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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: A easy election, a easy alternative. Three extra days to make it.

Charlie Cook/National Journal:

Don’t expect a contested election

The cone of uncertainty has narrowed considerably. Now, the question seems to be whether we’ll see a “skinny” Biden win or a landslide.

The RealClearPolitics average of national polls pegs Biden’s lead at 7.4 points, 51.1 to 43.7 percent. But that’s a less discriminating measure, including as it does some mediocre surveys, some that seemed congenitally slanted toward one side or the other, and some that would be better utilized lining hamster cages. The FiveThirtyEight modeled average of national polls, which is more selective than the RCP average but still includes some surveys that I consider rather sketchy, puts the Biden lead at 8.8 points, 52 to 43.2 percent.

I believe his actual lead is more like 9 or 10 points, based on the higher-quality, live-telephone-interview national polls conducted since the first debate, as well as the gold standard of online polling, the Pew Research Center’s mammoth poll of 11,929 voters released two weeks ago.

Any way you slice it, these are pretty good leads, considerably higher than the 3.2-point national margin that Hillary Clinton had over Trump in the RCP average on Oct. 29, 2016. When all the votes were counted, the margin ended up being 2.1 percent.

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The narrow margins could also cause the networks/cable channels to take longer than usual to call the solid Republican states, instead of doing them just after poll closing.

— Nathan Gonzales (@nathanlgonzales) October 30, 2020

Ryan Matsumoto/The Hill:

Why Biden could actually win Texas

The biggest political realignment of the 2016 election was a shift based on education. Trump made big gains with white voters without a college degree, allowing him to crack the “Blue Wall” and win Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The flipside, however, was that Clinton made big gains with white voters with a college degree, especially in Sun Belt states where they had historically been pretty Republican.

In Texas, this political tradeoff was a net negative for Republicans. Although Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016, this was a substantial underperformance compared to Mitt Romney’s 16-point margin in 2012, John McCain’s 12-point margin in 2008, and George W. Bush’s 23-point margin in 2004.

In Texas, the counties with the highest percentage of college graduates are large suburban counties in the major metropolitan areas (Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio). One key example is Collin County, which includes the upscale northern Dallas suburbs of Plano, McKinney, and Frisco. After voting for Romney by 32 points in 2012, it voted for Trump by 17 points in 2016. Two years later, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz only carried the county by 6 points in his re-election bid against Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

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In our polls the second half of this week we’ve been pretty consistently finding (modest) late movement toward Biden rather than the other way around

— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) October 30, 2020

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President (Florida)

Biden (D) 52%
Trump (R) 45%

10/28-10/29 by Public Policy Polling (B)
941 V
NOTE: partisan (D) poll

Woof woof! Can I have a treat?

Poll #135692 #ElectionTwitter

— Stella 2020 (@stella2020woof) October 30, 2020

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux/FiveThirtyEight:

Trump Is Losing Ground With Some — But Not All — White Christians

So is Biden’s plan working? Are white Christians, including white evangelical Protestants, who have been among Trump’s most loyal supporters, actually abandoning the president for Biden?

The answer depends on which white Christians you’re looking at.

Despite Biden’s claims that he can appeal to white evangelical Protestants, there really aren’t any signs that Trump is losing support among this group. But Trump may have reason to worry about his level of support among white Catholics. Politicians and the media typically pay less attention to these voters during election season, but white Catholics are especially important to watch this year because they’re a sizable group — and they’re concentrated in Rust Belt swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Trump won white Catholics handily in 2016, but there are signs that his hold on this group is slipping. That’s doubly worrisome for the president because white Christians are declining as a share of the population overall. And if overall turnout is high and he loses some support from white Catholics without making up the difference among other groups, Trump could be in trouble — even if he overwhelmingly wins white evangelicals again.

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NBC-Marist poll:

North Carolina president: Likely voters
Joe Biden 52%
Donald Trump 46%

North Carolina Senate: Likely voters
Cal Cunningham (D) 53%
Thom Tillis (R) 43%

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 30, 2020

USA Today:

Poll: Most Americans disapprove of Trump’s decision to hold massive campaign rallies during COVID-19 pandemic

It’s the most stark stylistic difference between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden: The incumbent has surrounded himself with thousands of supporters at dozens of rallies while the Democratic challenger is literally keeping his distance.

