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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Vance Is Out For Blood
      •  Not-ctober Surprise
      •  Fauci-Birx Role Reversal?
      •  The Last Tsar of Russia
      •  Time Runs Short for Trump
      •  Who Will Be the DNC Keynote Speaker?
      •  VP Candidate Profile: Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)
      •  Today's Presidential Polls
      •  Today's Senate Polls

Vance Is Out For Blood

At the moment, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and attorneys representing Donald Trump are duking it out in court, trying to figure out if Vance can have access to the President's financial records, consistent with the terms of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Recent developments in the case aren't going to make it any easier for the Trump family to sleep at night.

Inasmuch as the Supreme Court said that "Trump is the president" is not a sufficient argument for denying access to his personal financial records, but that other arguments might be sufficient, the President's attorneys have taken the tack that Vance's request is too broad given that he's merely investigating a couple of improper payments to a couple of Trump paramours. Not so fast, Vance said in a filing made yesterday, explaining that his office is looking into a wide variety of misdeeds, including insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers, as well as various tax-related shenanigans, as part of "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct." The DA also reminded U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero that his office has already filed a detailed but secret declaration outlining all the crimes The Donald and his businesses may have committed.

At this point, it is all-but-impossible that Team Trump will prevail here. They may win at trial, and they may lose, but it's clear that Vance has enough of the goods to make it to discovery and, likely following that, to issue indictments of the President and/or members of his inner circle. Really, all the President's lawyers can hope for is to delay things until after the election. That is a dangerous game of chicken, however, as they may drag things out just long enough for the indictments to hit in October, which surely wouldn't help Trump's reelection chances. At the moment, Marrero has given the Trump legal team until Aug. 14 (i.e., next Friday) to respond, and has indicated that he intends to rule pretty quickly. So, we might even be looking at a September surprise, depending on what rabbits the Trump legal team can pull out of their hats.

Meanwhile, this will surely result in Trump behaving even more recklessly, both to distract attention from his legal woes and also to try to save his presidency (and thus whatever protection he has against a potential trial, conviction, and prison term). He's already pushing the limits, even by his standards (see below), so one can only imagine what the next three months will bring. (Z)

Not-ctober Surprise

Late last week, Vanity Fair published a truly shocking exposé about the Trump administration. The story, in short, is that White House hack-of-all-trades Jared Kushner oversaw the preparation of a detailed COVID-19 response plan in the early days of the pandemic (March and early April) wherein the White House would have taken the lead in managing supply chains and expediting testing nationwide. And then, the First Son-in-Law saw analyses suggesting that blue states would be hit much harder than red states, so he threw the plan in the garbage. The thinking was that residents of blue states would blame their governors (and maybe their senators) and that Donald Trump's reelection chances would thus be improved.

One wonders why this story did not get more attention. Is it because there is so much venality in this administration that it's hard for any one exemplar to break through? Is it because Vanity Fair was doing the reporting? Is it because they made the error of breaking the story right before the weekend? Hard to say, but if the story is true—and the magazine has abundant evidence— It's not likely the plan would have been a huge success, since Kushner's next huge success will also be his first one. Still, any plan would be better than nothing, which is pretty much what the White House has come up with so far. And it's not like the lethal potential of COVID-19 was unknown back in April, which means the story confirms what we already knew: Kushner and Trump are more than willing to sacrifice American lives in pursuit of their personal political goals.

And that actually brings us to the main point of this item. While Trump fears an October surprise unleashed by Cy Vance (see above), he would very much love to unleash an October surprise of his own. Coming up with some dirt on Joe Biden, no matter how insubstantial, would be good, although that is AG Bill Barr's project. Meanwhile, according to a new report from The New York Times, Trump's focus is on doing whatever it takes to be able to announce a COVID-19 vaccine by October. That could mean fast-tracking the approval process and not collecting enough data, or possibly ignoring evidence that a vaccine might be dangerous. There is a reason that this initiative is called Operation Warp Speed. There's also a reason that members of the Trump campaign refer to a COVID-19 vaccine as "the holy grail."

