Voting against Trump fueling Biden support in key states

The latest CBS News Battleground Tracker poll found that the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading President Trump in Michigan by six points, and Mr. Trump has a slight 1-point edge in Ohio, where he won by 8 percentage points in 2016.  An analysis by Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Elena Cox in the CBS News Elections Unit found that the president leads across the country among voters who support using federal agents in U.S. cities, those skeptical of the Black Lives Matter movement, and those who continue to downplay the impact of the virus. But more Americans are very concerned about the coronavirus and support the goals of the protests, and Biden leads among these voters. A majority of Biden’s support in Michigan and Ohio comes from people who are against Mr. Trump rather than for Biden.

Among likely voters nationwide, about 7% who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 now say they are for Biden. By contrast, just 2% of Clinton voters are now switching to Mr. Trump. Even though these are small numbers, the difference is a big reason Biden is cutting into Mr. Trump’s margins, especially among White voters. The Battleground Tracker found that although Mr. Trump continues to lead White men, it is by a much narrower margin than in 2016 in both Ohio and Michigan.

In Michigan, about 58% of registered voters said Mr. Trump has done a “bad job” of handling the coronavirus outbreak, and 44% believe the Trump administration has hurt Michigan’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, on the other hand, has a 64% approval rating from Michigan registered voters for her handling of the coronavirus outbreak in her state. Neither Biden nor Mr. Trump has a big edge on the economy, but Mr. Trump does relatively better on economic matters in Ohio than Michigan. About 50% of Ohio registered voters believe Mr. Trump’s policies are helping the economy, and 42% think Biden’s policies would help. In Michigan, 47% of registered voters believe in Mr. Trump’s policies compared to 45% who would support Biden’s. On reopening schools, most Americans, as well as most voters in Michigan and Ohio either want a partial reopening of schools or for schools to remain closed.  

Eighty-three percent of Americans approve of Congress passing additional legislation that would provide funds to people and businesses impacted by the outbreak. Support extends across party lines: majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents all approve.

The survey also found that many Americans would approach a coronavirus vaccine carefully. Only 30% of Americans would get a vaccine “as soon as possible,” 50% said they would consider getting it but wait to see what happens to others, and 20% said they would never get one. Political ideology plays into the responses. About 45% of liberals say they’d get one immediately compared to just 20% of conservatives. A third of conservatives said they’d never get one.

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Biden started his week on a somber note by traveling to Washington to pay respect to Congressman John Lewis at the Capitol. In April, Lewis endorsed Biden’s presidential candidacy and encouraged him to pick a woman of color as his running mate, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. With 99 days to go until the November election, Biden’s campaign is placing new advertising focus in an additional state—Nevada. Biden’s campaign says its latest ad rollout marks a return to Nevada’s airwaves for the general election, as part of a “more than $14.5 million” buy across the country in television and digital spots, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. The new spending comes as President Trump’s campaign has boosted his own ad spending in the potential swing state, over the past days booking nearly $7 million of new TV and radio time for the coming months in Nevada. And as August approaches, so does the partly virtual Democratic National Convention scheduled three weeks from now. In a potential warm up to how this convention could operate, the campaign organized a high-quality virtual fundraising concert this weekend hosted by Jay Leno with appearances by John Legend, Barbra Streisand, Sara Bareilles and other celebrities. The event raised more than $760,000 dollars. 


President Trump dismissed his declining poll numbers at an official White House visit in Morrisville, North Carolina Monday, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports. “I think the poll numbers we have are very good,” he told reporters gathered at a coronavirus briefing at Bioprocess Innovation Center. “When you look at it but as the same thing four years ago, I was losing everywhere. I had poll numbers that said I wasn’t going to win any state. I ended up winning every one of them. You know the swing states — I wasn’t gonna win any of them and I won all of them. And I have the same thing, this year.” Mr. Trump pointed to boaters donning Trump flags and “bikers for Trump” as measures of campaign enthusiasm. “When you have bikers for Trump with the lines that are miles long on highways going along on weekends, I think there’s more spirit now than there’s ever been for my campaign, and that includes 2016.”

In the wake of canceled GOP convention festivities in Jacksonville, Florida, the president said he is “really happy” that the official business of the Republican National Convention will still be conducted in North Carolina. “We’re actually coming to North Carolina, as you now. And we’re having a very major — I guess that would be the nomination night. That will be Monday, they’re going to be here,” Mr. Trump said. “The rest we’ll do in a different form.”

Mr. Trump has made at least two other visits to North Carolina this year, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports. In March, he held a rally in Charlotte on the eve of the Super Tuesday primary, where he won 93% of the vote though turnout was down more than 300,000 votes when compared to the state’s 2016 Republican presidential preference primary. The president’s March rally came just three weeks before Governor Roy Cooper issued a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19. Though the state has announced that K-12 schools will re-open for in-person and remote learning in the fall, there are more than 114,000 reported cases throughout the state putting North Carolina among the top 10 states with the highest number of reported cases. An NBC/Marist poll released Monday shows 54% of surveyed North Carolina voters disapprove of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president while 58% approve of the job that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is doing. This same survey shows Joe Biden ahead of Mr. Trump by 7 points among registered voters in North Carolina.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that the FDA has cleared the way for the first phase-3 clinical trial on a vaccine for the coronavirus, reports CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar. The clinical trial will take place at 89 sites across the country and 30,000 Americans have signed up to participate. “We have a goal of literally manufacturing literally hundreds of millions of doses by this fall and to have them available by next year,” the vice president said, adding that the federal government is also in the process of procuring over one billion needles and syringes for the delivery of the vaccine. Pence thanked the Americans who have volunteered to participate in the trial and evaluates the safety and effectiveness of any vaccine. Pence said companies like Moderna and Pfizer are not waiting until the end of the clinical trials or final approval from the FDA to begin manufacturing doses of the vaccine. The vice president said the vaccine will be developed and ready so that as soon as the FDA has issued final approval, the government can begin distributing it to the American people. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said data from the clinical trials will determine who will get the vaccine first and that the CDC will take the lead on distribution.  


