. It has announced plans for a post-Labor Day, anti-Biden assault.

The Trump forces have also been hamstrung by the downfall of the National Rifle Association. The prominent outside group aggressively bolstered Trump in 2016 but has been essentially a nonfactor in 2020 as it confronts an investigation into alleged financial improprieties.

Trump advisers note they have placed a premium on digital advertising, especially during the conventions.

From July 21 to Aug. 15, the president’s campaign spent $31 million on Facebook and Google, while the Biden team invested $25 million, according to Advertising Analytics. It represents an advantage for Trump, but not of the same magnitude Biden has been enjoying on TV.

Trump aides strenuously push back on the idea they are facing financial problems, though campaign manager Bill Stepien has been examining the campaign’s operations, including budgeting. He has charged deputy campaign manager Justin Clark to review spending going forward.

After taking over the Trump campaign last month, Stepien briefly paused TV spending to reassess the strategy. Rather than airing commercials across the country, the campaign decided to target early voting states.

Pressed on the scale-back during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller said the campaign is “conserving money right now and focusing a little bit more smartly and a little more effectively on the states that are voting early.”

Yet even in most of those early voting states, Biden has dominated Trump. The former vice president spent more than three times as much as the president in North Carolina — where absentee voting begins next week — as well as in Florida and Arizona.

The one state where Trump outpaced Biden was Georgia, where the president’s team made a small investment. Losing Georgia would likely signal a catastrophic election for Trump, who carried the state by 5 percentage points in 2016.

The Trump campaign was also absent in Ohio and Nevada.

To some Republicans, the scenario feels eerily similar to 2012 when Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney during the convention weeks, fueling an early fall bounce.

“Over the dog days of summer, the Biden campaign and his outside allies have owned the airwaves in the states that matter most,” said Nick Everhart, a Republican ad-maker.

Everhart, however, cautioned that “the average voter has been more consumed with the pandemic’s impact on their life,” and said that “deciding who to vote for… is still a fall — not a summer — activity.”

Whether the Biden advertising advantage persists into autumn remains an open question. While the Biden campaign has announced plans to spend $220 million starting in September, it has so far reserved only about half that, according to media buying figures obtained by POLITICO. The Trump campaign has booked nearly $148 million so far.

The Biden team has greeted Trump’s summertime absence from the airwaves with jubilation and say it’s evidence of a campaign on the decline.

“The Trump campaign promised us the ‘Death Star,’ but instead what we got was something closer to the Titanic,” said Biden spokesman Michael Gwin.

Not everyone is convinced the drop-off will matter, though. Even without TV ads, Trump has an ability to draw attention in a way few politicians can. And many Republicans point out that the president found himself in a similar position four years ago.

“Trump was significantly outspent in 2016,” said veteran GOP ad-maker Scott Howell, “and that didn’t seem to matter.”

Updated: 9-2-2020

Biden Campaign Raised More Than $300 Million In August

Haul includes more than $205 million from online, small-dollar donations, campaign says.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden raised $364.5 million in August, shattering previous records for a Democratic campaign as donors rallied behind his selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate and an unprecedented virtual convention.

The total, which includes money raised jointly with the Democratic National Committee and affiliated committees, included more than $205 million from online, small-dollar donations and was more than double what Mr. Biden collected in July. For a former vice president who has struggled to raise money at times, the August surge in donations could allow him to match President Trump in spending during the final stretch of the campaign.

Mr. Biden said in a statement that the fundraising figure “blows me away.”

“And we raised it the right way, from people across the country stepping up to own a piece of this campaign, investing in the future we want to see for our kids and grandkids,” he said.

The campaign said 1.5 million people made their first donation in August and that it had surpassed more than 4 million donors in total.

The fundraising total is the most by a Democrat since Barack Obama raised more than $190 million in September 2008, when he sought the presidency with Mr. Biden as his running mate.

Mr. Trump’s campaign didn’t immediately release its fundraising totals for August. Mr. Trump’s campaign raised more than $165 million in July in combined fundraising with the Republican National Committee and affiliated committees. It said at the time that it had raised $1.1 billion since January 2019.

In a fundraising email to supporters with the subject line “$350 MILLION,” Mr. Trump wrote that he couldn’t “ignore that $350,000,000 in ONE MONTH is a massive amount of cash.”

“The Liberals are funneling money to their candidates at an alarming rate to try and take us down,” he wrote.

Mr. Trump has held a significant cash advantage during much of the campaign, but Mr. Biden’s fundraising onslaught has eroded that advantage. Mr. Trump’s team ended July with more than $300 million in the bank, while Mr. Biden’s campaign said it had $294 million at the end of that month.

Mr. Biden’s campaign didn’t release cash-on-hand totals, which will be included in fundraising reports filed Sept. 20.

For Mr. Biden, the haul represents a continuing sea change in his fundraising fortunes. As the Democratic primaries began in January, his campaign raised less than $9 million for the month. During August, his campaign averaged about $11.7 million daily.

“This is a monumental figure that shows the growing and passionate support for the Biden-Harris ticket,” said Alex Heckler, a Miami Beach, Fla., attorney who serves on Mr. Biden’s national finance committee.

Mr. Biden’s ability to raise money amped up in March as he locked up the primary nomination, and has increased during the summer. The campaign posted $140 million in joint fundraising in July, about $25 million less than Mr. Trump.

But the campaign generated momentum with Mr. Biden’s decision to make Ms. Harris the nation’s first woman of color to join a major party’s presidential ticket.

The campaign said previously that it raised, along with its affiliated committees, $48 million in the 48 hours after he announced Ms. Harris as his running mate. The campaign also collected $70 million during the four days of the virtual Democratic National Convention.

Historically, August is one of the tougher fundraising months for presidential candidates: Large donors are on vacation, small donors aren’t paying attention, and the political conventions have come and gone a month earlier. In August 2016, the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and her Democratic National Committee partners raised $143 million, while Mr. Trump and his Republican team raised about $90 million.

But this year’s calendar looks different, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions on travel mean fewer people are vacationing. Public opinion surveys show voters are engaged in the race earlier than in previous cycles. And both political parties held their nominating conventions in August rather than in July.

Updated: 9-8-2020

Trump Says He Is Prepared To Use His Own Money Amid Reports Of Campaign Cash Crunch

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

President Trump says he is prepared to spend his own money on his reelection effort following a string of reports that his campaign is facing a cash crunch.

Last month, Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $365 million, setting a new record for one month of presidential fundraising.

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

At the same time, Trump’s campaign has gone dark in a number of states, pulling advertising amid reports that it has lost its financial advantage over the former vice president’s campaign.

On Tuesday, Trump said he would consider using his own money.

“If I have to, I will,” he told reporters before boarding Air Force One.

Joe Biden Tops Donald Trump In Polls And Leads In Fundraising (#GotBitcoin?)

President Donald Trump denied Tuesday that his campaign was in dire financial straits but pledged he would contribute “whatever it takes” from his own personal fortune to ensure the success of his reelection effort.

“If I have to, I would,” Trump said of potentially donating to his campaign. “But we’re doing very well. We needed to spend more money up front because of the pandemic and the statements being made by Democrats, which were, again, disinformation.”

The remarks from the president were seemingly in response to a review The New York Times published Monday detailing how the Trump campaign has already spent more than $800 million of the $1.1 billion it raised in coordination with the Republican National Committee from the beginning of 2019 through July.

The Times report raised questions about former campaign manager Brad Parscale’s financial stewardship of Trump’s war chest, which was once viewed as a historic asset ahead of the fall’s general election campaign. Among the campaign’s expenses were a car and driver for Parscale, who was replaced atop the campaign in July by Bill Stepien.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday from the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews, Trump insisted the “press was fake” and that his campaign has “much more money than we had last time,” at the same point in the 2016 White House race.

“But if we needed any more, I’d put it up personally, like I did in the primaries last time,” Trump said. “In the 2016 primaries, I put up a lot of money. If I have to, I’ll do it here. But we don’t have to because we have double and maybe even triple what we had a number of years ago.”

Trump loaned $43.5 million to his campaign during the 2016 Republican primary, and he routinely touted his self-funding as evidence of his independence from special interests.

Pressed Tuesday on how much of his own money he would be willing to put toward his reelection effort, Trump said: “Whatever it takes. We have to win. This is the most important election in the history of our country.”

The president issued a pair of tweets to the same effect minutes later, writing that his campaign staffers “did, and are doing, a GREAT job, and have a lot of money left over, much more than 2016.”

“Like I did in the 2016 Primaries, if more money is needed, which I doubt it will be, I will put it up!” he added.

Biden, meanwhile, has seen his fundraising soar in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign. Last month, the former vice president and the Democratic National Committee raked in a record $365 million in contributions — doubling Trump’s $165 million record haul from July and also surpassing the $193 million raised by Barack Obama in September 2008.

Trump has yet to report his August fundraising numbers, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Tuesday that he did not know when that campaign announcement would come. “I don’t know. I have zero visibility into that decision,” he said.

Updated: 9-9-2020

Trump Raised $210 Million In August — Far Behind $365 Million Joe Biden’ Haul

President Trump and Republicans could’ve set a one-month fundraising record — had their Democratic counterparts not hauled in some $150 million more.

The president’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and their joint fundraising efforts raised a combined $210 million last month, they announced on Wednesday.

On its own, that August haul is impressive. It’s some $45 million more than the GOP groups raised in July, and it surpasses a figure of nearly $200 million by Barack Obama in 2008 that was considered the previous one-month record.

But it falls far short of the record-smashing nearly $365 million Joe Biden and Democrats pulled in last month.

Biden and Democrats released their August totals on Sept. 2, and the radio silence from Trump and Republicans over several days seemed to indicate that their figures would lag far behind.

The GOP numbers follow a report of big spending by the Trump campaign that raised some concerns about dwindling coffers. On Tuesday, the billionaire Trump said he would put some of his own money into his reelection effort if needed.

“If we needed any more, I’d put it up personally, like I did in the primaries last time,” Trump told reporters. He spent $66 million to fund his campaign in 2016.

With mere weeks until Election Day, the fundraising picture is notable: An incumbent whose campaign was once considered a financial juggernaut appears to trail the challenger.

But in its announcement Wednesday, Republicans touted the president’s grassroots support.

“Both campaigns are raising massive amounts of money, but have very different priorities about how to spend it,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement. “In addition to advertising, President Trump’s campaign has invested heavily in a muscular field operation and ground game that will turn out our voters, while the Biden campaign is waging almost exclusively an air war. We like our strategy better.”

In their respective announcements, neither side said how much cash it has on hand for the election’s stretch run.

We’ll get more details on Sept. 20, which is the next filing deadline for Federal Election Commission reports.

Updated: 9-20-2020

Biden Leads Trump By 8 Points In New Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll

Respondents view president as better economic steward, Democrat as better on coronavirus.

In a year dominated by a deadly virus, racial unrest and tumultuous news cycles, the presidential race remains remarkably stable, with former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining his lead over President Trump, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.

Some 51% of registered voters nationally say they would vote for Mr. Biden if the election were held today, while 43% back Mr. Trump. That 8-point lead remains largely unchanged from a month ago, when Mr. Biden had a 9-point advantage, and compares with an 11-point Biden lead in July. Mr. Biden has led Mr. Trump by 6 points or more all year.

The survey of 1,000 voters was taken Sept. 13-16, before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday added a volatile, new element that could reshape voter priorities. In addition, the three presidential debates are an unpredictable factor in the final weeks of the campaign. The first debate is set for Sept. 29.

For now, however, most voters say they are settled in their choices. More than 70% say the debates won’t matter much to them, including 44% who say they will not matter at all to their choice, a record high dating to 2000.

“Simply put: In 2020, the fundamentals of our country have been shaken to our core, while the fundamentals of the election have not,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, who conducted the survey with Republican Bill McInturff.

Attention to the campaign was already at a record level before the expected battle over replacing Justice Ginsburg, which will likely draw new attention to the consequences of presidential elections. A record 75% of voters in the survey rated their interest in the election at a 10 on a 10-point scale.

Fifty-two percent say they plan to vote early, a level bound to test officials in many states that have never processed such high volumes of mailed ballots or early in-person votes.

While Mr. Trump continues to trail in the national survey, the poll showed that he carries some advantages into the final weeks. Voters continue to see him as better suited than Mr. Biden to manage the economy, 48% to 38%, despite a pandemic that has left millions unemployed.

The president is also bringing together his core constituency, drawing in more establishment Republicans, or those who say they support the party itself more than they support Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump also has a more enthusiastic voter base, the poll shows.