The problem for the President, as The Washington Post's Greg Sargent observes, is that it probably won't work. Imagine he announces, on Oct. 1, "We've got a terrific vaccine; everyone roll up your sleeves!" Or, alternatively, "We're almost there, and we'll definitely have something by Jan. 1." Well, Trump has spent four years undermining his base's faith in science in general, and in the scientists who work for the federal government in particular. Meanwhile, he's also spent four years undermining everyone else's faith in his truthfulness, while also making clear—as in the case of the Kushner COVID-19 plan—that he's more than willing to risk people's lives to advance his own ends.

The upshot is that a vaccine announcement is not likely to be a game-changer because not many people will actually believe it. And even most of those who do believe are not likely to give him credit. So, even if the President manages to put together his October surprise, it will probably fall flat. He's just going to have to hope that Barr comes up with something really, really juicy about Biden. (Z)

Fauci-Birx Role Reversal?

Over the course of the last few months, Dr. Anthony Fauci has earned a reputation as someone willing to speak truth to power, even if it means he gets frozen out of the inner circle. On the other hand, Fauci's former protégé Dr. Deborah Birx has been widely criticized, including by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for kowtowing too much to the President in order to keep her high-profile gig as White House coronavirus task force coordinator.

In the past 48 hours, however, the two physicians appear to have swapped personas. For Birx's part, she spoke to CNN on Sunday, and said that the United States has entered into a new phase in the pandemic, and that it's more widespread than it's ever been. This, obviously, is not the White House party line, and so Donald Trump slammed the good doctor on Twitter:

That means that Birx is now in the doghouse of the nation's most powerful Democrat and its most powerful Republican. Not an easy feat!

And now, on to Fauci. He too spoke to the media recently, although in his case it was on Monday. And he was asked about the plan to reopen schools in a few weeks. After noting that the primary concern should be the safety of the children, and that students are better off in school than learning remotely (two contentions that basically everyone agrees with), he said: "If done properly, it would not be a risk, but then again, you've got to be careful when you get people coming in from outside. But I think if they maintain the guidelines that are put together for people coming back, that they should be fine."

We honestly cannot imagine what he was thinking. Surely he must be at least somewhat aware of the failures that have already happened across the nation. There are, for example, the 260 staff and faculty in Georgia's largest school district who had to be sent home because they either developed, or were exposed to, COVID-19. Or how about the Indiana district where a student exhibited symptoms of the disease, and their parents sent them to school anyhow while waiting for test results? When the test came back positive, the whole school had to be shut down for several days. Then there is the district in Arizona, where the principal/superintendent has already had one teacher contract the disease in the classroom and die, and who is at his wits' end as to how to keep his students and faculty safe, but who is forced to reopen nonetheless or else lose critical funding from the state. You should really consider reading that last item in full; it gives a very clear picture of the obstacles that schools currently face.

Anyhow, back to Fauci. Surely, some of these stories have crossed his desk. And even if they haven't, he is surely clever enough to recognize that the "guidelines" he refers to basically don't exist, and that even if they did (or do), expecting tens of millions of children (and their parents) to all abide perfectly by them is absurd. In short, we find Fauci's opinion shockingly irresponsible at best, and flatly dishonest at worst. What Fauci's pronouncement does do, however, is advance Donald Trump's agenda.

And there, in the end, is the rub. Maybe Fauci was just being overly optimistic/diplomatic, as is sometimes his wont, it seems. Or maybe he decided he needs to be in the room when COVID-19 is discussed, particularly if Birx is about to lose her place at the table, and so concluded it was time to embrace the party line a bit. Whatever it is, it speaks to the same issue as the item above: the credibility of the President and his administration are so badly damaged on this subject that it pretty much does not matter what they say, or who says it—it's impossible to have confidence if that pronouncement works to the benefit of Donald Trump. (Z)

The Last Tsar of Russia

Idi Amin, the notorious Ugandan dictator, famously declared himself to be the King of Scotland, which would have made him the final person to hold that title. Never mind that he was neither crowned nor Scottish; dictators play by the golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules. Donald Trump has yet to add the monarchy of another country to his portfolio, though the Tsardom of Russia appears to be available, and would be apropos in many ways. What Trump has done, however, is dial up his dictatorial tendencies in the last week.

