Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 7th, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Candidates by the Numbers

Notable Quotes of the Day“How the new VP candidate is rolled out is also an important test. Even if you believe my theory that the VP pick only matters for a few days, those few days are very important. Developing a showcase announcement tour that highlights the strengths of the candidate and how they both complement and reinforce each other is both a messaging challenge and a cultural test of how well the running mates and their respective staff members can work together. McCain and his staff had significant problems dealing with Palin and her staff. On the flip side, the bus tour out of the Democratic convention in 1992 cemented the generational change both Clinton and Gore were aiming to convey.”

Joe Lockhart, CNN

“The real margin of error is often about double the one reported. The notion that a typical margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points leads people to think that polls are more precise than they really are. Why is that? For starters, the margin of error addresses only one source of potential error: the fact that random samples are likely to differ a little from the population just by chance. But there are three other, equally important sources of error in polling: nonresponse, coverage error (where not all the target population has a chance of being sampled) and mismeasurement. Not only does the margin of error fail to account for those other sources of potential error, it implies to the public that they do not exist, which is not true.

Several recent studies show that the average error in a poll estimate may be closer to 6 percentage points, not the 3 points implied by a typical margin of error. While polls remain useful in showing whether the public tends to favor or oppose key policies, this hidden error underscores the fact that polls are not precise enough to call the winner in a close election.”

Courtney Kennedy, Pew Research Center

Week in Review

Biden makes $280 million in ad reservations in 15 battlegrounds

Joe Biden reserved $280 million in advertising—$220 million for television and $60 million for digital—that will target Donald Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The ads will air in 15 states, including 10 that Trump won in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, and Ohio.

The Biden campaign released a national ad targeting Black voters on Thursday. “And just like our ancestors who stood up to the violent racists of a generation ago, we will stand up to this president and say, ‘No more,’” the ad’s narrator says.

Trump, Club for Growth attack Biden in new ads

Donald Trump resumed airing ads on Monday with a focus on early voting states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Trump tweeted, “We are doing a new ad campaign on Sleepy Joe Biden that will be out on Monday. He has been brought even further LEFT than Crazy Bernie Sanders ever thought possible.”

The Trump campaign also released a new Spanish-language ad that connects Joe Biden and progressive policies to socialism in Latin America.

Club for Growth is launching a $5 million advertising campaign in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin attacking Biden for opposing emergency parental choice grants for school. The ad will begin airing on August 10 and run for three weeks.

Trump, RNC top Biden and DNC in July fundraising

Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Wednesday that they raised $165 million in July, topping the $140 million raised by Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the same month.

Trump and the RNC ended the month with more than $300 million on hand, while Biden and the DNC had $294 million.

Trump sues Nevada for mail-in ballot program, praises Florida’s process

The Donald Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against Nevada after the governor signed a bill that would automatically send mail-in ballots to active voters.

Trump tweeted, “In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”

He said that he supported mail-in voting in Florida. “Over a long period of time, they’ve been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states,” he said.

Biden will not appear in Milwaukee to accept Democratic nomination

The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that Joe Biden and other speakers will not travel to Milwaukee for the national convention. Biden will instead accept the nomination from Delaware.

West receives help from some Republicans in ballot access campaign

New York Magazine reported that one of Kanye West’s electors in Vermont, Chuck Wilton, is also a delegate to the Republican National Convention. Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, was listed as West’s point of contact in Arkansas.

Republican attorneys and activists in Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin have also been involved with West’s ballot access campaign.

When asked if his campaign was a spoiler since he would not be on enough ballots to win 270 electoral votes, West responded, “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.” On potentially hurting Biden’s chances in the race, West said, “I’m not denying it; I just told you.”

Hawkins loses ballot access suit in Ohio

The Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday that ballot access laws in Ohio were not unconstitutionally burdensome given the coronavirus pandemic. Howie Hawkins and independent candidate, Dario Hunter, had filed the suit for ballot access relief.

Debate commission rejects Trump’s request for fourth debate

Representing the Donald Trump campaign, Rudy Giuliani sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates requesting a fourth debate be held in early September before states begin sending out absentee ballots. If not, Giuliani said the third debate should be moved from October 22 to the first week in September.

The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump campaign’s request to add a fourth debate or alter the schedule. “While more people will likely vote by mail in 2020, the debate schedule has been and will be highly publicized. Any voter who wishes to watch one or more debates before voting will be well aware of that opportunity,” the commission’s co-chairs said.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Ad Spotlight

Candidates on the Issues

What we read this week

Flashback: August 3-7, 2016

  • August 3, 2016: Hillary Clinton placed campaign chair John Podesta and senior adviser Minyon Moore in charge of her White House transition operation.
  • August 4, 2016: The Green Party began its national convention in Houston.
  • August 5, 2016: U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) endorsed Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.
  • August 6, 2016: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka received the Green Party’s nominations for president and vice president., respectively.
  • August 7, 2016: John Kasich said the Trump campaign had contacted his aides about his interest in running for vice president.