“There is a pulse of possibility for Donald Trump that was much more difficult to see in July,” said Mr. McInturff.

While voters see Mr. Trump as the better steward of the economy, they increasingly view him as the weaker option for dealing with coronavirus. Mr. Biden now has a 22-point lead, 51% to 29%, on who is better to manage the outbreak, up from 11 points in June. Mr. Trump has faced sustained criticism for playing down the threat while pushing to reopen the economy.

Overall, the president’s job approval rating is at 45%, up 3 percentage points from July, while 53% disapprove.

Mr. Trump is winning male voters overall but by a smaller percentage than Mr. Biden is winning women. He is also drawing a smaller share of the white vote than he did in 2016, as recorded by exit polls.

Similarly, Mr. Trump is underperforming among voters age 65 and older compared with four years ago. Mr. Biden is winning those voters, 50% to 46%.

Mr. Trump has increasingly turned to a law-and-order message, citing protests in cities over racial-justice issues that at times have turned violent and casting Mr. Biden as too weak to respond to the disorder. But he has only a slight advantage over Mr. Biden on who is better to deal with crime and violence, 43% to 41%.

Still, Mr. Horwitt noted that voters are as concerned about a lack of order in cities as they are of shooting of Black residents by police. “The power of this issue should not be undervalued, even if it has yet to help him change the trajectory of the election,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump.

The president is also seeing some effect from his hammering of Mr. Biden over China policies. Forty-six percent of voters say Mr. Trump is better suited to dealing with China, compared with 37% who favor the former vice president.

Mr. Trump often plays up his support of the military, but his rival is seen as better on supporting and respecting the military and veterans, 47% to 42%.

Mr. Biden has an 8-point advantage among voters on which candidate can better serve as commander in chief. The last two presidents seeking re-election, Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004, were viewed as stronger than their challengers in leading the military.

Voters also see Mr. Biden as more honest and trustworthy and, by an overwhelming margin, 52% to 28%, say he is better able to bring the country together.

Mr. Biden has also addressed some of his deficiencies among his base, improving his numbers with young voters and voters of color, the poll shows.

He is viewed in a less negative light than was Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee, and the share holding a positive view of him has improved in recent months. Negative views of Mr. Biden outweigh positive ones by 2 percentage points in the new survey, compared with 12 points in July.

Negative views of Mr. Trump in the new survey outweigh positive ones by 11 points.

While 38% of voters say there is no chance they will support Mr. Biden, 47% say that of Mr. Trump. “That’s a major barrier” for the president, said Mr. McInturff. Only 11% in the survey suggest that their vote is up for grabs.

The margin of error for the Journal/NBC News poll was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


Biden Leads Trump Among Latino Voters, Poll Shows

President’s support among Latinos roughly in line with his standing in 2016, according to WSJ/NBC/Telemundo poll.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a significant lead over President Trump among registered Latino voters, garnering 62% of support, compared with Mr. Trump’s 26%, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC/Telemundo poll.

The survey finds Mr. Trump’s support among Latinos to be roughly in line with his standing in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won 66% of the Latino vote, exit polls found that year, while Mr. Trump received 28%.

About 12% of Latino voters remain undecided this year, the new survey finds.

The Journal/NBC/Telemundo poll includes some warning signs for Mr. Biden: Mr. Trump’s favorability among Latino voters has improved from four years ago. In September 2016, 78% had a negative view of him, compared with 56% today.

Mr. Trump’s best opportunities to build support among Latino voters appear to lie with men and older voters. While 30% of the Latino electorate approves of Mr. Trump’s job performance, 34% of men and 36% of Latinos age 40 and older approve.

“Certainly, men are definitely an important segment where Trump tends to fare better with Latinos than other segments overall,” said pollster Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, who worked on the survey. She said that “Biden has an opportunity for improvement there.”

By comparison, 27% of Latina voters approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance. Among the Latino electorate under the age of 40, 24% approve.

The survey of 300 Latino voters was taken Sept. 13-16, before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday introduced a new factor into the presidential race. It was conducted by Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt and Republican Bill McInturff.

The results come as Democrats in some swing states have grown increasingly concerned about Mr. Trump making inroads among Latinos in swing states such as Florida and Nevada, where Republicans have been portraying Mr. Biden and other Democrats as socialists. Polls in these states have shown Mr. Biden underperforming among Latino voters compared with Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 support.

Mr. Biden visited Florida for the first time as the party’s nominee last week, giving a speech that largely catered to the Puerto Rican population in Kissimmee to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month.

He acknowledged to reporters during his trip that he had more work to do to win over Latino voters. “Look, what I have to do is make the case why it will be so much better for the Hispanic community, the Latino community, if in fact Trump is no longer president,” he said.

Compared with registered voters overall, Latino voters in the survey reported a lower level of interest in the election. Some 67% rated their level of interest at a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, compared with 80% of voters of all races and ethnicities.

The poll also shows the economy to be a top issue for Latino voters. Those surveyed gave Mr. Biden only a slight edge on the issue over Mr. Trump, with 39% saying the president would be better at dealing with the economy, compared with 41% who said Mr. Biden would be better.

Mr. Biden holds wide leads on other top issues, including on handling coronavirus, addressing the concerns of the Hispanic and Latino community and treating immigrants humanely.

Mario Mendoza, 28, said he is undecided in the election. The Florida resident considers himself a Democrat, but he said he likes Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy. “I have seen my 401(k) grow in these past four years a lot,” he said.

Mr. Mendoza, who is Mexican-American, said he didn’t vote in 2016 because he didn’t like either candidate, but he plans to vote on Election Day.

Arnoldo Rodriguez, 65, a Texas resident who plans to vote for Mr. Biden, said the virus and health care were at the top of his mind. He said he thinks Mr. Trump has made the coronavirus a political issue while playing down the crisis.

Mr. Biden, he said, “has been very clear that he will listen to the scientists.”

Mr. Rodriguez, who is Mexican-American, said building on the Affordable Care Act is an important issue for him. “Trump is trying to kill the ACA. We need insurance programs, especially for retirees,” he said.

The poll also found that the majority of Latino voters plan to vote before Election Day, with 31% saying they would vote by mail and 23% saying they would vote early in person. Some 40% said they would vote on Election Day.

The margin of error for the Journal/NBC News/Telemundo survey was plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. The poll was also in line with previous WSJ/NBC data between January and August of this year, which averaged together found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump, 61% to 29%. It didn’t break down results based on country of origin.

Biden Ended August With $141 Million More In Cash Than Trump

Democratic nominee’s campaign had $466 million, compared to $325 million for the president’s re-election effort

President Donald Trump’s campaign cash advantage has evaporated as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s team started the month with $466 million in the bank, about $141 million more than the president’s re-election effort.

The Biden campaign figure was disclosed by a senior campaign official Sunday. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh tweeted this weekend that the re-election effort had $325 million in available cash to start September. Both figures include available cash spread across the national parties and allied fundraising committees.

Mr. Biden’s campaign started the general election far behind Mr. Trump in terms of money. The president has been raising cash for his re-election since January 2017, and he started the year with more than $100 million on hand.

Mr. Biden, who was outraised several times by his opponents during the primary, began locking up his party’s nomination in mid-March and partnered with the Democratic Party a month later. His fundraising campaign began making up ground after that.

The two campaigns started August with nearly the same amount on hand, and Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump last month, pulling in $364.5 million compared with $210 million for the president’s reelection effort. That month, Mr. Biden’s campaign was boosted by the addition of California Sen. Kamala Harris to the ticket. The Biden campaign has said it raised $48 million in the 48 hours after Ms. Harris was named as Mr. Biden’s running mate. Mr. Trump slightly edged out Mr. Biden in fundraising during their respective conventions.

President Donald Trump’s campaign cash advantage has evaporated as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s team started the month with $466 million in the bank, about $141 million more than the president’s re-election effort.

The Biden campaign figure was disclosed by a senior campaign official Sunday. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh tweeted this weekend that the re-election effort had $325 million in available cash to start September. Both figures include available cash spread across the national parties and allied fundraising committees.

Mr. Biden’s campaign started the general election far behind Mr. Trump in terms of money. The president has been raising cash for his re-election since January 2017, and he started the year with more than $100 million on hand.

Mr. Biden, who was outraised several times by his opponents during the primary, began locking up his party’s nomination in mid-March and partnered with the Democratic Party a month later. His fundraising campaign began making up ground after that.

The two campaigns started August with nearly the same amount on hand, and Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump last month, pulling in $364.5 million compared with $210 million for the president’s reelection effort. That month, Mr. Biden’s campaign was boosted by the addition of California Sen. Kamala Harris to the ticket. The Biden campaign has said it raised $48 million in the 48 hours after Ms. Harris was named as Mr. Biden’s running mate. Mr. Trump slightly edged out Mr. Biden in fundraising during their respective conventions.

The New York Times first reported Mr. Biden’s cash on hand figure.

Since the beginning of August, the Biden campaign has also been outspending the Trump campaign on television advertising in battleground states, according to data from political ad tracker Kantar/CMAG.

With only about six weeks until Election Day and voters already casting ballots in some states, the amount of cash accessible becomes more consequential as the campaigns travel to swing states and pour millions into TV ads and voter outreach.

Mr. Biden’s campaign may benefit this month from an outpouring of donations to Democratic causes after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, reported Sunday that donors gave more than $91 million to progressive candidates and causes in the 28 hours after Justice Ginsburg’s death became public Friday evening. That included more than $6.2 million in the 9 p.m. Eastern hour and $6.3 million in the 10 p.m. Eastern hour on Friday. Both were hourly records on the 16-year-old online fundraising platform, according to ActBlue.

Still, fundraising doesn’t always translate to success at the ballot box. Mr. Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 while spending and raising much less than the former secretary of state. To start this month, the president’s re-election effort had about three times as much cash on hand than he did at the same time in 2016, a point Mr. Murtaugh made in his tweet announcing the number.

Updated: 9-24-2020

Kamala Harris Brings Hollywood Cash To Biden Campaign

Vice presidential nominee has relationships with Democratic women and people of color in the entertainment industry, donors and fundraisers said.

When California Sen. Kamala Harris joined the Democratic presidential ticket, she helped former Vice President Joe Biden land a surge of political donations. She also brought along a loyal base in her home state’s star-studded sector: Hollywood.

Celebrities Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon and television producer Shonda Rhimes were among co-chairs for Ms. Harris’s first solo fundraiser, with ticket prices ranging from $500 to $100,000, according to an invitation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Actor and singer Billy Porter sang “Home,” from the musical “The Wiz,” at a recent Harris fundraiser. Actors Sterling K. Brown and Kate Hudson attended another. And actors Sarah Paulson and Jon Cryer donated to the Biden campaign for the first time after Ms. Harris was named as his running mate, filings with the Federal Election Commission show.

Ms. Harris, a Los Angeles resident who is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, has close relationships with Democratic women and people of color in the entertainment industry, a dozen donors and fundraisers said. She is helping bring in new donors and encouraging additional giving by people who have supported Mr. Biden before, they said.

“When you think about balancing a ticket, she brings a lot of the qualities that I think are important in 2020,” said longtime Democratic donor Katie McGrath, co-chief executive of production company Bad Robot. She and her husband, “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams, have supported Ms. Harris for years and are backing Mr. Biden’s campaign.

“We have to be looking forward,” Ms. McGrath said.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who hosted a virtual fundraiser with Ms. Harris, said during the event that he was inspired by her nomination and how she “embodies the possibilities that are America.”

“Let us step back and embrace what this says about the promise of our country, the message it sends, especially to young people of all backgrounds,” Mr. Burns said.

Donations both big and small surged on Aug. 11—when Mr. Biden named Ms. Harris as his running mate—and largely stayed at elevated levels through the end of August, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public filings by Democratic online fundraising platform ActBlue and the Biden campaign.

In the 48 hours after the announcement, at least 240,000 people donated to the Biden campaign for the first time, the most new donors to the campaign in any two-day span this election cycle, the Journal found. The number could be higher because not all contributions of $200 or less made directly to the campaign are required to be disclosed by federal law.

That boost helped fuel a record-setting $364.5 million fundraising month for Mr. Biden’s campaign.

A senior Biden aide said the campaign in March began investing in the fundraising infrastructure that allowed it to capitalize on high-profile events such as the vice presidential selection. Between March and the end of July, the campaign spent more than $1.4 million on acquiring email and contact information lists to target donation appeals, public filings show.

The aide said the campaign saw those lists grow over the summer as donations poured into progressive causes in response to George Floyd’s death. And ahead of Ms. Harris’ selection, the campaign saw another boost in its lists as it encouraged supporters to sign up for text-message alerts to be notified of the running-mate pick.