To start, Trump has grown more and more brazen in his subversion of the Senate approval process. With a GOP majority, they are willing to sign off on almost anyone, and yet the President continues to find candidates that even Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gags on. The latest is Anthony Tata, a retired brigadier general, a Fox News contributor, and a nutty conspiracy theorist. When it became clear that Tata was going to be rejected as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the President withdrew the nomination and promptly hired Tata for the job entitled "Performing the Duties of Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy." Ken Cuccinelli, the nutty racist who works at DHS, has a similar job title. Two of them, in fact: "Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security" and "Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services." And Cuccinelli answers to DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who also did not receive Senate approval, and who has remained in office far beyond the time allowed for an acting secretary.

The President is not just subverting the legislature, however, he's also sticking it to the judiciary. Trump did not make any grand pronouncements like Andrew Jackson, but when it comes to the recent DACA decision, the President might as well have declared: "Roberts has his decision, now let him enforce it!" Following SCOTUS' ruling, the administration was ordered by U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm to allow DACA beneficiaries to renew their status for two years, to allow new applicants into the program, and to offer permits that allow travel outside the United States. Instead, DHS is allowing only one-year renewals, is rejecting new applicants, and has offered no permits. DHS is also the department, of course, that has invaded Portland and is planning to do the same to other cities, which means that if AG Bill Barr is acting as the President's fixer, Wolf is leading his goon squad.

Of course, the DACA decision isn't the only high-profile poke in the eye that Trump has gotten from the Supreme Court. They also refused to allow him to add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census. The administration continues to search for ways to subvert that, and now they may have a winner. Normally, after doing everything possible to get responses via e-mail and phone calls, the Census Bureau hires people to knock on doors for 10 weeks in order to document as much of the non-responsive remainder as is possible. As a general rule, the Bureau manages to get the number of non-responders down to 1%, and from there they estimate using statistical methods. On Monday, however, the administration ordered that the door-knocking period be reduced by four weeks. The best estimate is that instead of having to guess about 1% of the population, this will leave the Bureau guessing about 15%. And given that undocumented immigrants are likely to make up a disproportionate percentage of that 15%, due either to language barriers or fear of deportation, this could be a path to undercounting them, which is what the President has always wanted.

And finally, there are the COVID-19 stimulus negotiations, which are not going well on the Hill, and which are unlikely to give Trump what he wants most, namely a payroll tax cut, which would save his businesses millions of dollars. To nobody's surprise, he's already considering his very favorite shortcut, executive orders. After a chat with Bush-era-defender-of-torture John Yoo, Trump is persuaded that he can order the IRS to simply stop enforcing the laws requiring a payroll tax, and that will be that. Given that taxation is supposed to be the sole province of Congress, that is a position not likely to stand up in court, but that's hardly a problem since Trump ignores the courts anyhow.

When Richard Nixon did some of these sorts of things over the span of many months, he was accused of running an imperial presidency. Well, Trump has abused his power even more than Nixon did, and in the span of just the last week. And we haven't even mentioned his threat to postpone the election, since we covered that last week. One can only imagine—and shudder at—what the Tsar will cook up if he gets four more years in office in which he no longer has to worry about reelection, and has learned that Congress and the Supreme Court can both be safely ignored. (Z)

Time Runs Short for Trump

As we noted above, Donald Trump is cooking up many things in a desperate effort to save his presidency (and, quite possibly, his freedom). He better hurry. He is down roughly 7 points in national polls, the electoral vote is ghastly (see map above), and it's just more than 90 days until Election Day. And even that is misleading, due to two features peculiar to this election and few, if any, others.

