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Biden Leads Nationally by 8-10 Points

Legendary Iowa pollster Ann Selzer ran a national horse-race poll after the conventions that shows Joe Biden at 49% and Donald Trump at 41%. Among women, Biden is +22, a wider gender gap than the 19-point gap Hillary Clinton enjoyed in 2016. Even worse for Trump is that he is now down 23 points with suburban voters. He won them by 4 points in 2016, a 27-point shift away from him. If we look at the intersection of the two groups, the highly coveted "suburban housewives," Biden is ahead by 33 points. Biden is also doing much better than Clinton among college-educated voters. His lead is 23 points (vs. 10 points for Clinton).

A Quinnipiac University poll, also out yesterday, has Biden ahead by 10 points, 52% to 42%. Noteworthy here is that Biden is above 50%. Even if the 6% of the voters who are undecided or back a third party go for Trump, Biden still wins the popular vote. Quinnipiac also asked if the country is better off now than it was 4 years ago. Among Democrats, 95% say it is worse off. Among Republicans, only 15% think it is worse off (and 84% think it is better off). That is hard to swallow. Despite the 180,000+ dead from COVID-19, unemployment at 10%, and civil unrest everywhere, Republicans are practically unanimous that the country is better off now than in 2016. No doubt if asked, all of them will say: "Because Trump is president," although many may be thinking "Because a white guy is president."

The favorability/unfavorability ratings of the two tickets are Biden 45%/48%, Trump 41%/56%, Harris 40%/34%, and Pence 38%/47%. Of the bunch, only Harris is above water, but after the Trump campaign gets through with her, she will be underwater as well.

Finally, a Suffolk University poll has Biden at 50% and Trump at 43%. If we average all three polls we get Biden at 50.3% and Trump at 42.0%, an 8.3% lead for Biden. Selzer, Quinnipiac, and Suffolk are all highly respected pollsters. So, it seems safe to say that the net result of the two conventions was a net gain of maybe a bit less than a point for Trump at most. The Real Clear Politics average on July 1 had Biden ahead by 9 points, 0.7 points above where it is now.

Nate Silver has made a model of how much Biden needs to win the popular vote by in order to have a good chance of winning the electoral vote. Here are the results of the model:

According to the model, an 8.3-point lead makes it virtually certain that Biden would also win the Electoral College. Of course, even if Biden maintains this lead through November, the likelihood that thousands or millions of ballots will be "delayed" in the mail and not counted has to be factored in.

Also important is the distribution of the popular vote. If Clinton had won 50,000 more votes in each of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but won 1 million fewer votes in California, she would have won the electoral college. Consequently, don't read too much into a model that tries to map the popular vote onto the electoral vote since it crucially depends on where the votes are.

There are very few persuadable voters left, so the election may come down to which side gets its supporters to vote—and whether those votes are counted. Consequently, both parties are frantically trying to determine who their voters are. Then they can bombard them with e-mails and flyers to make sure they register and vote. And in the case of people voting by mail, they have to understand that voting by mail after Oct. 15 is probably too late. (V)

Biden Raises an Incredible $365 Million in August

Any Democrats who feared that Joe Biden would be wiped out by a tsunami of Republican spending can now breathe easier. Biden and the DNC combined to raise an unprecedented total of $365 million in August. The total haul doubles the July haul. It also eclipses Hillary Clinton's 2016 August haul ($143 million) and Barack Obama's 2012 August haul ($114 million). It also beats the previous one-month record of $193 million set by Obama in Sept. 2008.

Here is the fundraising by the campaigns and national committees since April:

Month Democrats Republicans
April $61 million $62 million
May $81 million $74 million
June $141 million $131 million
July $140 million $165 million
August $365 million ?

The Democrats have raised $788 million in five months. The Republicans have raised $432 million in four months. If they raise $356 million in August, the two campaigns will be even. The Republicans haven't reported August yet and are not required to until Sept. 20.