Those efforts allowed the campaign to quickly go back to supporters with fundraising appeals after Ms. Harris was announced, the aide said.

Since joining the ticket, Ms. Harris has held more than two dozen virtual fundraisers, including with many donors outside the entertainment industry.

Hollywood has often been a source of cash for Democratic candidates, and the former vice president has also appeared alongside celebrities at times. Mr. Biden has ramped up his fundraising since becoming the presumptive nominee in April.

He has outraised President Trump’s operation in multiple months. The campaign also benefited from several additional state parties signing onto an existing joint fundraising agreement this summer, which allowed donors to give about $100,000 more to the effort known as the Biden Victory Fund than they could earlier this year.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has used Ms. Harris’s fundraising to rile up his supporters. In an email titled “Hollywood Elites” sent last week, the campaign pointed to a fundraiser Ms. Harris had alongside former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that featured “Saturday Night Live” alumnae Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, which raised $6 million.

Public-affairs firm Gonring, Lin, Spahn, whose clients are largely based in Los Angeles and work in media and entertainment, has organized events and raised more than $20 million for the Biden campaign since the launch of the Biden Victory Fund earlier this year, said Andy Spahn, the firm’s president.

He said donors’ enthusiasm for the campaign is rooted in stopping Mr. Trump from securing a second term. But Ms. Harris has added new energy, given the potential for her to be the first woman elected vice president, her stature in leading a next generation of politicians, and resonance with her personal story, Mr. Spahn said.

Some donors are giving for the first time, Los Angeles-based donors and political advisers said.

“Within the social fabric of Hollywood, women all know each other, the people of color all know each other, the women people of color all know each other,” a Latina Hollywood executive and Harris supporter said. “These networks exist for professional and personal reasons and then can be activated for political ones.”

Ms. Harris has also helped land big-name supporters. In mid-September, Haim Saban, the billionaire creator of the Power Rangers and a longtime Democratic donor, announced his endorsement of the campaign, highlighting its support for a strong alliance between the U.S. and Israel. In a statement to the Journal, he also named Ms. Harris as a draw.

“As someone who immigrated to the United States at a young age, I understand and resonate with the enthusiasm for Kamala Harris as the first Black and Asian woman on a major-party ticket,” Mr. Saban said. “She complements Joe Biden’s leadership, vision and heart with fearlessness, sharp intellect and the fighter’s mentality of a seasoned prosecutor.”

Democratic donors in the entertainment industry have also been giving to down-ballot races across the country since Mr. Trump was elected. Some said they were spurred to act by the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after sexual assault allegations were leveled against him. Justice Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegations and was confirmed to the court in a 50-48 Senate vote.

Ms. Harris played a prominent role in questioning Justice Kavanaugh and will likely be a key Democratic critic of Mr. Trump’s soon-to-be-named choice to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court.

Those working in television, movies and music have pumped nearly $13 million into Democratic House and Senate races so far in the 2019-20 election cycle, according to an analysis of September data from the Federal Election Commission by the Center for Responsive Politics. That is on track to surpass the $13.45 million the group raised for such races in the 2017-18 cycle and the $7.7 million in the 2015-16 cycle, the center found.

Hannah Linkenhoker, senior political strategist at agency ICM Partners, said while it is important to fund the Biden campaign, she often advises donors to give to local races too, since they “may be less funded, but a super important piece of the overall election puzzle.”

Updated: 9-26-2020

Biden Holds Bigger September Poll Lead Than Clinton Did

Surveys show Trump in a weaker overall position than at this point in 2016.

Donald Trump is drawing more support than in 2016 among Hispanic voters and the white working class. Joe Biden is doing better than the prior Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, among seniors and white college graduates.

Add up the changes in voter preferences, as recorded by Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls this month and in September of 2016, and the result shows Mr. Biden holding a larger lead today than did Mrs.

Clinton when she faced Mr. Trump four years ago—an 8-point lead for Mr. Biden this month, compared with 5 points for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Biden is also in a stronger position in many battleground state polls than was Mrs. Clinton.

But a comparison of the polls from the two election years also shows that Mr. Trump has room to pull off an Electoral College victory without winning the popular vote, as he did in 2016.

Among Other Reasons:  White, working-class voters, or those without a four-year college degree, make up large shares of the voter pool in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and so Mr. Trump’s improved strength among that group could help him there. His improvement among Hispanic voters could help in Florida, among other places.

At the same time, Mr. Trump’s standing with some other voter groups has weakened. The big picture is that both national and state polling show his position to be more tenuous than four years ago.

Mr. Biden hasn’t trailed Mr. Trump at any point this year in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls. Moreover, since mid-May his lead in that average has been larger than Mrs. Clinton’s was at any similar point in 2016, except for a one-week period in early August, when his lead was essentially equal to Mrs. Clinton’s.

As of Friday, the former vice president led Mr. Trump by 6.5 percentage points in the aggregate of polls, compared with Mrs. Clinton’s 3-point lead at the same point four years ago. One big difference is that third-party candidates are a smaller factor this year, taking less than 4% support, compared with 10% in the averaged polls in 2016.

“It’s pretty clear: Biden’s position has remained better than Clinton’s was,’’ said Mark Blumenthal, a polling expert who consults with the survey firm YouGov, adding that polls are a picture of one moment in the race and don’t predict the outcome.

In 2016, Mrs. Clinton won the national vote by just over 2 percentage points, 48% to 46%, while losing the Electoral College.

That came as a surprise to many, because her lead over Mr. Trump had been as high as 7 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics aggregate of national polls just three weeks before the election. It topped 3 points on Election Day, close to the popular vote outcome.

There are signs this year that Mr. Biden’s lead will prove more durable. Through the summer, no more than 9% of voters have told Journal/NBC News pollsters that they are undecided in the presidential contest or backing a third-party candidate. Mr. Biden’s lead during this time has ranged from 7 to 11 points.

By comparison, Mrs. Clinton’s leads during the same period of 2016 were usually smaller, and 21% to 24% of voters remained undecided or opted for someone outside the two major parties—an unusually large and volatile set of voters, who ultimately broke for Mr. Trump or backed third-party candidates.

With fewer voters like this in play this year, their effect on the outcome will likely be more limited.

To Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who works on the Journal/NBC News poll, the main contours of the electorate have changed little since 2016, and some factors, such as a more unified GOP base, are helping the president.

Mr. Trump in September had the support of 91% of Republicans in Journal/NBC polling, compared with 85% at this point in 2016. Negative views of the president outweighed positive ones by 11 percentage points in September, compared with 33 points in 2016.

“Nothing that’s happened in the last three years has budged Donald Trump’s job approval rating,” said Mr. Roberts. “It’s low. But he won with a low image. He won with no Democratic support.”

“Still,” he added, “some significant event will have to happen, and soon, for Trump to do something beyond his 2016 performance, which was a low-probability type of win.”

Mr. Biden is also exceeding Mr. Clinton’s lead in many polls of competitive states. “Step back and look at the averages and squint at them, and basically what you see is that Biden is in a better position than Clinton,’’ consistent with his slightly larger advantage in national surveys, Mr. Blumenthal said.

In combined polling of six battleground states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona—Mr. Biden holds a lead of 3.6 percentage points, compared with 1.5 points for Mrs. Clinton at a similar point four years ago, Real Clear Politics aggregates show.

In Wisconsin, where Mr. Trump won the barest of victories in 2016, Mr. Biden held a 4-point lead in the two most recent Marquette Law School surveys, in August and early September. Marquette polls in 2016 reported Clinton leads of 6 and 7 points just before she lost the state. But Charles Franklin, who directs the poll, said he believed this year’s findings are more solid.

About half as many voters are undecided this year, Mr. Franklin said, and they break slightly for Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump, 26% to 19%, when the pollster pushes them on which way they lean. By contrast, undecided voters in Wisconsin ultimately backed Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton, 60% to 20%, with the rest backing a third-party candidate, he said.

Another way to view state polls is to ask where Mr. Biden stands if the polls today are understating Mr. Trump’s support by the same amounts as in 2016. For example, aggregated polls of Wisconsin just before the election found Mrs. Clinton with a lead of 6.5 percentage points, but she lost the state by 0.7 points, a combined polling miss of 7.2 points.

If applied today, Mr. Biden’s current 6.6-point advantage in aggregated polls of Wisconsin would actually reflect a narrow Trump lead—potentially stripping Mr. Biden of a state he is counting on to win the Electoral College.

Similarly, Mr. Biden’s polling leads in Pennsylvania and Michigan would be cut by more than half, but they would not be eliminated. And his current advantage in Arizona would grow slightly, potentially replacing the electoral votes he could lose in Wisconsin.

A study by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the trade group for pollsters, found that state polls as a group missed the mark in 2016 in part because many didn’t adjust their results to account for an overrepresentation of college graduates—a group that largely backed Mrs. Clinton—in their samples. Some, but not all, state pollsters have started to make that adjustment this year.

Many uncertainties remain that are hard for polling to capture. Interest in the election is at an all-time high, and both parties are trying to register new voters, creating uncertainties about the shape of the electorate. Voting by mail raises new questions about whether ballots will be submitted properly and meet legal requirements to be counted.

Journal/NBC News polling in September recorded a number of shifts from 2016 among various voting blocs. Mr. Trump drew support from 27% of Hispanic voters, compared with 18% in September of 2016. His support among white voters without college degrees hit 59%, 6 points higher than four years ago but lagging behind the support he ultimately received in the election, as recorded by exit polls.

One of the biggest shifts in Mr. Biden’s favor was among women. Despite Mrs. Clinton’s status as the first female major-party nominee, Mr. Biden drew 57% of women voters in September’s survey, 5 points better than Mrs. Clinton’s support in the Journal/NBC news poll four years earlier.

Updated: 10-4-2020

Biden Scores 14-Point Lead Over Trump In Poll After Debate


Democrat draws support of 53% of registered voters, as GOP incumbent’s backing falls to 39%, new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds.

President Trump is drawing his weakest voter support of the year in his re-election race following Tuesday’s contentious debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, leads the president, 53% to 39%, among registered voters in the new poll, which was conducted in the two days following the debate but before news emerged that Mr. Trump had tested positive for Covid-19. Mr. Biden’s 14-point lead compares with an 8-point advantage last month and 11 points in July, which was his largest of the campaign at that time.

The survey finds something rare in Journal/NBC News polling: evidence that an individual news event—the debate—is having a material effect on Mr. Trump’s political standing, at least for now. Significant events in the past, such as Mr. Trump’s impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate, had only hardened views of the president, not shifted them.

Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who directed the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt, cautioned that the poll was conducted during an unsettled moment after the caustic presidential debate—“a shock to the system,” he called it—and could reflect a temporary reassessment of views. “The public can be taking a moment to say, ‘What did I just see, and how do I feel about it?’” he said. Mr. Trump could regain ground, Mr. McInturff said, given that “he has a history of bouncing back to some set point.”

For now, though, the poll represents a number of flashing caution signs for the president. His support has never before fallen below 40% on the ballot against Mr. Biden. Women, who outnumber men in the electorate, favor Mr. Biden in the survey by 27 percentage points, 60% to 33%, compared with 20 points last month. At the same time, support for Mr. Trump has softened among some of his most loyal groups, such as white, working-class men.

Negative views of the president dominate positive ones by 16 percentage points in the new survey, up from 11 points last month, and the share of voters with “very negative” views has hit 50% for the first time since Mr. Trump took office. Meanwhile, views of Mr. Biden turned net positive for the first time since 2018, though narrowly so.

Messrs. Horwitt and McInturff said one factor was the debate, a decorum-destroying event in which the two candidates traded insults and continually talked over each other, with Mr. Trump interrupting his opponent more often. About three-quarters of voters said the event made no difference to their vote. But among the other 25%, a bigger share said the debate made them more likely to support Mr. Biden than Mr. Trump.

While 84% of Democrats said Mr. Biden did a better job in the debate, 54% of Republicans said so of the president. Overall, half of voters said Mr. Biden performed better, with a quarter saying Mr. Trump did. Some 17% said neither candidate did well.

Asked more broadly about the candidates’ personal qualities, voters by a two-to-one margin said Mr. Biden was better at displaying “the right temperament to be president,” 58% to 26%.

“It is clear that the debate, and Mr. Trump’s behavior during it, reinforced the negative side of Mr. Trump personally for many respondents,” said Mr. Horwitt. He said the president “lost the American people on style more than substance.”

“What we know for sure is that the debate had consequence, at least initially,” said Mr. McInturff, who noted that big events have tumbled over each other quickly and that public attention had now turned to the repercussions of Mr. Trump contracting Covid-19.

