The Race Appears to Be Tightening

Trump has 'stopped the bleeding' and is gaining back some ground
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2020 9:29 AM CDT
The Race Appears to Be Tightening
In this July 28 photo, Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the William "Hicks" Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Del.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Joe Biden is still ahead in the polls, but his lead appears to be shrinking. The average of polls at RealClearPolitics has Biden up by 6.4 points, down from 9 points a few weeks ago, reports Bloomberg. Coverage:

  • Briefings: Trump's new campaign chief, Bill Stepien, credits the bump to the resumption of the president's daily briefings on the coronavirus, where he generally pushes an upbeat tone on the battle. He "happens to be the leader of the free world, and anytime he steps behind a podium as he does every night unlike Joe Biden, it gets covered and it matters and it’s noteworthy and it’s a needle mover,” Stepien tells Bloomberg. He predicts that the "hidden Trump vote"—people who support the president but are reluctant to tell pollsters—will again propel the president to victory.

  • Improvement: Polling expert Harry Enten at CNN also takes note of the trend. Yes, Biden still leads, but Trump's "position is no longer deteriorating." This applies to battleground states and national polling. "We're not talking about a big improvement by any stretch," he adds. "Rather, it's that Trump's position has stabilized and perhaps improved a few points." In short, he has "stopped the bleeding," and that's enough to keep him within striking distance in such an unusual year.
  • Biden gaffes: Axios reports that Biden had to release a statement Thursday night walking back comments he made about minorities. The original comment: "Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things." The subsequent walk-back: "In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all." (And that's after he made a "junkie" comment to a Black reporter.) The incidents highlight Democrats' concerns about Biden's off-the-cuff comments, per Axios.
  • War games: Nearly 70 political strategists, law professors, former US officials and the like conducted a four-day "war games" exercise over Zoom to examine how the aftermath of the November race might play out. The results weren't pretty, reports USA Today. "We assess with a high degree of likelihood that November's elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape," the Transition Integrity Project, organizer of the experiment, says in a new report. Short version: Don't expect a winner on election night, but do expect a lot of lawsuits.
  • The VP pick: All of the above puts even more focus on Biden's coming selection of a running mate. Right-leaning SE Cupp writes in the Daily News that she's willing to vote for Biden, depending on his pick. "His vice president will not just be a Biden rubber stamp, but a guiding force in his administration, and potentially his replacement." In Cupp's view, she'd vote Democratic if he chooses Kamala Harris, but not Susan Rice. (Those seem to be the two front-runners.) And at this point, "homeboy can't pick a white VP," one Democratic operative tells Axios.
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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