The political value of all of this money is probably pretty negligible, given the declining effectiveness of TV advertising, plus the problem of diminishing returns (do 30 commercials have all that much more impact than 20?). However, money is also a pretty good proxy for enthusiasm, and clearly the Biden/Harris ticket has a lot of it. It may be enthusiasm for Biden, or it may be enthusiasm for kicking Trump out of the Oval Office. Either way, the vote counts the exact same. (V)

Florida's Latinos Could Pick the President

If Donald Trump loses Florida, he has no realistic path to 270 electoral votes. Joe Biden could lose Florida and still get to 270 if he wins three of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona. That notwithstanding, there will be an immense battle for Florida. The white New York transplants in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties are in the bag for Biden and the white transplants from the Midwest in The Villages, as well as voters on the Gulf Coast and in the Panhandle, are in the bag for Trump. The real battle will be for the state's many Latinos.

It's a complicated fight. The Latino community is quite diverse, with people from Puerto Rico, Central and South America, as well as many Cuban Americans. Older Cuban Americans are very Republican, but younger ones are much less so. Trump won Cuban Americans in 2016, but got only 54% of their votes, and might get less this time as people born in Cuba are dying off and being replaced by their children and grandchildren born in America.

A key wedge issue Trump is using is "socialism," as in "You fled socialism and now the Democrats are trying to force you back into it." However, this time Democrats are fighting back with "You fled a despotic caudillo and now Trump is turning into one."

For many Latinos, the use of military force to stop peaceful protests is precisely what they fled, and now they see Trump doing the same thing their former dictator did. One former Caracas city councilman, Diego Scharifker, who now lives in South Florida, said: "I'm living the same situations I fled from my country because of political persecution and attacks against democracy." He has joined Venezolanos Con Biden. Daniela Ferrera, a 22-year-old who fled Cuba, said that she is terrified of Trump and has joined Cubanos Con Biden. She said: "We lost one homeland, and we refuse to lose another."

Further, Trump's promise to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro—and his subsequent failure to do so—is not going to get him any credit with Maduro haters in Florida when he boasts: "Promises made, promises kept."

In 2018, two high-profile Democrats lost statewide elections in Florida: then-senator Bill Nelson and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. They ran on platforms centered on health care. But focus groups showed that as soon as Republicans uttered the magic word "socialism," Latino voters' interest in better health care vanished and they became Republicans. Needless to say, Republicans know this and are going to run the 2018 playbook again. It's really all they have. But they also know the magic works a lot better with older Latinos who lived under "socialism" in Latin America than among younger, American-born Latinos who associate the word more with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a man they admire, than with any Latin American dictator.

Another problem the Republicans have with making the campaign in Florida about socialism is that this doesn't work at all with Puerto Ricans, many of whom remember that after Hurricane Maria flattened Puerto Rico, all Trump did was throw a few rolls of paper towels into the crowd and then tell them to clean up the mess themselves:

Democrats tried to register 1 million new voters in Florida and fell far short (mostly due to the coronavirus, which eliminated mass gatherings where voters could be signed up by the bushel). Still they did sign up 107,000 new Latino voters. Of these, a third registered as Democrats, double the number who registered as Republicans. The rest signed up as independents, but young progressive voters often register as independents. Being an independent doesn't necessarily mean voting blue half the time and red half the time. In the August primary, huge numbers of new voters showed up. If they show up in large numbers in November, it will definitely help the Democrats. However, The Villages area is also growing, so Florida may continue to be closely balanced. (V)

Could a COVID-19 Vaccine Be the October Surprise?

Vaccines are generally not political—except when they are. This year there are all kinds of possibilities, with various political effects.

Suppose a U.S. pharmaceutical company or university discovers a safe and effective vaccine and announces it before the election. It is 100% certain that Donald Trump will take credit for it, claiming it was his Operation Warp Speed that made the discovery possible. People will be undoubtedly grateful and it may win Trump just enough votes to eke out a narrow victory.

But there are a couple of other scenarios that are also possible. For one, suppose some U.S. organization announces a vaccine and Trump puts enormous pressure on FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to approve it before it is adequately tested. This will come out, of course. Does that help or hurt Trump? Will Trump supporters want to get it and supporters of Joe Biden not trust it? Will this become just another front in the medico-cultural wars?