Two more debates are planned between Messrs. Trump and Biden—on Oct. 15 in Miami and Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.—though the president’s coronavirus infection might affect that schedule. Vice President Mike Pence, who reported testing negative Friday, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) are slated to debate Wednesday at the University of Utah.

Voters in the new survey viewed Mr. Trump as better suited than his challenger to handle the economy, 48% to 41%.

But the poll found the president struggling to gain traction on other issues in a campaign that has shifted focus from racial justice to his call for more “law and order” and, more recently, to a Supreme Court vacancy. Mr. Biden leads two-to-one on which candidate can best handle race relations, and he holds single-digit leads on handling crime and making Supreme Court nominations, the poll found.

Now, Mr. Trump’s bout with the virus will likely keep the public focused on the pandemic, an issue that voters believe Mr. Biden would be better at handling, 52% to 35%.

The poll also found voters divided over the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, though many voters say they don’t yet have an opinion on the matter.

Some 35% say they support the nomination, with 34% opposing it and 30% undecided. Views of Judge Barrett’s nomination show record partisanship: Some 76% of Republicans support the selection, the largest share of a president’s party backing a high court pick in Journal/NBC News polling dating to the selection of now-Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.

Half of voters say the winner of the presidential election should fill the Supreme Court seat, compared with 38% who would move ahead with Mr. Trump’s nomination now—essentially the same shares who support Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump in the election.

In the new survey, 45% of voters identified as Democrats and 36% as Republicans, a 9-point gap that is larger than the average 6-point advantage for Democrats in prior Journal/NBC News polling this year. Journal/NBC News pollsters don’t adjust the sample to meet benchmarks for party identification, as they do for other voter characteristics, such as race. That is because people often shift their party identification in tandem with changing feelings about the two parties and their candidates.

The electorate, for example, included equal shares of Democrats and Republicans when then-President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, exit polls found. But more people identified as Democrats than as Republicans, by about 7 percentage points, during Barack Obama’s two victories in 2008 and 2012.

The Journal/NBC News pollsters said they detected no sign that Republicans disproportionately declined to participate in the poll or to answer their phones.

The survey of 800 registered voters was conducted on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Updated: 10-10-2020

Trailing In The Polls And Time Running Out, Trump Looks For One More Comeback

Republicans hope a stimulus deal and Supreme Court hearings could turn the tide after the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis and a rough debate.

President Trump is at his lowest point in the polls in months, behind in ad spending and has spent the past week off the campaign trail after a positive Covid-19 diagnosis. Now, with just weeks to go before Election Day, he’s hoping for one more reset.

From inside the White House, Mr. Trump has spent the past week employing unusual strategies to close the gap. He pulled out of the second debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after organizers said it should be held virtually to avoid health issues. He has criticized two of his highest-profile cabinet secretaries, Attorney General Bill Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for not being tougher on his political rivals.

On Saturday afternoon the president made his first public address since last week’s diagnosis and his discharge from hospital on Monday, speaking to hundreds of pro-police activists Saturday on the White House lawn as basic questions about his medical condition persist—including whether he is continuing to test positive for the virus or how regularly he is being tested.

The president—who didn’t wear a mask—emerged from the White House pumping his fists to cheers of “USA” from the audience. “I’m feeling great,” he said. In taped videos and brief appearances earlier in the week, the president had at times appeared short of breath, but sounded better in his nearly 20-minute speech.

His remarks echoed the speeches he makes at campaign rallies, though the White House said the event wasn’t a campaign event. He bashed his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, as a socialist, touted his own record on the economy and said he wanted to send a message “to police officers of every race, color and creed: we support you, we honor you.”

Campaign aides are hoping they can get their candidate back on the road and back on message, as they try to narrow a gap that they insist is smaller than in the public polls which show him trailing Mr. Biden nationally and in battleground states. But they have just 24 days and one remaining debate to do it.

“Our races have certainly gotten tighter since the presidential debate,” said Sarah Chamberlain, president and chief executive of the Republican Main Street Partnership. She expressed confidence that Republicans running in suburban congressional districts could still succeed, but added “everybody talks about all the days [left], but really in a lot of states, people are already voting.”

Mr. Trump, who has been frustrated by his confinement in the White House, plans to follow up his brief speech on Saturday with a rally in Florida on Monday. His doctor said in a memo released Thursday that Mr. Trump was ready to resume activities Saturday, but has provided limited details on the president’s condition.

“Will be in Sanford, Florida on Monday for a very BIG RALLY!” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday.

Campaign advisers said Mr. Trump’s schedule would be guided by his health, but they were eyeing rallies nearly every day in the coming week. They are looking at a trip to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, said a person familiar with the planning.

Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the president will still seek to make an economic pitch to voters in the closing days.

“The president is going to have in excess of 20 days on the campaign trail to make the clear case, which Americans already know, that he is the candidate who built the economy to the world’s best once and will do it again,” Mr. Murtaugh said.

The president’s message in recent days has been far from focused, as he gives freewheeling television interviews that touch on possible coronavirus treatments, complaints about top aides, declarations about troop withdrawals, branding Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris a monster and calling for the indictment of both Mr. Biden and former President Obama in relation to the investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian election interference.

Mr. Trump also is looking to strike a coronavirus-relief deal before Election Day. Some Republicans hope that gives them a boost, but warn that it could frustrate voters if the White House and Congress can’t reach an agreement.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said Friday on CNBC that if people are upset and depressed on Election Day, “I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions.”

Even before Mr. Trump announced early on Oct. 2 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, he was already dealing with the fallout from a Sept. 29 debate performance marked by his aggressiveness and frequent interruptions, and a story in the New York Times which said he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and no taxes for many other recent years. Mr. Trump has said the Times report was false but has refused to release his tax returns.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll taken after that first debate showed Mr. Biden widening the gap, leading the president 53% to 39% among registered voters. The survey was taken before news emerged that Mr. Trump had contracted Covid-19.

Internally, campaign advisers said their data showed little movement after the debate. But these aides acknowledged that Mr. Trump’s standing has taken a hit since the announcement last week that he tested positive for coronavirus.

They are quick to point out state polls that show Mr. Biden ahead by about the same margins now as then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was at this point in 2016. (That is true in some battleground states, but in others Mr. Biden’s lead in poll averages is wider than Mrs. Clinton’s was.) They also said that Mr. Trump is overperforming among Latino voters in certain states.

While some aides and allies are growing increasingly anxious, others contend that the president could still dig his way out of this, pointing to his comeback after video surfaced on Oct. 7, 2016 of Mr. Trump speaking to a host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood” about grabbing women.

“I don’t know that anything could be worse than that situation. He built himself back up after falling there,” said a person close to the campaign.

On Oct. 10, 2016, Mrs. Clinton’s lead in the RealClearPolitics poll average stood at 5.8 points, and reached its high for the month the following week, at 7.1 points. Mr. Biden’s average lead, as of Friday, stood at 9.6 points.

Heading into the final three weeks of the campaign, Democrats hold an $85 million advantage over Republicans on TV advertising reservations, according to data from political ad tracker Kantar/CMAG. Mr. Biden’s campaign and Democratic groups have booked $177 million in TV ad time compared with $92 million for the Trump campaign and GOP groups, the data show.

The states attracting the most spending from both sides are Pennsylvania and Florida, where Democratic super PAC Priorities USA and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC are giving Democrats the edge on TV.

But the Biden campaign has also booked about $6 million worth of time in Texas through Election Day and this week increased its spending in Ohio and Iowa, two states where the Trump campaign canceled a week’s worth of TV reservations.

Asked about the moves, Mr. Murtaugh said the Trump campaign felt confident the president would carry those states. As of Friday, the Trump campaign also was slated to go up on the air in those states next week through Election Day, the data show.

As the president’s poll numbers falter, Republicans running for re-election around the country are increasingly under pressure, with some distancing themselves from Mr. Trump on multiple issues.

During a debate, Arizona Sen. Martha McSally avoided questions about whether she was proud to support the president. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine opposed the White House push to confirm a Supreme Court justice before Election Day.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he hadn’t been to the White House in two months due to the Trump administration’s casual approach to the coronavirus.

A Republican consultant working with candidates in battleground states said the past 12 days had been tough for the president and a drag on GOP contenders.

“The president’s numbers have dropped—that’s around the country,” the consultant said. “The dynamic of the race needs to change. I don’t know what the White House needs to do to reset that.”

The coming confirmation hearings for the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, could refocus attention somewhat, the consultant said, arguing that GOP candidates would benefit from anything that “takes the eye off Trump.”

Updated: 10-11-2020

Trump Snubbed By His Industry As Real Estate Pros Give To Biden

our years ago, Donald Trump thrilled the real estate industry as he ascended to the White House, calling himself the “builder president” and promising a trillion dollars of infrastructure spending.

Since then, while his tax overhaul kept breaks for investors like himself, it stung home buyers in many states. The blitz of spending on public projects fizzled. The pandemic and languishing talks for stimulus left much of the industry struggling.

Now, a tally of contributions from real estate professionals shows more support for Democratic challenger Joe Biden than for re-electing a man who hails from the business. Entering the final stretch of this year’s race, an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics shows Biden amassed $19.8 million from real estate professionals — about 19% more than Trump — burnishing his fundraising lead on the incumbent.

Longtime Trump friends have hung back. Developers Stephen Ross of Related Cos. and Howard Lorber of Vector Group, for example, gave a total of $300,000 to the Republican party and Trump after he got the nomination in 2016 — about 50% more than in this cycle through August.

Trump has been reluctant to press property pals to fund his campaigns. Of four known to have been at a White House party on election night in 2018 — Steven Witkoff, Richard LeFrak, Howard Lorber and Tom Barrack — Witkoff is the only one who’s significantly increased donations this round, more than quadrupling his giving to $930,000, federal records show.

Another exception to the pullback is California developer Geoffrey Palmer, a big city real estate mogul who like Trump followed his father into the business. Palmer, also like Trump, has extolled the power of depreciation to avoid paying income taxes.

Of the $16.7 million flowing from the real estate industry to the president’s campaign and related committees this cycle, more than a third, or $6.4 million, is from Palmer, who’s prominent in Los Angeles but less known nationally. Federal Election Commission records show he gave little to national political figures before Trump clinched the Republican nomination in May 2016, but his giving has exploded since then, reaching about $17 million.

Palmer has ramped up donations to Republicans facing the prospect of Democratic control of the White House, Senate and House. He’s contributed some $9.2 million to a slate of candidates and committees backing them for federal office. That places him among the nation’s top 25 campaign donors since the start of 2019, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Palmer didn’t respond to messages seeking comment on his support for Trump, and nor did representatives for Ross, Lorber and Witkoff about their shifts in giving.

“President Trump’s policies have made families’ lives better across the country, and voters continue to support him as he continues to deliver for them,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Mandi Merritt said in a statement. “From historic tax cuts to record job growth, Americans of all economic backgrounds are benefiting from the president’s winning policies, and enthusiasm is high as we enter the last few weeks of this election.”

Palmer has made no secret of his tax strategy. In a 2015 interview with trade publication the Planning Report, he boasted that “through the magic of depreciation, we haven’t paid federal taxes for the last 30 years.” Trump, a year later, announced “I love depreciation.”

Still, Trump vowed during his 2016 campaign to use his knowledge of taxes to make the system fairer for average Americans. That August, he said that would mean ending “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors and for people like me.” He said his tax plan would cut income taxes for everyone, especially middle-income Americans, but that “the rich will pay their fair share.”

Using depreciation to erase tax bills is a long-established practice in real estate investing. The tax code assumes structures such as offices and apartments lose some of their value every year they’re in use. Writedowns on that wear and tear can erase taxes on cash generated by a property, even if it gains market value during the period of investment, which has been the general long-term trend in many parts of the country.

Avoiding Taxes

Trump has used depreciation and other strategies to avoid paying income taxes for most of the past two decades, the New York Times reported last week. He paid only $750 the year he was elected president, and the same amount again his first year in office in 2017. Trump has broadly disputed the Times’s reporting but hasn’t specified how much he paid.

“I don’t want to pay tax,” Trump said at last week’s debate with Biden. “Like every other private person, unless they’re stupid, they go through the laws, and that’s what it is.”

How key players in the real estate industry have fared under Trump depends largely on where they do business. Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul, for example, capped the amount of state and local taxes that households can deduct from their federal income taxes and “appreciably harmed” New York, said Chris Mayer, a real estate professor at Columbia Business School. Still, developers have gained new benefits, including opportunity zones meant to reward investments in poor communities, said Mayer.

