Trump and Biden blanket the Midwest on final weekendOctober 31, 2020
Donald Trump and Joe Biden are dashing across the Midwest as the presidential race enters the final weekend, with Trump narrowing his focus to Pennsylvania on Saturday and Biden stumping in Michigan alongside his old boss for the first time this year.
Trump captured both states by less than a percentage point apiece four years ago. This year, Democrats are keen to devote as much attention to them as possible after getting caught off guard in 2016 — hence Barack Obama’s return to a state he twice carried handily.
Before appearing with Biden in Michigan, Obama has headlined three events himself for Biden’s campaign, tearing into Trump in Philadelphia, Miami and Orlando, Fla. The former president has said his successor has shown little interest in doing the job, or “helping anybody but himself and his friends, or treating the presidency as anything more than a reality show that can give him the attention he craves,” as he told a small, socially distanced crowd in Florida this week.
Florida is the biggest prize among the core battleground states. But this weekend’s schedule is a reminder that the clearest path to the White House runs through the Great Lakes states. Flipping Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin delivered Trump the presidency in 2016, and he and Biden both know that those states are likely to tip the balance in 2020, too.
Today on the trail: Trump barnstorms Pennsylvania
The brunt of Trump’s remaining schedule is geared toward winning Pennsylvania and Michigan. The president was outside Detroit on Friday and will return to Washington, Mich., on Sunday and before traveling Monday to Traverse City and Grand Rapids, the site of his final rally for the campaign four years ago.
But Saturday is about Pennsylvania. Trump starts his day in Newtown, a borough in Bucks County in the Philadelphia suburbs, where Biden wants to run up the score with college-educated and diverse voters.
Trump then stops off in southern Pennsylvania before heading west to Butler, where he’s trying to convince voters that Biden will harm the local economy by taking an antagonistic stance toward hydraulic fracturing, contending mining industries would be “totally extinguished” under the Democrat’s administration. “We think Pennsylvania’s looking fantastic,” Trump said Friday. “If Pennsylvania didn’t frack, you wouldn’t have Pennsylvania, believe me.”
Trump is set to finish the day in Lycoming County. Monday, he’ll be in Biden’s hometown of Scranton.
Obama takes the field for Biden
Biden will turn to Pennsylvania later this weekend, after Trump’s four Saturday rallies there. But first, he is heading to Detroit and Flint, Mich. For drive-in rallies Saturday afternoon and evening with Obama.
While Biden has led by about 4 to 5 percentage points in the polling averages for Pennsylvania, he has maintained a sturdier lead in Michigan. But he’s focusing late on making sure Black voters there are energized, after turnout went down sharply in Detroit and Flint in 2016.
Biden then plans to speak in Philadelphia on Sunday before blanketing Pennsylvania on Monday with running mate Kamala Harris and their spouses.
Latest polls still show Biden in a stable lead
A couple of new polls out late Friday and early Saturday show the presidential race in, more or less, exactly the same position it has been.
The latest Muhlenberg College/Morning Call survey in Pennsylvania has Biden up 49 percent to 44 percent, right in line with Biden’s lead in the FiveThirtyEight polling average.
Meanwhile, a new Fox News national poll had Biden at 52 percent and Trump at 44 percent, in line with the outlet’s previous surveys. Trump could still win despite his wretched public polling numbers — but he’d need an even bigger polling error than the one before his surprise 2016 victory.
Bloomberg’s Florida blitz escalates
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s mega-millions ad campaign to help Biden win Florida continued Saturday with another three TV ads airing around the state. One of them castigates Trump for holding rallies during the pandemic and links them to rising case counts in Florida. Another uses Obama’s recent speech in Florida to urge voter turnout on Biden’s behalf. And a new ad in Spanish features former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and his mother urging people to vote for Biden.
On the other side, Preserve America, the GOP super PAC funded by megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, has a new ad out attacking Biden on taxes and calls out the length of his political career.