But Politico has a long article about another possibility. It is entitled: "What Happens if China Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine First?" Vladimir Putin has already claimed that Russia has a vaccine, but nobody believes him. China, in contrast, has many good (U.S.-trained) scientists and is already well along the path toward a usable vaccine. So what might happen if China comes out with a safe and effective vaccine that the World Health Organization approves and the U.S. is more than 6 months from producing its own?

Health and national security officials are already thinking about multiple nightmare scenarios:

Scenario 1: China simply refuses to sell any vaccine to the U.S. under any conditions. Instead, it first immunizes its own population. Then it begins giving it away to countries in Latin America and Africa for free in return for the rights to extract natural resources. How will this play in the U.S.?

Scenario 2: China is willing to sell the U.S. 100 million doses for $10,000 per dose for a total bill of $1 trillion. Congress might balk at the money and Trump would then have to ration the vaccine. Maybe he could say that only people willing to sign a pledge to vote for him get the shot. In any case, there would be huge fights over the scarce doses, and that would rip the country apart. China would laugh all the way to the bank.

Scenario 3: China is willing to sell the U.S. 300 million doses at $100 per dose for total bill of only $30 billion. That would sail through Congress easily. However, there could be a couple of geopolitical strings attached. Part of the deal would be for the U.S. to agree to one or more of these (or similar) conditions:

  • The Senate must approve a binding treaty banning all current and future U.S. tariffs on imports from China
  • China gets to invade and conquer Taiwan by force and the U.S. agrees not to help Taiwan
  • China gets to build military bases on the disputed islands in the South China Sea without U.S. interference
  • Study of Mandarin Chinese becomes mandatory in U.S. high schools

By the time the number of deaths from COVID-19 passes a million, the pressure to give in to China will become unbearable. Or if China really wants to throw its weight around, imagine it announcing (before the election) that as long as Donald Trump is president, the U.S. will not get any vaccine, but if Joe Biden becomes president, it is willing to make a normal commercial deal and sell 300 million doses at $20 each. How might that affect Trump and the voters?

While we are on the subject of vaccines, there is a very real possibility that even if the federal government pays for the purchase of the vaccine, doctors, pharmacies, clinics, and other health-care providers could charge an "administrative fee" that could keep people without health insurance from getting it. That, in turn, would keep the pandemic going even after a vaccine was available from China or some other source. (V)

Debate Moderators Announced

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that each fall debate will have only one moderator. The formats were also announced. Here is the schedule.

Date Debate Type City Venue Format Moderator
Sept. 29 Presidential Cleveland, OH Case Western Reserve Univ. 6 segments of 15 min. Chris Wallace (Fox News)
Oct. 7 Vice presidential Salt Lake City, UT University of Utah 9 segments of 10 min. Susan Page (USA Today)
Oct. 15 Presidential Miami, FL Adrienne Arsht Center Town Hall Steve Scully (CSPAN)
Oct. 22 Presidential Nashville, TN Belmont University 6 segments of 15 min. Kristen Welker (NBC News)

There is a fair amount to criticize here. First, two of the debates are in swingish states and two are in red states. It would have been much better to have all four in swing states. Why not have the Utah one be in nearby Arizona, a true swing state? And why not have the Tennessee one be in nearby North Carolina? It is hard to believe no universities in Arizona and North Carolina were interested.

Second, why is there a moderator from Fox News but no moderator from MSNBC? Now, Wallace is a reasonable journalist, but for balance if there is one from Fox there should have been one from MSNBC. Joy Reid, for example, knows her stuff. Alternatively, Wallace could have been replaced by a neutral moderator, say, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Norah O'Donnell of CBS News, or Anderson Cooper of CNN. Another complaint: the moderators are 7/8 white (only Welker is of mixed heritage; she is half Black). What about a Latino moderator, given the significance of the Latino vote (see above)? Did Jorge Ramos not take the Commission's phone calls? Was Juan Williams already booked? Did they not have Soledad O'Brien's phone number?

Three of the debates will have a number of segments, each on a single topic to be chosen by the moderator and announced in public a week before the debate so the debaters can cram if they so desire. We expect Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Mike Pence will cram like crazy and hold mock debates for practice. We also expect that Donald Trump will do none of it because his supporters don't expect that he knows the material and don't care if he lies about it. If he makes mistakes, the media will point it out and it will have no effect. If any of the other three make big mistakes, it will be big news.