Perhaps most importantly, Trump didn’t disrupt strategies that property investors rely on most. “The real estate industry has enjoyed a lot of tax benefit for years,” Mayer said. “Even as Trump has changed other things, those benefits have largely remained intact.”

‘A Lot of Bad’

In other key areas Trump hasn’t delivered things property investors wanted. He didn’t make good on pledges for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, and he’s withheld funds for New York’s $30 billion Gateway Rail Project. Such projects can benefit property investors by reinvigorating communities and opening up new areas for growth. The Trump administration is now playing hardball with Democrats who want to rescue strapped local and state governments hit hard by the pandemic.

In an August interview with the New York Times, Ross said he hosted a 2019 fundraiser for Trump because he was hoping to win more federal money for New York state. “I’ve known President Trump for a long time. I’ve known him and I’ve liked him. I don’t agree with a lot of his policies. I believe there’s a lot of good, and I believe there’s a lot of bad.”

He told the publication that he hadn’t decided whether he’d vote for Trump this November.

Biden Opens Up 12-Point Lead Over Trump in Post/ABC Poll

President Donald Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden by 12 points in a national poll of likely voters a little more than three weeks before Election Day, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Sunday.

Other surveys, from CBS News, showed Biden up by six points in Nevada and Michigan, and tied with Trump in Iowa, a state the president won easily in 2016.

Biden led the incumbent by 54% to 42% in the national Post/ABC survey, which was conducted Oct. 6-9. The 1,014 adults polled included 879 registered voters and 725 likely voters.

The Democrat’s national margin was wider than his 9.8-point lead over Trump in a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, which includes Sunday’s survey. Biden’s up by an average of 6.7 points in Michigan, 6 points in Nevada, and 1.2 points in Iowa, according to the political website.

The Post/ABC poll found that Trump’s approval rating, at 45%, has changed little in recent months.

Biden’s margins in battleground states are generally narrower than the national figures show, and some states are considered toss-ups, the Washington Post reported.

“No candidate has won an electoral-college majority while losing the popular vote by a margin like Trump’s current deficit,” the newspaper said.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that the ABC News/Washington Post poll had been “a complete disaster” in the previous election and vowed to “have a bigger win than even 2016!”

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
October 11, 2020

In 2016, the ABC News/Washington Post Poll was such a complete disaster that these two Fake News Organizations changed the numbers prior to the Election. Now these haters are trying the same thing, though on a lesser scale, again. Will have a bigger win than even 2016!

Following his coronavirus diagnosis and a week of treatment, including a spell in the hospital, about six in 10 voters believe Trump is healthy enough to carry out his duties as president.

Suburban women favor Biden by a wide margin, 62% to 34%, while suburban men back Trump by 54% to 43%, the poll showed. That gave Biden an overall 53% to 44% in the coveted suburban-voter demographic.

Older voters are split almost evenly, after Trump won older voters in 2016 by between seven and nine points.

Americans overall said they’re prepared to accept the results of the Nov. 3 election whichever way it goes. Biden supporters (83%) were more likely to say that than Trump supporters (74%).

The survey had a margin of error among registered voters of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, and among likely voters of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In its state polls, CBS said a majority of voters in the Michigan, Nevada, and Iowa — all considered battleground states — feel Trump set a bad example during his own recent battle with coronavirus, handling things in a way they termed irresponsible.

Likely voters in Michigan backed Biden over Trump on traits such as how the candidates handle themselves personally, and whether they care about other people. Trump fared best on being considered a strong leader.

Trump, and Republican candidates in general, often have the edge in perception of who would better handle the economy.

Yet voters in Michigan scored Biden and Trump equal on that measure, at 45%, with those in Nevada favoring Trump by a single point. In Iowa, 52% of voters said Trump would better handle the economy, to Biden’s 38%.

Updated: 10-13-2020

Biden Enlists Obama As Closer In Final Stretch Of Campaign Run


Former President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail soon for his former vice president.

Obama To Hit the Campaign Trail Soon For Biden

Former President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail soon for his vice president, according to a person familiar with his plans.

Obama has been active in Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, filming a conversation with him and how-to-vote guides, hosting a virtual fundraiser, giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention and releasing a phone number where Americans can text him.

But Obama, who remains popular with Democratic voters and showed chops at campaigning during his two runs for president, has not been on the stump for Biden as the election much until now.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, Biden said he was happy with what Obama’s done so far.

“He’s doing enough for our campaign and he’ll be out on the trail,” Biden said.

Updated: 10-14-2020

Biden Has 11-Point Lead Over Trump Less Than Three Weeks To Election Day

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of registered voters shows Joe Biden leading the president 53% to 42%.

Joe Biden holds a double-digit lead over President Trump less than three weeks from Election Day, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of registered voters finds.

Mr. Biden is ahead by 11 points in the national survey, 53% to 42%, following a tumultuous few weeks that included Mr. Trump’s nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court; the candidates’ contentious, televised debate and the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis and hospitalization.

The survey finds Mr. Trump rebounding from a 14-point deficit earlier this month in a poll taken immediately after the debate with Mr. Biden, but still in a weaker position than in September, when he trailed the former vice president by 8 points.

The poll holds warning signs for Republicans down-ballot, as well. Democrats came out ahead of Republicans by 8 points when voters were asked which party they planned to support for Congress.

Voters appear to be motivated more by concerns about the direction of the country than their own economic gains.

Some 50% say they are better off than they were four years ago, compared with 34% who say they are worse off. However, 58% say the country is worse off than four years ago, compared with 38% who say it is better off. Moreover, more than 60% of voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The No. 1 election issue among those surveyed was the economy, and voters gave Republicans a 13-point advantage over Democrats as the better economic manager. Yet, the pollsters said voters this election cycle don’t seem to be voting based on that issue alone.

“The economy is the No. 1 issue. People are saying, ‘Yep, I think Trump is better on the economy,’ but he’s still behind,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who also conducted the poll with Democrat Jeff Horwitt.

Mr. McInturff said a recent example of Republicans losing an election while leading with voters on handling the economy was the 2018 midterms, in which Democrats gained enough seats to retake control of the House.

Democrat Peter Hart, who also worked on the survey, said voters were considering more than the economy. More than half of those in the survey said they were concerned that Mr. Trump would divide rather than unite the country. “The 2020 presidential election finds voters looking to heal physically, economically and psychologically,” Mr. Hart said.

In addition to the edge on the economy, there were some other positive signals for Mr. Trump. By 12 percentage points, voters view the Republican Party as better suited to handle crime. Voters split nearly evenly on whether they want a president who would confront and challenge the establishment—a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s style—or someone who would bring competence and compassion.

Pollsters said Mr. Trump’s 88% support among Republicans—compared with Mr. Biden’s 96% support among Democrats—suggested that the president had room to grow his support in the final weeks before the election. Because the election is based on the electoral map and not the popular vote, the president needs to see gains in only a handful of states.

Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who worked on the survey, said that Mr. Trump could pull off another Electoral College victory by drawing new voters to the polls in Michigan, Florida and other swing states, “and it doesn’t take thousands and thousands of people.”

While he tries to build support, Mr. Trump is lagging behind Mr. Biden on likability. In the last two polls, more voters have said they hold a positive view of Mr. Biden than a negative one—for the first time since 2018—though by a single percentage point. By comparison, negative views of Mr. Trump outweigh positive ones by 11 percentage points.

Mr. Biden “has improved his standing over the course of the campaign, which is remarkable given the coarseness of our politics,” Mr. Horwitt said.

Mr. Biden continues to gain with groups that backed Mr. Trump in 2016, such as seniors and white women. At the same time, Mr. Trump’s lead has weakened among some core parts of his base, including white men without college degrees.

A majority of voters are unhappy with the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 41% approve of his handling of Covid-19 in the latest poll, compared with 57% who disapprove.

Regarding his own coronavirus diagnosis, just one-fourth of those surveyed said the president was taking the necessary precautions, while 44% said he was taking unnecessary risks.

The Journal/NBC News survey interviewed 1,000 registered voters from Oct. 9-12. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Among the 1,000 voters, 42% identified themselves as Democrats and 36% as Republicans—a 6-point margin that is consistent with Journal/NBC News polling through the year. Last month’s survey found a 9-point difference, which pollsters said may have been a consequence of polling in the two days following the confrontational presidential debate. The Journal/NBC News pollsters don’t adjust the sample to match a predetermined share of Democrats or Republicans.

Updated: 10-14-2020

Joe Biden Raised $383 Million In September, Breaking Earlier Record

Joe Biden’s campaign has raised nearly $890 million in the past three months.

Campaign says it has $432 million in the bank in the final weeks before Election Day.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden raised $383 million in September, surpassing the record-breaking haul he collected a month earlier in his campaign against President Trump.

Mr. Biden’s fall fundraising will give his team the ability to compete on the broadest general election map against the president and run a large advertising campaign in the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said on Twitter that the campaign had $432 million in the bank. She said $203 million of the money raised during September came from online donors.

Mr. Biden’s campaign raised the money along with joint fundraising committees set up with the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Trump’s campaign hasn’t yet released its fundraising totals for September.

Mr. Biden brought in a then-monthly record of $364.5 million in August, helped by the party’s summer convention and selection of Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) as Mr. Biden’s running mate. That eclipsed Barack Obama’s record of more than $190 million in September 2008.

In all, Mr. Biden’s campaign has raised nearly $890 million in the past three months.

Updated: 10-18-2020

Democrats Tap ‘Fundraging’ To Garner Hundreds of Millions For Campaigns

Party is drawing on heightened emotions to boost contributions to unprecedented levels.

Eileen Dorn said her husband donates to Democratic South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison whenever GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham says something that irritates them. “It’s getting expensive,” she said.

Mike Dorsam read that President Trump paid $750 in federal taxes two years in a row, took out his phone and decided a $7.50 contribution to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seemed about right.

Think of it as “fundraging”—the term some political strategists are using to describe how Democrats have tapped into heightened emotions to boost campaign donations to unprecedented levels this year.

“ ‘Fundraging’ very neatly summarizes low-dollar donor behavior, the collision of emotion and giving,” said Patrick Ruffini, a Republican pollster and digital strategist.

Across the 14 most-competitive Senate races, Democrats collectively raised nearly $200 million more than their Republican counterparts in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed Thursday.

Leading the pack was Mr. Harrison, who collected $58 million for the quarter, beating the previous quarterly Senate fundraising record by about $20 million. Mr. Graham, who has been vocal about his challenger’s formidable cash hauls, raised $28 million, the most ever for a Republican Senate candidate. Neither campaign responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Biden said Wednesday that his election effort raised $383 million in September, setting a new presidential fundraising record for a second consecutive month. That is 54% more than the $248 million Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said it raised.

Democratic donors are also showering cash on House campaigns, the new FEC filings show. The party’s candidates in all but five of the 25 races rated as tossups by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report outraised the Republicans. In Texas, Wendy Davis, one of the Democrats’ best House candidates in fundraising, more than doubled Republican Rep. Chip Roy’s $1.6 million third-quarter total.

Carolyn Campe, a retired lawyer in Boca Raton, Fla., had never made a campaign contribution until this election, records show. Now she has donated more than 6,000 times, often just a buck or two, to dozens of Democrats.

“I am so anxious to get rid of President Trump that I would do almost anything,” she said. “This is an emergency. It’s truly frightful. I just sit here and read the news and the political emails and donate, donate, donate.”

There are signs that GOP candidates also see their fundraising fortunes rise when tempers flare. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $117 million over several months in a “Stop the Madness” impeachment-inspired fundraising drive.

Lacy Johnson, a Republican, raised more than $6 million during the third quarter for his challenge to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a member of the liberal “Squad” who has drawn frequent GOP criticism. Mr. Johnson is a long shot in a heavily Democratic area.

But small online donations have flowed more to Democrats than Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP heavyweights have been sounding alarms for months about Democratic fundraising. Mr. McConnell has complained that Republicans are outmatched by Democrats’ online-payment processor ActBlue.

The GOP started a version last year called WinRed, and it was quickly adopted by Mr. Trump and most Senate and House candidates. The platform helped Republicans raise about $672 million over the three months ended in September, less than half of what ActBlue processed for Democrats in the same period.

Democratic donors have been mobilized by headline-making events such as the death last month of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the debates.

Ms. Dorn, a retired preschool teacher in Los Angeles, said she “rage-gave” $15 to Mr. Biden’s campaign after she said Vice President Mike Pence talked over Sen. Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden’s running mate, during their debate. She also bought one of the 35,000 fly swatters the Biden campaign sold after a fly perched atop Mr. Pence’s head for more than two minutes during the debate. Ms. Dorn said she wanted to help run up the fundraising total as a way to send a message to Republicans.