But as Trump and Biden embrace strikingly different approaches to campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll finds that nearly two-thirds of likely voters prefer Biden’s low-key strategy to Trump’s raucous fanfare.

Nearly six in 10 Americans disapprove of Trump’s decision to continue to hold large rallies during the pandemic, according to the poll, while nearly 64% approve of Biden’s decision to jettison big events in favor of much smaller gatherings.

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This was a fairly weird day for polling with a lot of volume but relatively few high-prestige polls … but it’s hard to find anything much with a favorable trendline for Trump. https://t.co/9AeTKX5o0O

— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 30, 2020

Tom Nichols/USA Today:

Why this conservative voted for Biden and you should too: Trump is a morally defective man

I’m a conservative and former Republican who did not vote based on policy. Neither should you. The 2020 election is about the moral future of America.

Don’t get me wrong: As a conservative and former Republican who has already voted for former Vice President Joe Biden, I could create an entire inventory of issues, even without the lightning strike of the pandemic, where I think Biden is a better pick for president than another four years of President Donald Trump. From budget deficits to nuclear arms control, I could easily make the case for Biden, even if I might concede that I would prefer a few of Trump’s policies (such as cutting government regulations and increasing defense spending) over any Democratic administration.

But I did not vote in this election based on policy. Neither should you. The election of 2020 is about the moral future of the American nation, and so I voted for a good man with whom I have some political disagreements over an evil man with whom I share not a single value as a human being. Trump is the most morally defective human being ever to hold the office of the presidency, worse by every measure than any of the rascals, satyrs or racists who have sat in the Oval Office. This is vastly more important than marginal tax rates or federal judges.

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Battleground polling of all voters – white, Black, Latino found the child separation issue badly hurts Trump. Because it was immoral and unethical. https://t.co/MB6wZitu8B

— Matt A. Barreto 🇵🇪 ⚽️ (@realMABarreto) October 29, 2020

Will Bunch/Philly.com:

Trump’s politicized Supreme Court has lost legitimacy. 2021’s Dems, do something!

We don’t yet know what will happen after Tuesday when the voting stops and the serious counting starts, nor is the Supreme Court’s role in determining the final outcome cast in stone — as dramatized later in the week when Kavanaugh again surprised the legal scholars by shifting gears and siding with the court’s remaining liberals to not — for now — limit the vote counting here in Pennsylvania or North Carolina, two other key states.

But even before the election is decided, we’ve already seen enough to know that Republicans have essentially politicized the nation’s highest court to a level where the judiciary can no longer be expected to fulfill its primary constitutional function, to serve as a balance and to check any abuses of power by the other two branches, the presidency and Congress. The faint echoes were there when five GOP-appointed justices twisted legal logic to halt the 2000 vote counting and declare George W. Bush the 43rd president, then ratcheted up to a volume of 11 when democracy-hating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used brute authoritarian logic to steal Supreme Court seats on either end of the Trump presidency. That’s all been against a drumbeat of rulings that have enhanced a warped notion called “corporate personhood,” while empowering billionaire donors and making it harder for historically oppressed people to vote.

All of this is causing policy wonks, including a handful of thinkers on Capitol Hill, to ask if it’s time for a radical overhaul of a court whose size and exact mission weren’t really spelled out when the Constitution was drafted in 1787.

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There were a lot of people who told me not to bother with a persuasion strategy targeted at (what I saw as) a margin of gettable Republicans and right-leaning Indy’s. “We’re too polarized,” they said.

I think it was worth bothering. Victory is in the margins. @RVAT2020 https://t.co/a35G5J5JWi

— Sarah Longwell (@SarahLongwell25) October 30, 2020

Persuasion for the win.

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See, this is why you can’t infer much about how early voting from party alone. In Florida, Ds currently have only a 2-point edge (D 40/R 38/I 22) in early + absentee voting. But if the partisan splits are as below, it would translate to Biden being ahead 56-39 with those voters. https://t.co/IYMfdmwD2A

— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 30, 2020

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