We are going to go out on a limb here and guess what some of the segments might be about: handling COVID-19, restarting the economy, racial justice, dealing with China and Russia, immigration, inequality, and climate change. Topics we don't expect to get their own 10- or 15-minute segment include abortion, tax returns, and guns. For the vice presidential debate, it is harder for Page to find nine topics because on every policy issue the candidate could say: "Not my call. Ask the boss."

One thing we don't know is whether the moderators will ask Trump any tough questions. That's what journalists are supposed to do, but often they don't. In case they can't think of any, the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a never-Trump conservative, has thought up a few, briefly summarized as follows:

  • Why do you say windmills cause cancer when there is no evidence that they do?
  • What evidence is there for your claim that "dark shadows" control Joe Biden?
  • You claim that Barack Obama spied on you, but the Senate report said this is false. Explain.
  • Do you now remember about WikiLeaks, now that it is known Roger Stone briefed you on July 25, 2016?
  • Why do you keep repeating the Russian lie that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election?
  • Do you believe that Vladimir Putin kills journalists and his opponents?
  • Why do you pretend you didn't know about the Russian bounties even though you were told in February?
  • Over 180,000 Americans are dead of COVID-19. Was your handling of it a success?
  • Why don't you want to change the names of military bases named for traitors to the United States?
  • You have one Black cabinet member. How can you say you have done more for Black people than any president?
  • You have not condemned the shooting of Jacob Blake. Why is this?
  • You do not want to have a heavy turnout for the election. Isn't that betraying democracy?
  • You said the 2017 tax cuts would produce 4% economic growth. Why were you so far off?
  • Who pays for tariffs?
  • You said you would protect people with pre-existing conditions. How will this work if you abolish the ACA?
  • Why did you go to Walter Reed Medical Center unexpectedly last November?

No doubt the moderators can think of more, if they choose to do so. The question is whether they will ask them, or just pitch softballs?

Biden is worried about Trump lying, and having to spend all of his speaking time debunking the lies. He has proposed real-time fact checking during the debate in the form of a text crawler at the bottom of the screen calling out lies either candidate tells. The chance of Trump agreeing to this is roughly equal to the odds of him agreeing to post his tax returns to the White House website of his own volition. Tom Friedman of the New York Times suggested an alternative model: The last 15 minutes of the debate would consist of a neutral panel of reporters whose job it would be to point out lies. Don't bet on this being approved by the Commission and Trump. (V)

An Election Night Doomsday Scenario

Donald Trump is urging people to vote in person, not by absentee ballot. Many of his supporters say they will do that. In contrast, many Democrats are planning to vote by absentee ballot. In most states, absentee ballots are not counted until Election Day, and in some states not until the polls close on Election Day. This latter situation exists because, in those states, it is legal to cast an absentee ballot and then vote in person, in which case the absentee ballot has to be located and destroyed. In such states, counting cannot begin until all such ballots have been found and destroyed. Thus we have a situation in which many Republicans will vote on Election Day, but many Democrats will vote weeks earlier, and yet their votes won't be counted until Nov. 4 at the earliest.

A situation that seems increasingly likely now is that the returns on Election Night will show Trump and Republicans generally with large leads almost everywhere. The map could be almost completely red by midnight. But starting the next day, more results will begin trickling in, eating away at the Republicans' leads. In the course of the subsequent week or two, Joe Biden and the Democrats could gradually take the lead in many or most of the swing states. What will happen if Donald Trump and other Republicans claim victory on Election Night and say there is no need to keep counting? What will happen if Trump claims the new votes being tallied in the days following the election are all fake votes? It could be a nightmare, because voters have rarely seen anything like this.

We saw a small-scale preview of this in 2018. On election night, Martha McSally (R) led Kyrsten Sinema (D) in the Arizona Senate race. But in the days that followed, Sinema kept chipping away at McSally's lead as the hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots were slowly counted. It took a week for all the ballots to be counted, but when the counting was done, Sinema was the clear winner. Fortunately for democracy, McSally never claimed victory during the process and graciously conceded defeat when the count was done. But imagine this scenario playing out in 10 or 15 states starting Nov. 3 and not ending for a couple of weeks, involving the presidency, a dozen Senate seats, and dozens of House seats. Given the expected voting patterns, Republicans will lead all over the place, and gradually over the course of the next week or two their leads will gradually diminish. Then, one fine day, the secretary of state for each state will announce that all votes have been counted and the winners are...a bunch of Democrats. One group has called this the "red mirage."