The first dynamic that does not work in Trump's favor is fairly obvious: COVID-19. Not just the damage it's doing to his reputation, though. An enormous percentage of ballots are going to be cast via mail this year, and most states begin accepting responses a month or more before the election. By the time we reach Oct. 5, more than half the states will already be collecting ballots, including some of the key ones (like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida). There are many voters who will get their ballots sent in ASAP, either because that is the kind of folks they are, or, as we noted in passing this weekend, in response to potential Presidential USPS shenanigans. That means that if any pro-Trump October surprise, or any other sort of game-changer, comes after October 15 or so, it will come with millions of votes (and probably tens of millions of votes) already locked in. The presidential debates, incidentally, are scheduled for Sept. 29, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22.

And speaking of the debates, The Hill has an article up right now headlined "Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks." They have tracked down quotes from half a dozen Democratic luminaries like Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who said things like "This is a big race, and the answer is yes, I think he should" (Feinstein) and "If Donald Trump lies, he could be called out by the moderator" (Blumenthal). Stories like these are why we are sometimes leery of The Hill, the same site that gave a platform to John Solomon and then was shocked—shocked!—that he was pulling most of his "reporting" out of his rear end. The headline and the entire formulation of the story imply that Biden has shown a reluctance to debate. In fact, he has given the pro-debate Full Sherman multiple times, including in writing. The person who has been much more coy is Trump. Not only has the President actually skipped debates in the past, he's tried to redefine the terms of these debates, and he's yet to firmly commit to attending. If anything, the story really ought to be "Republicans want Trump to debate Biden despite risks."

Moving on, the second not-Trump-friendly dynamic in this election dovetails with the first. By all indications, this election has an unusually small number of undecided voters. This may very well lead to earlier voting, since people may not feel the need to keep their options open. And it will definitely lead to a circumstance where there simply aren't enough undecided voters available to change the outcome of the election once we reach mid- to late-October. Looking back to 2016, there appear to have been roughly 14 million undecided voters when James Comey made his e-mail announcement on Oct. 28. As we know, most of those undecideds broke for Trump, very probably because of Comey, and Trump won a narrow victory. This year, it appears we're already down to something less than 10 million undecideds. And every day of early voting that goes by is another day closer to the time when a swing big enough to save Trump just isn't mathematically available.

Last week, a Trump insider told Politico that the president "just needs to win 60 percent of the next 100 days" in order to be reelected. We think that 60% figure is low. And, based on the dynamics discussed above, the 100 days figure is definitely high. A more accurate assessment is something along the lines of "he needs to win 80 percent of the next 60 days." And even that might be too generous. (Z)

Who Will Be the DNC Keynote Speaker?

With the Democratic veepstakes nearing its denouement, attention has already turned to the next big decision Joe Biden will have to make about his campaign: Who will deliver the DNC keynote speech on Wednesday night? Generally speaking, that slot goes to a rising star, often one who is on the ballot that year and who speaks to some dimension of the Party that the presidential candidate wants to highlight. For reference, here are the last seven folks given the honor by the blue team:

Year Speaker Reason
1992 Zell Miller Then-governor of Georgia
1996 Evan Bayh Then-governor of Indiana, soon to be U.S. Senate candidate
2000 Harold Ford Jr. Then-representative from Tennessee
2004 Barack Obama Then-U.S. Senate candidate
2008 Mark Warner Then-U.S. Senate candidate
2012 Julián Castro Then-mayor of San Antonio
2016 Elizabeth Warren U.S. senator from Massachusetts

Politico chatted with a number of Democratic insiders to get their best guess as to the pick this year. Here's the list that produced:

Possible Speaker Reason
Stacey Abrams Former state rep. in Georgia, voting-rights advocate
Keisha Lance Bottoms Mayor of Atlanta
Charles Booker State rep. in Kentucky
Jamaal Bowman U.S. House candidate from New York
Pete Buttigieg Former presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend
Phillipe Cunningham Minneapolis City Council
Val Demings Representative from Florida
Eric Garcetti Mayor of Los Angeles
Garlin Gilchrist Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
Michelle Lujan Grisham Governor of New Mexico
Deb Haaland Representative from New Mexico
Andrea Jenkins Minneapolis City Council
Ro Khanna Representative from California
Lucy McBath Representative from Georgia
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Representative from New York
Jared Polis Governor of Colorado
Bryan Stevenson Law professor, director of the Equal Justice Initiative
Ritchie Torres U.S. House candidate from New York
Raphael Warnock U.S. Senate candidate from Georgia
Gretchen Whitmer Governor of Michigan

Many of these folks are VP candidates, and if chosen as running mate, would be given their own, non-keynote speaking slot. Beyond that, we only have two other things to add. The first is that some of these guesses are just silly. The Party isn't going to hand such a plum assignment to a law professor, for example. The second is that it is not unheard of for a Party to go with an existing rock star rather than an up-and-coming star, so as to remind people "Hey! This is the party of [X]!" That's more a Republican move than a Democratic one, such as when the GOP tapped Colin Powell in 2000. Still, it's not impossible that the pick is...Barack Obama. Or, alternatively, Michelle Obama. The latter would have the added benefit of sparing Melania Trump the need to spend time writing her speech for the RNC two weeks later. In any event, expect an announcement in the next week or so. (Z)

VP Candidate Profile: Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)

Almost to the finish line. Here is the list of candidates that we will profile, and the order in which we will profile them:

  1. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) [Score: 27.5]
  2. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) [Score: 26]
  3. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) [Score: 20]
  4. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) [Score: 17]
  5. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) [Score: 27]
  6. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) [Score: 13]
  7. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-Atlanta) [Score: 24]
  8. Former State Representative Stacey Abrams (D-GA) [Score: 25]
  9. Former NSA Susan Rice [Score: 31]
  10. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)
  11. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
  12. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

As a reminder, we're awarding up to 10 points across five different areas of concern: How ready the candidate is to assume the presidency, if needed; what kind of coattails the candidate might have in terms of helping the Democratic ticket in their state/region; what the candidate brings to the table in terms of "nuts and bolts" political skills like fundraising and debating; the depth of the candidate's relationship with Biden (to the extent that information is publicly known); and how well the candidate balances out Biden. So, the perfect running mate would score a 50, while William A. Wheeler would score a 0.

Val Demings
  • Full Name: Valdez Venita Demings

  • Age on January 20, 2021: 63

  • Background: Several of the candidates that Joe Biden is considering come from humble roots, but none has roots quite so humble as Demings. Born in Jacksonville, FL, to Elouise, a maid, and James, a janitor, Demings lived with her parents and six older siblings in a two-room house. She attended segregated schools through most of the 1960s, and was compelled to find part-time work at the age of 14 to help support her family. Despite this, she became the first member of her family to graduate college, earning a B.S. in criminology from Florida State University in 1979. Many years later, she added a master's degree in public administration from Webster University.

    Demings' first job out of college was as a social worker; she did that for a bit less than two years before moving to Orlando and joining the police force. She began as a patrol officer, as most cops do, and slowly worked her way up the ranks, earning promotion to commander of special operations in 2003. She served in that post for four years.

  • Political Experience: The exact location of the line between "regular officer" and "officer-politician" is open to discussion, but Demings surely crossed it when she became the first woman appointed as Orlando's chief of police in 2007. She served for five years, cultivating a reputation as a "tenacious, no-nonsense cop" (her words) but also implementing several different outreach initiatives like Operation Positive Direction, which steers at-risk youth towards tutoring assistance and community service opportunities. She was apparently successful, as the city witnessed a 40% decrease in crime during her tenure as chief. We say "apparently" because studies of other cities (most obviously New York City) make clear that decreases in crime are often due to underlying social and economic changes, and not to policing. Demings' time in office coincided with an economic upturn, something that historically leads to decreases in crime.