Mr. Dorsam, a public-school teacher in Illinois, said that in addition to giving to Mr. Biden, he has been donating mostly in $5 increments to a half-dozen Democratic Senate candidates across the country. He said he is incensed by Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and thinks that elected Republicans “have done nothing to counter his reckless actions.”

Mr. Ruffini, the Republican pollster, said the Democrats’ small-donor fundraising success—and woes in his own party—can’t be attributed solely to technology.

or several elections, Democrats have hammered home the importance of contributing small amounts in a way that Republicans haven’t, strategists in both parties said. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fueled two presidential campaigns by urging supporters to give $27, imprinting the small-donor ethos on the entire party. Mr. Trump stands out among Republicans for his campaign’s ability to attract small donors.

Ms. Campe said she gives frequently to Democrats because she views Republicans as having “big, professional donors to help them. Democrats need us.”

Democrats such as New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spread the word to millions of social-media followers about one-click lists on ActBlue that enable a donor to split giving between candidates in some of the country’s most important races. The “Get Mitch or Die Trying” ActBlue page created by the liberal group Crooked Media has channeled more than $30 million to Senate battlegrounds, according to the group’s website.

“ ‘Fundraging’ reflects the daily indignities of living in Trump’s America,” the progressive digital strategist Travis Mockler said. Especially with the coronavirus pandemic limiting political engagement such as knocking on doors and attending events, he said, donating has become the go-to outlet for Democrats who want to engage in politics.

Updated: 10-19-2020

Trump Attempts A Positive Spin On Fundraising Deficit To Biden

President Donald Trump is trying to put a positive spin on Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s wide fundraising advantage weeks before the election, telling supporters that he could raise money quickly if he needed to but he doesn’t want to be beholden to donors.

Trump’s campaign, long a fundraising juggernaut that touted its success as a sign of voter enthusiasm, has been eclipsed in recent months. Trump acknowledged the gap on the campaign trail Saturday.

“Biden is raising a lot of money because they’re promising all these things to all these people,” the president said at a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday.

“I could have more money. The problem is, if you do that, when they call you in two months, three months, four months because they need something, you’ve got to take their call and you’ve got to do it,” he said.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee raised a combined $247.8 million in September, their best month in the campaign but well short of the record $383 million raised by Biden last month.

The September haul left the Biden campaign with $432 million in the bank at the end of last month, compared with $251.4 million for the Trump team. Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said Friday that he was on track to raise another $234 million before Election Day.

Trump has maintained close ties with big Republican donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, who have donated $75 million to a pro-Trump super-PAC.

Still, Trump downplayed the gap with Biden. “I would be the greatest fund-raiser in the history of politics, but if you don’t mind, we don’t need the money and we won’t do it that way,” he said in Wisconsin.

The Biden camp’s affluence is a reversal from April, when Trump enjoyed a huge lead in cash, with $255 million in the bank compared to $98 million for Biden and the DNC. But the unprecedented back-to-back months in August and September put the Democrat far ahead.

Updated: 10-20-2020

Trump Is Having Difficulty Getting Contributions From His Existing Base!!!!

President Donald Trump’s campaign found it harder to raise money from small-dollar donors in the final months before the election, spending 77 cents of each dollar it received in the third quarter on future fundraising efforts, according to federal disclosures that highlighted the funding gap with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Spending by the campaign’s grassroots fundraising arm, Trump Make America Great Again, to pursue small donors was far higher than throughout his re-election campaign, when it spent 47 cents per dollar raised.

Over the last three months, TMAGA paid $181 million of the $235.7 million it raised from small donors to vendors for more fundraising expenses, the organization’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission shows.

The need to reinvest such a high percentage of donations into raising even more money suggests that Trump is having difficulty getting contributions from his existing base and so is working to expand his reach to other small-dollar donors.

No other presidential campaign sets up a separate fundraising arm for grassroots donations, so a comparison to other campaigns is difficult. But TMAGA had more success not only in 2016, but earlier this year. In 2016, TMAGA spent 37 cents for every dollar it raised, and in the last 18 months, it spent on average 47 cents for every dollar it raised. The third-quarter numbers show a sharp drop in return on investment for fundraising spending.

After a string of good fundraising months in the spring and summer, Trump’s campaign saw its total receipts drop to $61.8 million in August, down $10.3 million from the previous month. Transfers from Trump MAGA to the campaign, which made up more than half of its fundraising in July, fell to $11.8 million.

As Labor Day approached, the committee spent even more on raising money from small-dollar donors, a tactic that is more expensive per dollar than courting big donors. In the month of September alone, Trump MAGA spent $71.6 million on fundraising while sending just $9.2 million to Trump’s campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump scaled back some television advertising and even abandoned advertising in the key states of Pennsylvania and Michigan for a period. The campaign announced Thursday that his re-election effort raised $247.8 million in September.

Conversely, Biden and the Democratic National Committee are flush with cash. The campaign and the DNC raised $748 million in August and September alone, about $290 million more than Trump over the same period. Biden started October with $432 million in the bank while Trump had $251.4 million.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to questions about the high rate of spending compared to fundraising for the small-donor group.

Trump is being forced to play catch up in fundraising at the same time he is trying to play catch up in the polls. Consistently behind Biden in national surveys, he is now down 8.9 percentage points down in the RealClearPolitics polling average and behind but by narrower margins in key battleground states just two weeks before Election Day.

On Saturday, he dismissed the fundraising deficit as part of a strategy to avoid being beholden to big donors.

“Biden is raising a lot of money because they’re promising all these things to all these people,” the president said at a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday. “I could have more money. The problem is, if you do that, when they call you in two months, three months, four months because they need something, you’ve got to take their call and you’ve got to do it,” he said.

Trump Make America Great Again was the cash cow for the campaign in 2016, bringing in money from small donors buying up Make American Great hats and bumper stickers. Operating expenditures were about 37% of total revenue in the third quarter of 2016 compared to this year’s 77%.

This year, most of TMAGA’s spending went to American Made Media Consultants, LLC, a company that works solely for the campaign as a middle man to hire other vendors.

The campaign declined to say who runs AMMC and its murky reporting was the subject of a July complaint by the Campaign Legal Center. At the time, campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the group “builds efficiencies and saves the campaign money by providing these in-house services that otherwise would be done by outside vendors.”

The campaign paid AMMC $112 million in the third quarter, more than 10 times as much as the next biggest vendor, WinRed Technical Services LLC, which received $11.2 million to process contributions to Republican candidates and causes.

AMMC spent some $98.3 million in 2020 on digital ads seeking donations. It also paid $23 million to get people’s online contact information, a move designed to beef up Trump’s list of supporters who he has repeatedly been asking for money for four years.

Republican strategist Bryan Lanza, who served as deputy communications director of Trump’s 2016 campaign, said late spending on fundraising could double as voter outreach. Financial return on investment isn’t the only metric at this point in the race, he said.

“You’re burning through a lot of cash, but you’re also getting people to buy into your campaign,” he said, adding that identifying voters, getting them involved and turning them out is the goal. “It looks challenging but you got to understand that the whole point of a political campaign is to be bankrupted on Election Day. It is normal for the spending to increase exponentially the closer you get to election because you don’t want to sit on money.”

Trump has a different fundraising arm that collects money from big donors, but most of that money goes to Republican Party committees because the donations are larger than the legal limit for the campaign.

That arm, Trump Victory also transfered a small portion of the $119.5 million it raised in the third quarter to the campaign. Contributors included real estate developer Geoff Palmer, who gave $765,000, GOP mega donor Richard Uihlein, who gave $580,000, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts gave $315,000 and his wife Marlene Ricketts gave $300,000.

Updated: 10-20-2020

Trump Campaign Burned Through Almost Half Its Cash in September

President Donald Trump’s campaign burned through almost half of its cash in September, as his re-election effort cut back on advertising in some key battleground states and he lags in the polls behind his much better-funded Democratic adversary, Joe Biden.

The latest filing with the Federal Election Commission showed that Trump entered the final 34 days of the presidential election with $63.1 million in the bank, down from $121.1 million at the end of August, when his campaign began to scale back some television spending and even abandoned advertising in the key states of Pennsylvania and Michigan for a period.

Trump’s campaign committee raised $83.1 million in September while spending $139.3 million, the filings showed.

The campaign announced Thursday that his broader re-election effort, which includes the Republican National Committee and two joint fundraising committees, raised $247.8 million in September, but much of that money was earmarked for the RNC and state parties.

The September haul further puts Trump at a disadvantage with Biden and the Democratic National Committee, which raised $383 million in the month and say they have $432 million in the bank. The campaign and the DNC raised $748 million in August and September alone, about $290 million more than Trump over the same period. Biden’s campaign is to report its financial information to the FEC Tuesday.

Trump is being forced to play catch-up in fundraising at the same time he remains consistently behind Biden in national surveys. The president is now down 8.6 percentage points down in the RealClearPolitics polling average and behind, but by narrower margins, in key battleground states just two weeks before Election Day.

Small-dollar donors, those giving less than $200, provided 26% of the $68.4 million donated directly to the Trump campaign, though the president also raises money from them through the Trump Make America Great Again Committee.

In July, the last month that Trump out-raised Biden, the $36.5 million that the committee transferred accounted for about half the campaign’s total receipts. But over the quarter, as the costs of raising money from grassroots donors increased, the amount of the transfers fell to $9.2 million in September. Overall in the third quarter, the committee spent $181 million to raise $235.7 million, or 77 cents for each dollar raised.

The high fundraising costs, which mostly went to digital advertising and acquiring lists of online contact information for potential donors, starved the campaign of needed cash. Under Federal Communications Commission rules, candidates get the lowest available rate for television ads within 60 days of an election. Biden’s campaign has booked $162 million in television ad time from Oct. 1 through the election, according to Advertising Analytics, while Trump has booked $79 million.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to questions about the high rate of spending compared to fundraising for the small-donor group.

The Republican National Committee, which is helping with Trump’s voter mobilization efforts, raised $71.8 million in September, spent $108.6 million and ended September with $78.1 million cash on hand, its FEC filing shows.

Updated: 10-20-2020

Biden Enters Last Stretch With $114 Million Cash Edge Over Trump

Joe Biden’s campaign entered October with a war chest that was almost three times larger than President Donald Trump’s, solidifying the Democratic nominee’s advantage in the final weeks of the campaign.

The campaigns’ latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show that Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of last month. By contrast, despite cutting expenses by pulling back on planned advertising buys starting in late August, Trump burned through almost half his cash in September, ending the month with $63.1 million.

After enjoying a financial edge for much of the race, Trump is being forced to play catch-up in fundraising at the same time he remains consistently behind Biden in national surveys. The president is now down 8.6 percentage points down in the RealClearPolitics polling average and behind, but by narrower margins, in key battleground states just two weeks before Election Day, Nov. 3.

The filings show that Biden’s campaign raised $281.6 million in September while spending $285 million, more than twice as much Trump.

Trump’s campaign committee raised $83.1 million in September while spending $139.3 million, the filings showed.

Trump’s broader re-election effort, which includes the Republican National Committee and two joint fundraising committees, raised $247.8 million in September. Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $383 million in the month and say they have $432 million in the bank compared to $251.6 million for Trump’s re-election committees.

Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $748 million in August and September alone, about $290 million more than Trump over the same period. The Democratic nominee’s campaign said Friday that it’s on track to raise another $234 million before Election Day.

If the estimate holds true, Biden and the DNC would have raised more than $982 million in the final three months before the Nov. 3 election, surpassing the $942 million that President Barack Obama took in for his 2008 campaign.

It’s a huge turnaround for Biden and the DNC. In April, they had just $98 million in the bank compared to $255 million for Trump’s re-election effort.

The extra money has allowed Biden to dominate the airwaves in the final weeks of the race. Under Federal Communications Commission rules, candidates get the lowest available rate for television ads within 60 days of an election. Biden’s campaign has booked $162 million in television ad time from Oct. 1 through the election, according to Advertising Analytics, while Trump has booked $79 million.

Small-dollar donors, those giving less than $200, provided 26% of the $68.4 million donated directly to the Trump campaign, though the president also raises money from them through the Trump Make America Great Again Committee.

In July, the last month that Trump out-raised Biden, the $36.5 million that the committee transferred accounted for about half the campaign’s total receipts. But over the quarter, as the costs of raising money from grassroots donors increased, the amount of the transfers fell to $9.2 million in September. Overall in the third quarter, the committee spent $181 million to raise $235.7 million, or 77 cents for each dollar raised.