It is not going to be very satisfying to many people and Donald Trump will be demanding 10 times an hour for a week that the counting be stopped and he be declared the winner on the basis of the in-person votes. There will almost certainly be court cases and the Supreme Court will probably be asked to rule on many of them. It could be a nightmare, with half the country refusing to accept the result. If something like this happened, the current demonstrations in Portland and Kenosha would look like a Sunday school picnic compared to what might unfold. With that said, we would like to reiterate once again that the courts would have to have some plausible legal reason to get involved. They cannot halt the counting of ballots "just 'cause." In the case of Florida in 2000, SCOTUS actually stopped a recount and not the original count. If John Roberts & Co. were to halt the initial counting of ballots cast and tallied in accordance with state law, they would effectively be aiding in a coup. The Chief Justice may be a conservative, and he may be no friend of voting rights, but he's also shown he has limits, and aiding in a coup crosses a line he's clearly not willing to cross.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) has asked the state legislature to change the law so that absentee ballots can be counted as they come in. Then the absentee ballot totals could be made public just after the polls close, allowing the winner to be called on Election Night. She also wants to get permission to contact voters who made a mistake on their absentee ballot (e.g., signed the envelope with their new married name even though they registered to vote before they were married). Republicans control the Michigan legislature and are unlikely to give her what she wants.

To get an idea of how big the effect could be, consider a Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin. It shows that among people planning to vote in person, Trump has a 41-point lead. Among people planning to vote by absentee ballot, Biden leads by 67 points. If these numbers hold, on Election Night, the networks will all be showing Trump with a massive and seemingly insurmountable lead. Then, every day for the next week as the absentee ballots are counted, the lead will get smaller and smaller until Biden takes over and ends with a substantial win, perhaps a week later. The media need to explain this to the voters over and over. Barring a landslide, this scenario is likely to happen, but few people will understand it. At least we have done our part!

Actually, pollsters could play a big role here. On Election Day and the day before, they could contact people and ask them if they have already voted absentee, and if so, for whom. Usually, the total number of absentee ballots cast will be known by election night. From the relative sizes of the in-person vote and the absentee vote and the pollsters' data on how the absentee vote went, it is straightforward to estimate how the final tally will go, long before all the absentee ballots are counted. The networks would be advised to each have a pollster and a statistician on camera on election night to explain this.

Ultimately, it is just seventh grade math. Suppose Trump's share of the in-person vote is T1 and his share of the absentee vote (according to the pollsters) is T2. Call the fraction of the total vote cast in person α. Then the fraction of the total vote cast by absentee ballot is 1 - α. The best estimate of Trump's percentage is then αT1 + (1 - α)T2. For example, if 40% of the vote is in person and Trump gets 65% of that but gets 25% of the absentee vote, then his expected percentage of the total vote is 0.4 × 65 + 0.6 × 25, which is 41% of the total vote. The main caveat here is that the polling results could be erroneous, just as all polls could be. On the other hand, one of the main sources of error—figuring out who will vote—will be much less when asking "have you already voted" than when asking "do you plan on voting?" (V)

McConnell Doubts There Will Be Another Relief Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday that he doubts there will be another coronavirus relief bill before the election. A 36-minute call between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin yesterday didn't lead to any progress. Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill in May. Republicans want a $1.2 trillion bill. Democrats are willing to meet them in the middle and go for a $2.2 trillion bill, but Mnuchin has repeatedly said "no" to that. It's his way or no bill at all.

One of the biggest differences is the $1 trillion the Democrats want to give to the states and local governments to pay the costs they have run up as a result of the virus. Another stumbling block is that McConnell insists on language that would protect businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. In practice, what this means is that if a business owner requires workers to show up for work or be fired, does not provide a safe working environment, and a worker gets COVID-19, the worker can't sue the business owner. For Democrats, this is an invitation for businesses not to provide any protection for workers at all since the law would shield them from the consequences of not doing so.