    Demings' elective career did not get off to an auspicious start. She retired from the OPD in 2011 so that she could run for the House in 2012 against Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) in FL-10. Demings lost that election, 51% to 48%, and followed that with an unsuccessful 2014 bid for Mayor of Orange County (the job that, as chance would have it, her husband Jerry Demings now holds). In 2016, she ran again in FL-10 after a redrawn boundary map transformed it from light red (R+3) to deep blue (D+11), causing Webster to jump ship to FL-11. Demings trounced Thuy Lowe, an unknown, 65% to 35%. In her 2018 reelection bid, Demings was unopposed.

  • Signature Issue(s): Criminal justice reform. With nearly 30 years' experience in law enforcement, it could hardly be otherwise, and she has made this a focus during her time in the House. The question, as with Kamala Harris, is whether voters, and in particular Black voters, will see Demings as part of the solution, or as part of the problem. As her profile has risen, the Representative has tried to frame herself as an outspoken opponent of police misconduct, including a post-George Floyd op-ed for The Washington Post headlined "My fellow brothers and sisters in blue, what the hell are you doing?"

    However, those familiar with Demings' career as chief of the OPD say that's not the full story, and that she often sided with officers accused of using excessive force. In particular, if she is the nominee, expect to hear the name Daniel Daley a few times. Daley was 84 years old and drunk when he put his hands on Officer Travis Lamont. That's not good, but Lamont responded by body-slamming Daley, fracturing a vertebra in his neck. Demings sided with Lamont, which may or may not have been apropos, but isn't going to look good when people see a picture of an octogenarian in a hospital bed with a neck brace.

  • Instructive Quote: "Donald Trump stood right here in my home state and invited Russia to interfere with our election. Then you know what he did? He really worked with Russia to interfere with our election and obstructed evidence in that investigation. So he telegraphed, he continues to do it. I mean, it's who he is and he will not stop," (May 22, 2020).

  • Recent News: Demings has a reputation for being (appropriately) tough on witnesses in committee hearings, and her rise to national prominence is due primarily to her assertive role as one of the managers of the impeachment of Donald Trump. She was back at it again last week, this time giving Alphabet (Google) CEO Sundar Pichai the third degree.

  • Ready for the Big Chair?: Demings has some time as the manager of a medium-sized bureaucracy, and a shorter time as a member of the House. Compared to the awesome responsibilities of the presidency, we think that's pretty thin. (2/10)

  • Coattails: This is the meat of the argument for Demings. She not only comes from a swing state, but from the swingiest portion of that swing state. The two Georgians (Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms) could possibly bring in 16 EVs and 1-2 U.S. Senate seats. Demings could possibly bring in 29 EVs but zero U.S. Senate seats. Both commodities are tantalizing, though we'd give just a slight edge to the Georgia combo. (9/10)

  • Nuts and Bolts Skills: Demings is a heck of an attack dog, but we really don't see any other areas where she's outstanding or even above-average. (2/10)

  • Relationship with Biden: They know each other a little, having campaigned together on occasion, but they don't have a substantive relationship. (2/10)

  • Balance: Demings brings racial balance and maybe just enough youth to the ticket. That's about it, though. (4/10)

  • Betting Odds: She's getting from 25/1 to 8/1, which implies a 4-13% chance of being selected. That's the broadest range of outcomes for any of the major candidates.

  • Completely Trivial Fact: It's estimated that 1 out of 7 Americans will work for McDonald's at some point in their lives. No president or presidential candidate has ever done it (Abe Lincoln was not a potato-splitter, no matter what you may have heard). However, Demings, if chosen, would become the second VP candidate to have Mickey D's in her background. The first? Paul Ryan.

  • The Bottom Line: We've got Demings at 19/50, which suggests she's not a great pick. More importantly, there are "win the election" VP candidates like Lyndon B. Johnson, Ryan, and Sarah Palin. And there are "future partners in governance" VP candidates like Walter Mondale, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden. Demings would clearly be the former, and Team Biden has given every indication they are looking for the latter. We just don't think she'll be the pick.