The high fundraising costs, which mostly went to digital advertising and acquiring lists of online contact information for potential donors, starved the campaign of needed cash.

The RNC, which is helping with Trump’s voter mobilization efforts, raised $71.8 million in September, spent $108.6 million and ended September with $78.1 million cash on hand, its FEC filing shows.

The DNC raised $76 million, spent $62.8 million, and had $98.2 million cash on hand.

And though presidential campaigns normally begin deficit spending once they enter the final months of the campaign, burning through through their war chests as they take to the airwaves, Biden’s September splurge left him with just $3.4 million less in the bank than he had at the beginning of the month.

Updated: 10-25-2020

Expensify CEO Emails 10 Million Customers Urging Them To Vote For Biden

There was intense debate within the company over whether to send the message, says David Barrett, the CEO.
Silicon Valley companies are loudly divided over whether politics belongs in the workplace.

On Thursday, one of the largest providers of expense account software sent a plea to all of its customers urging them to vote for Joe Biden, injecting politics into 100,000 businesses that use Expensify Inc.’s tools.

The plan incited strong debate within the San Francisco-based company, and some employees disagreed with the gesture, said David Barrett, the chief executive officer. But he pressed ahead and sent the Biden email to all 10 million people who use Expensify software, he said.

“We needed to stand true for what we believe in and hope that most people agree with us,” Barrett said in an interview. “It’s not like we did this with a lot of enthusiasm. We did this out of a perceived necessity.”

In the email to customers, Barrett wrote, “Anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.” If President Donald Trump were reelected, Barrett wrote, it would “damage our democracy to such an extent, I’m obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it.”

Barrett suggested a Trump victory would stoke civil unrest. “Not many expense reports get filed during a civil war.” Technology news website Protocol earlier reported on the email.

Tech workers have made political activism a common part of office life in Silicon Valley over the last few years. But in recent weeks, a counter-movement has emerged from startup executives led by Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase Inc., which operates an online exchange for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Armstrong said last month that Coinbase employees would be barred from advocating for any causes or candidates and offered severance packages to those who refused. About 60 workers took the buyout.

Armstrong’s stance drew support from some in the tech world, as well as sharp rebukes from the likes of Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo, the current and former CEOs of Twitter Inc. The move by Coinbase, according to Barrett, was “just very cowardly.”

“All evil needs is for good people to stand aside,” Barrett said. “Not standing for anything means you’re standing for the status quo.” His actions may strengthen a widely held view among many Republicans of an anti-conservative bias within tech companies.

Barrett, a Michigan native, started Expensify in 2008. The company competes with SAP SE’s Concur, the largest corporate travel and expense provider. Expensify is backed by Redpoint Ventures and other venture capital firms.

Earlier this year, Expensify joined a corporate show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement by blacking out its homepage. Many customers backed the gesture, Barrett said, but some threatened to take their business elsewhere. “Some people do leave,” he said. “Most don’t.”

When Barrett proposed sending the email in support of Biden to Expensify employees, some challenged assertions in his draft and offered their own fact checks in the company’s Slack chatroom. Workers also raised concerns about the repercussions for the business. Barrett recalled the discussion going like this: “We have 100,000 customers. How many of those are just going to freak out about this? How many of our users are going to be upset?”

In the first few hours after the email went out, the company received a mix of positive and negative feedback from customers, Barrett said. So far, he said, none of his employees have quit over it.

Updated: 09-13-2020

Billionaire Bloomberg To Spend $100 Million In Florida To Help Biden

Michael Bloomberg, who spent $1 billion of his own money on a failed 2020 presidential bid, will inject at least $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign against President Donald Trump in Florida.

The billionaire’s decision comes at a critical moment in the final 51 days of the race, with polls showing a close race in the battleground state and no financial advantage for the sitting president as voting gets under way later this month.

Trump’s initial financial supremacy over former Vice President Biden evaporated after the Republican’s campaign spent freely and Democratic fundraising surged once the party’s divisive primary ended.

“Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states,” said Bloomberg adviser Kevin Sheekey, who added that the ex-New York City mayor’s spending “will mean Democrats and the Biden campaign can invest even more heavily in other key states like Pennsylvania, which will be critical to a Biden victory.”

Even before Bloomberg’s spending, both campaigns were expecting Florida to be the most expensive state in which to campaign. It will be the biggest prize among competitive states on Election Day, offering 29 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.

In-state voting by mail in Florida starts on Sept. 24, and Biden is planning his first in-person visit to Florida of the general election season on Tuesday.

Trump won the state by 113,000 votes in his victorious 2016 election, or 1.2 percentage points. He has since adopted the state as his residence and visits regularly.

Recent polls have shown Biden with a very slim margin there, gaining ground with older voters but trailing previous Democrats’ performance with Latinos. People over 65 years old make up one in five of the state’s population and Latinos make up one in four.

Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee on Wednesday said they raised a combined $210 million in August, falling far short of Biden’s record-breaking haul of $364.5 million for the month that included both party’s televised conventions.

The strong fundraising may have allowed Biden to completely erase a long deficit in fundraising against Trump. Before the August fundraising tally, the Trump campaign reported having $300 million in cash on hand, compared with Biden’s $294 million. Neither campaign has reported a more recent figure. The figures also do not include money being spent by outside groups.

The candidates have already booked $58 million in advertisements to run between last Tuesday and the Nov. 3 election, more than any other single state, according to Advertising Analytics LLC, a market data firm.

The Republican president, who trails Biden in national opinion polls, told reporters last week that he would spend money from his own real-estate and brand-licensing fortune, if needed.

“I thought Mini Mike was through with Democrat politics,” Trump said on Twitter on Sunday. “Save NYC instead.”

Democrats had worried that Bloomberg’s promised help for the party might not come through after he abandoned his own presidential primary campaign. Some were angered by Bloomberg’s getting a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic convention in August and said that his spending to date did little to advance his candidacy or the party’s chances.

A Bloomberg aide said the money would be used to help bring people to the polls who support Biden and communicating with Latino voters, in particular.

“This will force Republicans and the Trump campaign to shift even more of their limited resources to Florida,” the aide said.

Bloomberg won’t be the only outside actor pouring money into the race. America First Action Inc, a group that supports Trump, said last week that it would spend $12.7 million on new ads in Florida targeting Biden.

Unite the Country Inc, a similar group backing Biden, said last week that it is rolling out $1.4 million in targeted digital advertising aimed at persuading Latino voters in South Florida.

Updated: 10-25-2020

Biden Has Increased His Fundraising Advantage Over Trump In October

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign raised $130 million in the first two weeks of October alone and entered the last stretch of the presidential race with $118 million more in the bank than President Donald Trump, allowing him to dominate the airwaves in battleground states just as voters are casting their ballots.

And Biden is spending the money at a steady clip as Election Day approaches. Biden’s campaign spent $145 million in the first two weeks of October, or about $10.4 million a day, more than twice what Trump’s campaign spent over the same period, at $63.1 million.

Overall, Biden, the Democratic National Committee and two fundraising committees raised $162.6 million according to their latest filings with Federal Election Commission, while Trump’s re-election effort raised $108 million. Biden’s campaign had $162 million in the bank compared to $43.6 million for Trump.

Trump is being forced to play catch-up in fundraising at the same time he remains consistently behind Biden in national surveys. The president is now down 7.9 percentage points down in the RealClearPolitics polling average and behind, but by narrower margins, in key battleground states less than two weeks before Election Day.

Biden is using the funds to saturate the key states with television ads. His campaign has booked $172 million of television time from Oct. 1 through Election Day compared to $68 million for Trump.

Over the same two weeks, Trump’s campaign took in $43.5 million. Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which raises money from Trump’s grassroots supporters, raised $36 million, but paid out $32 million, or 89 cents of every dollar contributed, to pay expenses.

The committee had $25 million cash on hand on Oct. 14. That cost is up from the 77 cents it cost the group to raise a dollar in the third quarter.

Overall, Trump, the RNC and its supporting committees reported $223.6 million in the bank. Trump Victory, which raises money from bigger donors for the president’s campaign, the RNC and state party committees, had the largest total, some $81.5 million. Like TMAGA, Trump Victory made no transfers to Trump’s campaign or the RNC, instead dividing $19.8 million among 25 state party committees.

Biden took in an average of $9.3 million a day over the first two weeks of October, putting his team on track to easily top the $234 million his campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said it would raise before the election. The Democratic nominee already had enough money in the bank in mid-October to spend more than $8 million a day.

The disclosures, filed with the FEC Thursday, are the last detailed reports that campaigns and committees will file before Election Day.

Updated: 10-26-2020

The Two Americas Financing The Trump And Biden Campaigns

Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States, running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but two days in the last two months, according to a New York Times analysis of $1.8 billion donated by 7.6 million people since April.

The data reveals, for the first time, not only when Mr. Biden decisively overtook Mr. Trump in the money race — it happened the day Senator Kamala Harris joined the ticket — but also what corners of the country, geographically and demographically, powered his remarkable surge.

The findings paint a portrait of two candidates who are, in many ways, financing their campaigns from two different Americas.

It is not just that much of Mr. Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts, which it does. Or that Mr. Trump’s financial base is in Texas, which it is. It is that across the country, down to the ZIP code level, some of the same cleavages that are driving the 2020 election — along class and education lines — are also fundamentally reshaping how the two parties pay for their campaigns.

For years, affluent and college-educated voters, mostly white, had been the base of the Republican Party. Exit polls showed Republicans winning college graduates nationally from 1988 to 2004, and again in 2012. Voters who earned at least $100,000 have historically sided with most Republican presidential candidates by comfortable margins, too.

But under Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees, who polls show have been repelled by his embrace of a politics of cultural division and racial grievance.

The fund-raising data suggests that erosion is not only harming the party’s electoral prospects but also its economic bottom line.

Mr. Trump lost the money race in 2016, too, but he mobilized a base of white working-class voters then that offset his losses among college-educated voters. Now he is trying to leverage the powers of incumbency to do that to an even greater degree. But win or lose, Mr. Trump has accelerated a political realignment.

In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge. In the rest of the country, the two were knotted closely together.

It was a similar story in the most educated pockets of the country, only even more pronounced.

Of the ZIP codes where at least 65 percent of people had graduated from college — just over 1,000 out of nearly 32,000 populated ZIP codes that reported donations — Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump $478 million to $104 million. Below that education level, Mr. Trump was ahead by nearly $40 million.

“Alienating white college-educated voters means more than just losing their votes; it’s also literally costing them money,” said Amy Walter, the national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “These are the kinds of places that, not that long ago, hosted high-dollar fund-raisers exclusively for G.O.P. candidates. Now, those donors are sitting in their living rooms, tapping out donations to Democrats around the country via their smartphones.”

The analysis looked at more than 25 million donations from April 1 to Oct. 14, merging Federal Election Commission filings from the campaigns of Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, their joint operations with the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee, and data from the donation-processing sites WinRed and ActBlue.

The analysis does not include direct donations to the parties themselves, but it covers more than 90 percent of contributions to Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden and the committees directly linked to them, from $1 gifts to checks of more than $700,000. The average donation to those committees was $71 for Mr. Trump and $76 for Mr. Biden.

Over all, Mr. Biden raised $1.07 billion and Mr. Trump $734 million over the last six months in the 32,000 populated ZIP codes, the analysis shows.

The period analyzed is not a perfect snapshot. Mr. Trump was seeking money from donors, including in wealthy enclaves, in the months before Mr. Biden first emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee. But during the six months in which the choice was between these two men, the disparity was yawning.

‘Disposable Income And Deep Antipathy’

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who studies demographic trends, said “the donations mirror voting patterns,” as white voters with college degrees have swung sharply toward the Democrats in the last decade, with the trend expected to accelerate further in 2020 with Mr. Trump on the ticket.

“It makes perfect sense,” Mr. Ayres said of the donation data. “Basically, Republicans have traded larger, more upscale, fast-growing suburban counties for smaller, down-scale, slower-growing rural counties. That’s not a promising trend for future victories.”

In Georgia, the data shows that many of the suburban ZIP codes surrounding Atlanta, which are helping turn the state into a true presidential battleground for the first time in decades, are solidly Democratic when it comes to the number of donors, all the way deep into Gwinnett County, a swing county trending Democratic.

In Pennsylvania, the vote-rich suburbs outside Philadelphia are overwhelmingly blue, with virtually every ZIP code counting more Biden donors than Trump ones, including in Bucks County, where Mr. Biden campaigned on Saturday and where Mrs. Clinton won by less than one percentage point four years ago.