McConnell has the power to refuse to take up any bill he doesn't like. However, he also has to take into account the wishes of at least half a dozen vulnerable Republican senators who are being pounded for not doing anything to help people who are hurting. If he does nothing, the vulnerable Republicans may lose and he may become minority leader in January. If he passes a strong bill, Trump will be furious with him. Consequently, he is betting that Nancy Pelosi will cave. (V)

Pence De Facto Admits That He Was on Standby When Trump Visited Walter Reed

When asked by Fox News' Bret Baier if he was on standby when Donald Trump made an unannounced dash to Walter Reed Medical Center last year, Mike Pence could have said: "no." He didn't. Instead, he said: "I don't recall." Given that the only real function of the vice president (other than breaking ties in the Senate) is taking over when the president dies, resigns, or is incapacitated, one would think that sort of thing would be something he would remember. Pence also said: "I was informed the president had a doctor's appointment." In the middle of the night, in secret.

In doing so, Pence performed a maneuver that is technically known as "covering your ass." He is concerned that if the truth comes out later—and it could, because no doubt a number of doctors, nurses, and technicians at the hospital know how bad Trump's condition was—he doesn't want to be part of the cover-up. By refusing to state categorically that he was not put on standby, he retains credibility later if it turns out that he was. If the visit to Walter Reed was for something completely innocuous—say, Trump cut his hand and needed a couple of stitches—Pence would have stated clearly that he was not put on standby, so his lack of a denial almost surely means the story is true and something serious happened to Trump last year. For more details, we refer you to the Sherlock Holmes story about the dog that didn't bark. (V)

Outlook for Republican Women is Good in the House, Bad in the Senate

Currently, only 13 House Republicans and 9 Senate Republicans are women. In contrast, there are 88 female Democratic representatives and 17 female Democratic senators. As of January 2021, the odds are good that there will be more female Republicans in the House and fewer in the Senate.

Two female Republican representatives, Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Martha Roby (R-AL), are retiring, so the GOP has to pick up two seats just to break even. In all, 227 Republican women filed to run for the House and 90 were nominated, a new record. The downside is that many of them are running in hopelessly Democratic districts that did not attract any quality Republican men, so getting the nomination was easy. Of the 11 Republican women running for reelection, two of them, Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), are in competitive races they could lose. The other nine are safe. However, in five solidly Republican districts, the GOP nominee is a woman and expected to win. That puts the likely gain for Republican women between 1 and 5, depending on how Wagner, Beutler, and the open seats go. Of course, there could be surprises in other races. In the best case, there could be as many as 41 Republican women in the House in January, but it is very unlikely to be anywhere near that. If there is a red wave, there could plausibly be as many as 21 GOP women in the House.

One minor problem is that one of the women running in a safe district is Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is an anti-Semitic QAnon conspiracy theorist. Democrats in other districts are using her as a whipping girl to take down other Republican women by saying: "This is what Republican women are like." The same is true, to an extent, of Laura Loomer, who is probably not anti-Semitic (since she's Jewish), but is a rabid Islamophobe and may be even nuttier than Greene. Loomer has been banned by pretty much every social media platform in existence, but she still landed the GOP nomination in FL-21. That district is D+9, and incumbent Rep. Lois Frankel (D) is running for reelection, so Loomer isn't going to win. However, she is still a potential anchor around the neck of the GOP brand, like Greene. Or maybe she isn't, since Lara Trump campaigned with Loomer yesterday.

The Senate looks much worse, but first the good news for the GOP. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) is virtually certain to succeed the retiring Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), meaning +1 Republican woman in the upper chamber. Now the bad news. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) is already a dead woman walking and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) are all in competitive races. If all four lose, the number of GOP women in the Senate would drop from nine to six. If they all win, it would go up to 10, which is still only 10% of the Senate. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Opinium is a British firm that hasn't much experience with U.S. polling, so we are not so sure how seriously to take it. If it is right and Biden is leading by 13 points in Wisconsin, then the unrest in Kenosha hasn't frightened the wits out of the "suburban housewives," as Donald Trump was hoping. However, Fox News has the lead at only 8 points—which is still big. A lead of 7 points in Florida seems consistent with other polls. If even Fox News has Biden ahead by 9 points in Arizona, that doesn't look good for Trump. And Arizona has a long history of voting largely by absentee ballot, so there won't be much confusion there. (V)

