Oct 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign adviser: Battleground state polls matter most in race against Biden

Allen Cortes, senior adviser to the Trump campaign
Photo: Axios

Battleground state polls "matter the most" in this election, Trump's campaign adviser Steve Cortes said during an Axios virtual event on Friday, adding that those numbers illustrate a closer race than the national polls show.

Why it matters: Biden's national lead against Trump has widened to double digits, but the former vice president holds a narrower advantage in states needed for an Electoral College victory, such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

By the numbers: The RealClearPolitics' national polling average shows Biden with a roughly 9-point lead over Trump.

  • The data aggregator's gauge of polls in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina — all battleground states — has Biden leading the president by around 4 points.

What they're saying: "It's most important, I think, for us to highlight to our supporters, to everybody, that battleground state polls are what matter most," Cortes said. "And when you look at battleground state polls — yes, it does show us down but down by really small margins, certainly margins that we can capture in the next few weeks."

  • "You know, in politics, things can change by the hour, by the day. So, while the clock is ticking, we also have a lot of time to make sure that all those battleground states are indeed in play.
  • "And I think team Biden knows that as well. You know, in reality, they don't believe that they are up double digits nationally. We certainly don't believe that. And again, it's not a national election. It's a state by state election."

The other side: Some members of the Biden campaign aren't celebrating public polling, including Jen O'Malley Dillon, the former VP's campaign manager.

  • "There is still a long way to go in this campaign, and we think this race is far closer than folks on [Twitter] think. Like a lot closer," she tweeted this week.

Of note: Biden's campaign out-raised Trump by $150 million in August and posted a record-breaking $383 million haul for the month of September.

Go deeper: Why the polls could lead us astray again

Watch the News Shapers event here.

Go deeper