There will be strict health protocols for attendees at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month, including daily testing and mask requirements, CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster reports. According to health protocols released on Monday by the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC), any participants with a credential to the convention site will need to agree to daily testing for COVID-19 and wear masks at the convention campus. People traveling from outside of Milwaukee are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test before departing and attendees will have to confirm negative test results before entering the convention’s “health and safety zone” for the first time. The DNCC is also asking out-of-town visitors to self-isolate for at least 72 hours before heading to Milwaukee or before the first trip into the “health and safety zone.” That area will encompass the Wisconsin Center building and workspaces within a perimeter established by the U.S. Secret Service. There will also be strict PPE requirements inside the convention campus, including wearing a mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth at all times. Eye protection, such as goggles or a face shield are also strongly recommended by the DNCC. In addition to daily testing, attendees will have to confirm via a questionnaire that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and did not come into contact with anyone known to be infected with the virus. “Ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved with the convention is our top priority. After consultation with public health officials, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) will implement robust health and safety protocols that will govern the convention’s in-person activities and keep attendees safe before and during the convention,” DNCC communications director Katie Peters said in a statement.

Separately, CBS News has learned that the Democrats’ convention will feature programming from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time each night from August 17-20. The program will include live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other locations. While the program and final list of speakers is still being finalized, a source familiar with the planning says the Obamas and other top Democratic surrogates are slated to be involved in the convention. The Democratic National Committee announced in June that the event in Milwaukee would be a scaled back in-person convention and advised state delegations that they shouldn’t plan to travel to Milwaukee. Earlier in July delegates were given instructions about voting remotely, which is slated to open up next week.


The University of Notre Dame has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) confirmed Monday, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga.  The campus in South Bend, Indiana, was slated to host the first of three debates between President Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on September 29.

In a letter to the Notre Dame community, university president Father John Jenkins wrote “in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw.” In a press release, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic will now co-host the debate in two months, to be held at the Health Education Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. The commission recruited Cleveland Clinic earlier this year to serve as an adviser for health security for all four presidential match-ups.

According to a statement, the Cleveland Clinic will work with Samson Pavilion to reduce audience size, create distance between seats and implement measures to disinfect, dependent on the pandemic’s toll in Cleveland.

Last month, the University of Michigan withdrew from hosting the second presidential debate. That debate, on October 15, will now take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The third debate will be on October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. The vice presidential debate is slated for October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.



In a release on Sunday, the Biden campaign says they have recruited “over 1,500 regular volunteers” in Arizona as they ramp up for the election season’s final 100 days, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Backing the growing volunteer operation will be “close to 200” paid staff according to Congressman Ruben Gallego, a top surrogate for the campaign in the state. “That is, by the way, unheard of in the history of Democratic politics in Arizona,” Gallego tells CBS News. Republicans in Arizona are also touting their own “largest ground game in party history,” overseen by a paid staff numbering “more than 80” that has been organizing in the state for years.


The Texas Democratic Party announced a seven-figure digital ad investment on Monday, as they adapt their original plan to try and flip the state blue up and down the ballot in November. CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports that the digital ads will initially focus on attacking Republican Senator John Cornyn, as well as registering voters across all communities and getting them out to vote. 

As with many state parties, any grand plans about on-the-ground efforts before the election have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, Texas Democrats were aiming to put 1,000 field organizers on the ground. But due to the pandemic, they’ve changed to a full out digital approach for connecting with volunteers and candidates and utilizing their voter database. They’ve also launched specified community organizing initiatives to reach certain demographics of voters as they try to register 2 million new Democrats in the state. “To win Texas, we knew that we must innovate our organizing program and ensure that we are keeping up with the challenges that coronavirus has brought to us,” said the party’s Coordinated Campaign Director Brooklynne Mosely.

Texas and national Democrats have consistently pointed to changing demographics in suburban areas as a reason the state could flip. The most recent CBS News battleground tracker has the state as “Leans Republican” and Mr. Trump and Biden in a dead heat at 49%. In addition to Cornyn’s race, the Democratic House campaign arm has targeted multiple Congressional seats that saw closer-than-expected margins in 2018, and the state party is also trying to flip the state House before redistricting in 2021. 



Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy participated in a debate Sunday night as the days before the September 1 Democratic Senate primary count down, reports CBS News associate producer Eleanor Watson. Markey and Kennedy participated in several debates earlier in the season and have two more to go before the primary. Like past debates, Kennedy and Markey argued over who was more progressive and who could get more done in Washington. Kennedy’s pitch to voters is that Massachusetts needs a senator in Washington that will come back to voters in Massachusetts; Kennedy accuses Markey of spending more time in Maryland than with constituents in the commonwealth. Markey has run on his progressive credentials like his sponsorship of the Green New Deal and his endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Markey raised slightly more than Kennedy in the most recent fundraising quarter and has more cash on hand, but the most recent public polling had Kennedy up by a few points ahead of the summer.

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