Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 30, 2020

This week we discuss early voting, the Supreme Court’s ruling on ballot deadlines, and compare the candidates’ stances on Social Security.

Share the latest from the campaign trail.


Presidential Race Ratings

Inside Elections updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Tilt Republican to Toss Up.
  • Georgia and North Carolina moved from Toss Up to Tilt Democratic.

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“For Mr. Biden, an all-in strategy could carry risks.

Mrs. Clinton was criticized for not visiting Wisconsin in the general election, even as she campaigned during the final days of the race in Arizona, which Mr. Trump ended up winning. Some of her former aides later acknowledged they put too many resources in states that wound up not being competitive.

Mr. Trump’s team during the current campaign has frequently pointed to polling in 2016 that showed Mrs. Clinton leading in the final weeks and has noted that Mr. Trump was significantly outspent.”

– Sabrina Siddiqui and Ken ThomasThe Wall Street Journal

“But I would argue that Trump and his campaign will make the same mistake they made in 2018 if they focus on an issue that is of limited interest to voters outside the two parties’ bases.  On the Friday before the midterm election two years ago, Republicans got a gift when the monthly jobs report announced that 250,000 jobs had been created, in what was then a 49-year low. Even a former economic adviser to Biden called it ‘pretty much everything you could want in a monthly jobs report.’

But rather than playing their strongest card — Trump’s historic record of job creation versus the Obama-Biden weak economic recovery — Republicans spent the weekend before the election talking about immigration and the caravans heading toward the border.  Immigration is important, but in the big scheme of things, the economy and Trump’s record-setting progress were more important to more voters. But that’s not what they heard.”

– David Winston, adviser to congressional Republicans

Week in Review

Trump on the campaign trail • On Monday, Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Trump campaigned in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.• On Wednesday, Trump held two rallies in Arizona.• On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Tampa.• On Friday, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.Biden on the campaign trail • On Monday, Biden visited Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Biden campaigned in Atlanta and Warm Springs, Georgia.• On Thursday, Biden held rallies in Broward County and Tampa in Florida.• On Friday, Biden is campaigning in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

More than 84 million ballots cast early in the general election

As of Friday afternoon, 84.7 million early votes had been cast in the general election, according to the United States Election Project.

More than 9 million ballots have been cast early in Texas, surpassing the state’s total number of votes in the 2016 presidential election. Other states at 85% or more of the 2016 turnout are Washington, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Spending in presidential election exceeds $6 billion

The Center for Responsive Politics projected that spending in the presidential election will exceed $6.6 billion, more than doubling the $2.4 billion spent in the 2016 election.

Advertising Analytics reported that Donald Trump, including joint spending with the Republican National Committee, had reserved $27.3 million in ad buys between Monday and November 3. Joe Bidenreserved $42.9 million over the same time period.

Michael Bloomberg’s PAC, Independence USA, is planning to spend $15 million on advertising campaigns in Ohio and Texas for Biden.

The pro-Trump America First placed $2.5 million in national ads to run through Election Day.

Ballot deadline cases reach SCOTUS

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin will only be counted if they are received by November 3.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to expedite consideration of a Republican challenge to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that extended the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots until November 6 for ballots postmarked by November 3.

The Supreme Court also declined to intervene in a North Carolina case, leaving the deadline for ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received by November 13.

Eighth Circuit panel grants injunction in Minnesota deadline case 

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that postmarked Minnesota ballots received after Election Day but before November 10 will be separated from other ballots until a final decision is made on whether they should be counted.

Trump, Biden on the campaign trail in Rust Belt

Donald Trump is campaigning across Pennsylvania on Saturday with events in Bucks County, Reading, and Butler.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Michigan on Saturday. He will hold a joint rally with former President Barack Obama.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Campaign Ad Spotlight

Candidates on the Issues: Social Security

What we’re reading this week

Flashback:  October 26-30, 2016

  • October 26, 2016: Hillary Clinton campaigned in Florida on her 69th birthday.
  • October 27, 2016: Michelle Obama campaigned with Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.
  • October 28, 2016: James Comey notified Congress that the FBI was reviewing additional emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private email use.
  • October 29, 2016: Donald Trump questioned mail-in voting in Colorado during a rally in the state.
  • October 30, 2016: The Presidential Mask Index, which correctly predicted the presidential winner of every election since 1996 based on Halloween mask sales, projected Donald Trump would win.