Assuming Biden does not scoop us by making his announcement, we've got two longshot candidates left, with Gina Raimondo up next. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

It does not look like Gov. Steve Bullock's (D-MT) coattails will be enough to swing his state for the Biden ticket, not that the 3 EVs in question are especially crucial. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has led in five of the last six polls of Ohio. The Buckeye State appears to be out of the light red column and back into the purple one, at least for now. As a reminder, Barack Obama carried the state by 5% in 2008 and 3% in 2012. (Z)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Michigan 49% 43% Jul 28 Jul 29 PPP
Montana 42% 53% Jul 31 Aug 02 Emerson Coll.
Ohio 46% 42% Jun 24 Jul 15 U. of Akron

Today's Senate Polls

Steve Bullock's coattails may not save Biden, but will they save Steve Bullock? This poll is an outlier compared to all the others conducted so far, so don't read too much into it. Meanwhile, Peters has led James in 18 of the 18 polls in our database, usually by high-single or low-double digits. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Michigan Gary Peters* 47% John James 39% Jul 28 Jul 29 PPP
Montana Steve Bullock 44% Steve Daines* 50% Jul 31 Aug 02 Emerson Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug03 White House and Democrats Remain Far Apart on New Relief Bill
Aug03 Meadows Walks Back Tweet on Delaying the Election
Aug03 Clyburn: Trump Is Mussolini
Aug03 Will Trump's Renomination Be Private?
Aug03 What's the Matter with Kansas?
Aug03 Arizona Votes Tomorrow
Aug03 Michigan Votes Tomorrow
Aug03 Missouri Votes Tomorrow
Aug03 Washington Votes Tomorrow
Aug03 Trump's Grip on the GOP Appears To Be Loosening
Aug03 Poll Worker Shortage Could Disrupt Election Day
Aug03 Democrats and Republicans Agree: It won't Be a Fair Election
Aug03 The Lincoln Project's Real Goal
Aug03 VP Candidate Profile: Former NSA Susan Rice
Aug03 Today's Presidential Polls
Aug03 Today's Senate Polls
Aug02 COVID-19 Diaries: The Mortality Mystery
Aug02 Sunday Mailbag
Aug02 VP Candidate Profile: Former State Representative Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Aug01 Is Trump Weaponizing the Postal Service to Help His Reelection?
Aug01 Saturday Q&A
Aug01 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul31 Trump Suggests Postponing the Election
Jul31 Economy Has Its Worst Quarter in 145 Years
Jul31 Ginsburg Is Back in the Hospital
Jul31 John Lewis Is Honored and Laid to Rest
Jul31 Herman Cain is Dead of COVID-19
Jul31 The Coronavirus Is Spreading Rapidly in Key Swing States
Jul31 Why the Portland Strategy Is Not Working
Jul31 Cohen Can Publish His Book
Jul31 Might Trump Quit?
Jul31 How to Prepare for Trump Refusing to Concede
Jul31 Trump Will Not Help Defeat Kobach
Jul31 We Agree with Fox News...on One Thing
Jul31 Likely New Members of the House
Jul31 VP Candidate Profile: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-Atlanta)
Jul31 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul31 Today's Senate Polls
Jul30 Another Grim COVID-19 Milestone
Jul30 Trump Continues Russia-friendly Foreign Policy
Jul30 No Progress on Latest Stimulus Package
Jul30 Trump Not Subtle about His Suburban Strategy
Jul30 Lewis' Funeral Is Today
Jul30 100 Days
Jul30 VP Candidate Profile: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
Jul30 Today's Presidential Polls
Jul30 Today's Senate Polls
Jul29 Barr Testifies
Jul29 Trump Jr. Disciplined by Twitter
Jul29 Trump Will Accept GOP Nomination in North Carolina