And in Virginia, the demographic march of the suburbs and exurbs outside Washington, D.C., that have turned the state reliably Democratic is apparent in the Biden-leaning ZIP codes for donors that stretch nearly to the West Virginia border.

These political and fund-raising trends underscore the jeopardy that Mr. Trump has created for himself and his party: Rather than enjoying the usual advantages of incumbency, the president is struggling to stanch the bleeding for the G.O.P. in the suburbs.

His conduct, rhetoric and record are imperiling some traditionally red Senate and House seats because of the realignment of college-educated voters toward moderate Democrats emphasizing issues like health care and economic growth.

“These voters with lots of disposable income and deep antipathy to Trump can channel their frustration into Biden’s campaign coffers,” said Ms. Walter of the Cook Political Report.

The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1 million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4 million.

Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said the shift of more educated voters toward her party was a boost “in the short term,” especially financially.

“To have people with more resources to be able to give — and not just once, but over and over again in lots of different places — it creates an advantage for Democrats,” Ms. Greenberg said, citing the online culture of donating to multiple candidates that has lifted once-obscure Senate Democratic candidates.

Of course, neither party wants to be seen chiefly as the champion of the well-to-do. Mr. Biden has emphasized his blue-collar roots and upbringing in Scranton, Pa. Mr. Trump, after falling behind in the money chase, has attacked Mr. Biden as beholden to the donor class. “Joe, you have raised a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money,” Mr. Trump said in last week’s debate. “And every time you raise money, deals are made, Joe.”

Ms. Greenberg said there were risks if her party fell out of touch with the values of the working class, both white and nonwhite. “About 60 percent of this country is still without a college degree,” she noted.

A Pivotal Turning Point

For months, after Mr. Biden had emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee, he and Mr. Trump competed closely for donations, despite the president’s three-year head start. But that all changed on Aug. 11, when Mr. Biden named Ms. Harris as his running mate.

That day, Mr. Biden raised five times as much as Mr. Trump and nearly repeated that margin the day after. In the 65 days from the formation of the Biden-Harris team until Oct. 14, that Democratic team outraised Mr. Trump on 63 of them, according to the data.

The only two exceptions were the night of Mr. Trump’s convention speech, when Republican giving surged, and the day after his hospitalization with the coronavirus, when Democratic giving waned.

In those 65 days, Mr. Biden built a financial advantage of more than $300 million.

All told, the 2020 donation data shows that 28 states donated more to Mr. Trump, compared to 22 supporting Mr. Biden in the last six months. But the national map of donation data still appears red because Democratic dollars — like Democratic votes — are far more concentrated in denser and wealthier parts of the country.

The most lopsided state in Mr. Biden’s favor is Massachusetts, with more than five times as much money, $55.7 million, going to the Democrats than the Republicans. The most Republican-leaning state for donations was Mississippi, with nearly four times as much money, $4.9 million, going to Mr. Trump.

In terms of dollars, Mr. Trump’s greatest edge came from Texas (he netted $48.3 million more there than Mr. Biden), while Mr. Biden’s came from California ($167.3 million more than Mr. Trump).

In fact, Mr. Biden’s entire financial edge can be accounted for through just four states: California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

And within those and other blue states, Mr. Biden’s hauls are particularly concentrated in big cities and suburbs. One Upper West Side ZIP code — 10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in every state other than California.

One of the most closely divided states in terms of cash given also happens to be one of the most heavily contested battlegrounds, North Carolina, that could determine both the presidency and control of the Senate. There, Mr. Biden’s $18.9 million narrowly edged out Mr. Trump’s $17.9 million.

Updated: 10-29-2020

Trump Pulls Some Florida Ads As Campaign Enters Final Week, Report Claims

US President Donald has pulled a portion of his advertising in Florida as he focuses his remaining campaign funds on four US states, namely Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, during the final week of the 2020 presidential election season.

According to a report by Bloomberg, which analyzed data from ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics, the president still has $350,275 budgeted to spend on ads in Florida through Election Day, but has canceled $5.5 million worth of ad spending in the Sunshine State in the last two weeks of the campaign.

Since Labor Day, Trump has also cut $24 million from his national ad budget; however, unlike the president, Democratic challenger Joe Biden has added $197 million since Labor Day, spending three times as much as Trump on ads since early September.

“You have to have a ground game. Joe Biden does not have one. The president does,” Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump reelection campaign, said in a Tuesday call with reporters, Bloomberg reported.

“That’s why you saw the president close the gap in Florida.”

According to Bloomberg, around 312,000 more registered Republicans have voted in person in Florida than registered Democrats in the last week. “Florida is going to go the president’s way,” Murtaugh noted. However, Democrats lead mail-in voting in the state by 615,000.

Biden, on the other hand, has budgeted $8.3 million in Florida, $7.1 million in Pennsylvania, $5.3 million in Michigan and $4.9 million in North Carolina for ads through Election Day, outspending Trump in every battleground state except for Minnesota and Ohio.

According to a report by Forbes, the Biden campaign had raised $822.2 million as of September 30, compared to Trump’s $557.8 million.

Records obtained by Forbes also show that while Trump poured tens of millions of dollars into his 2016 campaign, he has not donated any money whatsoever into his reelection bid.

“The Trump campaign has all the resources we need going into the home stretch of this election. We’re running a comprehensive campaign that incorporates our massive ground game, travel to key states, and ads on digital, TV, and radio,” Samantha Zager, the Trump campaign’s deputy national secretary, said in a statement obtained by Forbes.

However, hours after Bloomberg’s article was published, Murtaugh issued a fresh statement on the piece, bashing the outlet for misusing quotes he’d given “on another topic,” and stating that the Republican National Committee was footing some of the ad costs.

“The Bloomberg story is horribly wrong and should never have been written,” he wrote, adding that the campaign “is up with a seven figure buy in Florida on broadcast TV alone.”

“This is sloppy reporting at the highest level,” Murtaugh concluded.

Updated: 11-1-2020

President Trump Trails Joe Biden By 10 Points Nationally In Final Days Of Election

Biden leads, 52% to 42%, among registered voters in national WSJ/NBC News poll; race in battleground states is narrowing.

President Trump trails by 10 percentage points among voters nationally in the final days of his re-election campaign, facing substantial public anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic but with broad approval of his management of the economy, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Mr. Trump, 52% to 42%, in the poll’s final reading of voter opinion before Election Day, essentially unchanged from Mr. Biden’s 11-point advantage in mid-October. In particular, women and seniors have turned against the president, the poll finds, with both groups favoring Mr. Biden by double-digit margins.

However, the survey finds the race tightening when the landscape is narrowed to a set of 12 battleground states. Mr. Biden holds a 6-point lead across those states, 51% to 45%, compared with a 10-point lead last month.

Mr. Biden’s advantage in swing states is within the poll’s margin of error and corresponds with the many swing-state surveys that show close races and a potential path for Mr. Trump to build an Electoral College majority without winning the national popular vote, as he did in 2016.

“This election is probably the most competitive 10-point race I’ve seen,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt. Mr. Trump’s support remains strong among his base of largely working-class, white voters, who are plentiful in the swing states.

While Mr. Biden holds large leads among people who have voted early or plan to, Mr. Trump holds a big lead among those who say they will vote on Election Day, the poll finds. Mr. Trump’s hopes for victory rest in large part on efforts by the Republican National Committee to register swing-state voters who back Mr. Trump, and whose presence will be seen more on Election Day than in early balloting, Mr. McInturff said.

“The RNC has spent how many millions of dollars, and the only thing they’ve focused on is turnout of noncollege, white voters, especially in about six states,” he said. Mr. McInturff said the party’s efforts raised the potential that Mr. Trump has changed the electorate in his favor, much like former President George W. Bush did in 2004 by drawing more religious conservatives to the polls.

Mr. Horwitt said that Mr. Trump is facing an electorate that holds negative views of his overall job performance. In the 41 Journal/NBC News surveys that measured views of how Mr. Trump has handled his office, he said, “there was not a single poll that produced a result where more Americans approved than disapproved of his performance as president.”

The 2020 campaign is approaching its end amid near-record voter interest and disquiet over the coronavirus pandemic that on Friday reached a high for new cases. Some 83% of voters rate themselves at the highest levels of interest in the campaign, a share unseen since just before former President Barack Obama’s first election in 2008.

Asked which issue was most important to their decision in the election—the economy or coronavirus—voters were divided almost evenly, a sign of how much the pandemic has upended expectations as they stood at the start of the election season.

Some 41% of voters named the economy as the most important issue, while 38% cited coronavirus—a 3-point gap that narrowed from 8 points last month. And in a sign of substantial concern about the virus, 55% said the worst of the pandemic was yet to come.

One of Mr. Trump’s strongest advantages is that 55% of voters approve of his handling of the economy, 14 points more than who disapprove. One of his top challenges is that 57% disapprove of his management of the pandemic, 17 points more than who approve.

Mr. Trump is contending with significant opposition from two large voter groups: Women, who outnumber men in the electorate, and seniors.

The president trails Mr. Biden by 20 percentage points among women in the new survey, 57% to 37%, while leading among men by one point, 48% to 47%. If the election outcome matched those results, the 2020 campaign would show one of the largest gender gaps on record.

Among seniors in the national survey, Mr. Trump trails by 23 points, 58% to 35%, a substantial reversal from his winning margin among those voters in 2016, measured at between 7 and 10 points in various surveys of the electorate.

Seniors are a closely watched group, in large part because most swing states have larger shares of them than the national average. Maine, for example, which gave Mr. Trump an electoral vote in 2016, has the nation’s largest share of residents aged 65 or older, while Florida, the largest swing state, has the second-largest share of seniors.

Mr. Trump’s hopes for an Electoral College majority turn in large measure on the fact that he is viewed more favorably in battleground states than among voters nationally.

In the 12 state battlegrounds, for example, Mr. Trump leads by 21 points among white men, compared with a 12-point lead among that group nationally. Among seniors, Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden by 11 points in battleground states, compared with the 23-point deficit nationally.

Mr. Trump’s strength among white men in battleground states, especially working-class men without college degrees, remains an important and potentially decisive factor in the race.

“Any other incumbent president who was down 10 points, we would not be talking about his possibility of winning. We would not be so cautious and not be so open to the idea that there’s a way to win this campaign,” Mr. McInturff said.

Nationally, Mr. Trump remains a polarizing figure. More voters in the new survey viewed him unfavorably than favorably, with “very positive” and “very negative” views tying or close to record highs. By a narrow margin, more voters view Mr. Biden in a positive than a negative light.

The Journal/NBC News survey presents the results among all registered voters, whereas the poll at this point in prior election years sifted out a small share of voters deemed unlikely to cast ballots and reported results only among likely voters.

Journal/NBC News polling experts have determined that the work they have done in past years to define a set of likely voters may not apply to this election. Many states have changed voting laws, with some mailing ballots to every registered voter for the first time.

The impact of these changes cannot be assessed until after the election. In addition, early voting and other gauges of voter interest point to unusually high turnout. For those reasons, the poll is presenting the broadest profile of potential voters rather than trying to determine which voters are likeliest to vote.

The Journal/NBC News poll interviewed 1,000 registered voters nationally from Oct. 29-31. The margin of error for that sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The poll also included interviews with 833 registered voters in swing states. The margin of error for that sample is 3.4 percentage points. The swing states included were Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Updated: 11-5-2020

CEO Of Crypto Derivatives Exchange FTX Donated $5M To Biden Campaign

The “relative newcomer” to politics joined other major CEO donors to the Democratic candidate.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX, donated $5.2 million to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

As the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 28, Biden’s presidential campaign received a total of $79.5 million from the top 100 donors describing themselves as CEOs. Bankman-Fried is reportedly the second-largest “CEO-contributor” to the campaign after Michael Bloomberg, a co-founder of the eponymous financial and media company, who donated $56 million.

The major contributions by CEOs to both Biden and current president Donald Trump are still only a drop in the bucket. Both campaigns together with their outside backers raised $2.2 billion dollars.

While Bankman-Fried is a “relative newcomer to political spending,” according to the Wall Street Journal, FTX has already dabbled in the arena.

In February 2020, FTX set up a futures contract designed to allow traders to bet on Trump’s reelection in 2020. Dubbed Trump token, the contract expires to $1 if Trump wins the 2020 U.S. presidential general election, and $0 if he loses.

According to the latest recorded data, the majority of traders have put their bets on “Trump Lose.” FTX subsequently launched a similar futures contract for Trump’s rival Biden.

At publishing time, votes for the American presidential election are still being tallied, with no declared winner so far.

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