State Biden Trump Start End Pollster
Arizona 49% 40% Aug 29 Sep 01 Fox News
Florida 50% 43% Aug 21 Aug 26 Opinium
North Carolina 50% 46% Aug 29 Sep 01 Fox News
Pennsylvania 49% 46% Aug 28 Aug 31 Monmouth U.
Wisconsin 50% 42% Aug 29 Sep 01 Fox News
Wisconsin 53% 40% Aug 21 Aug 28 Opinium

Today's Senate Polls

Every new poll for the Arizona Senate race is worse than the previous one for Martha McSally. She clearly has the wrong stuff and Kelly will soar into the Senate. North Carolina doesn't look so great for the GOP, either. Unless Tillis gets moving fast, the NRSC is going to cut him loose, along with McSally. How it will spend all its money in Iowa and Montana is not clear, since those are the two closest Senate races and both are cheap states to advertise in. Maybe the NRSC can hire unemployed locals to paint pictures of elephants on barns. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Arizona Mark Kelly 56% Martha McSally* 39% Aug 29 Sep 01 Fox News
North Carolina Cal Cunningham 48% Thom Tillis* 42% Aug 29 Sep 01 Fox News

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep02 Massachusetts Likes Its Incumbents
Sep02 Trump Gotta Trump
Sep02 Trump's Tax Returns Will Remain Secret for a Little While Longer
Sep02 Iowa Is Your New COVID-19 Hotspot
Sep02 Trump Trying Desperately to Salvage Big Ten Football Season
Sep02 Presidential Health Under the Microscope
Sep02 Social Security Is in Danger
Sep02 Today's Presidential Polls
Sep02 Today's Senate Polls
Sep01 Trump Reverts to Form
Sep01 Biden Takes the Show on the Road
Sep01 Sanders Is All-In for Biden
Sep01 USPS Shenanigans Look to Be Backfiring on Trump
Sep01 New Voter Registrations in Swing States Favor Democrats
Sep01 Tuesday Is Book Day
Sep01 Legal Blotter: One Win, One Loss for Trump
Sep01 Today's Presidential Polls
Sep01 Today's Senate Polls
Aug31 Is There a Trump Bump?
Aug31 Trump Unleashes Twitter Barrage
Aug31 It Is Still All about the Base
Aug31 DNI John Ratcliffe Won't Brief Congress on Election Security Anymore
Aug31 A New Battleground: Yard-Sign Theft
Aug31 Meadows: We Are Not Going to Negotiate a Coronavirus Relief Bill
Aug31 Massachusetts Primary Is Tomorrow
Aug31 When Will the Election Be Called?
Aug31 Military Won't Get Involved in an Election Dispute
Aug31 Trump Keeps Putting Himself in Danger
Aug31 What Does 5 p.m. Mean, Actually?
Aug30 Sunday Mailbag
Aug29 Saturday Q&A
Aug29 Today's Presidential Polls
Aug28 And That's a Wrap
Aug28 In Kenosha, Trump Sees Opportunity
Aug28 Team Biden Finally Does Some Counter-programming
Aug28 This White House May Not Be Transparent, but Its Motives Are
Aug28 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Breaks Left
Aug28 Japanese PM Is Out
Aug28 COVID-19 Diaries: Stasis
Aug28 Today's Presidential Polls
Aug27 Conventional, Night Three
Aug27 No Convention Bounce for Biden
Aug27 Trump Goes Dark
Aug27 What Do Trump Supporters Care About?
Aug27 "Suburban Housewives" Aren't Buying What Trump Is Selling
Aug27 LeBron James Is Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Campaign to Recruit Poll Workers
Aug27 Hundreds of Thousands of Seniors in Nursing Homes May Not Be Able to Vote
Aug27 Michigan May Mail Absentee Ballot Application to All Registered Voters
Aug27 Kanye West Failed to Qualify for the November Ballot in Missouri
Aug27 Green Party Will Not Be on the Montana Ballot