Nov 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign believes it has 8-point battleground early vote lead

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign said Tuesday that it believes it has at least an 8-point advantage in battleground states after analyzing the nearly 100 million ballots that were cast early.

Why it matters: The campaign is arguing that it will be mathematically difficult for President Trump to close the gap with in-person voting on Election Day, and it's working to create the impression that a Biden victory is most likely.

  • The Biden camp also believes the former vice president can win 270 electoral votes even without Florida and Pennsylvania.
  • "That allows us to continue to have these multiple paths to victory," Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, said in a briefing with reporters.
  • "Florida is a coin toss without a doubt," she added. In the Midwest, she said the campaign believes it is "ahead significantly — by 10 points or more coming into Election Day. "

The big picture: Both campaigns are girding for post-election legal fights on contested ballots, but Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel and current Biden adviser, said that "voting is proceeding smoothly."

  • The Trump and Biden campaigns have not coordinated any potential phone call between the candidates for a concession conversation. "We’ll let the logistics play out," O’Malley Dillon said.

What we're watching: While the Biden campaign thinks it may have a good idea about the outcome, officials stopped short of saying that Biden will declare victory when he speaks this evening.

  • "You're going to hear the vice president speak as he has every single day of this campaign about leading this country forward, about unifying this country," O’Malley Dillon said.
  • But if news organizations declare Biden the mathematical president-elect, he plans to address the nation as its new leader, Axios' Mike Allen and Margaret Talev reported.

The other side: Trump has also told confidants he'll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he's "ahead," Axios' Jonathan Swan reported.

  • But while Biden would rely on news organizations making a call before any declarative statements, Trump may say he won even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.
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