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Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden has gained a more than 20 point lead over President Trump among voters ages 65 and older, two separate polls — one from CNN and one from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal — found.

Why it matters: Senior citizens are America's most reliable voters — and a group that's been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden's gains with seniors just weeks before Election Day could give him an edge in voter turnout.

  • The polls also came after the first presidential debate last week, wherein Trump was criticized by moderator Chris Wallace for constantly interrupting Biden and going over time.

By the numbers... Among survey respondents 65-years-and-older, CNN found 60% of voters in favor of Biden and only 39% in favor of Trump. NBC found that seniors backed Biden 62-35 against Trump.

  • NBC found Biden with a 14-point lead among all registered voters against Trump.
  • CNN found Biden with a 16-point lead against Trump.

Between the lines: National polls are one thing, but the election is more likely to come down to a handful of swing states.

  • Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and more are on both candidate's watch lists headed into the final days of their campaigns.

Methodology: CNN surveyed 1,205 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.3%. NBC surveyed 800 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.5%.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Oct 29, 2020 - Science

Pandemic scrambles Americans' acceptance of science

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic is throwing a wrench into Americans' understanding of science, which has big implications for climate change.

Driving the news: Recent focus groups in battleground states suggest some voters are more skeptical of scientists in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while surveys reveal the persistence of a deep partisan divide.

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Friday had already reached 61.7% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.