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Data: Real Clear Politics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Joe Biden's resurgence to become the Democrats' presumptive nominee is opening new paths to defeat President Trump, swing-state polls show.

The big picture: If Biden can keep his current leads over Trump in general-election matchups, it could create opportunities for pickups of three big states — Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

  • That's without hurting Dems' chances to take back Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the key wins that sent Trump to the White House in 2016.

The Real Clear Politics national polling average shows that either Biden (+5.9%) or Sanders (+4.2%) would have been positioned to defeat Trump if the election were held today, but the role of the Electoral College means the results will come down to a handful of key states.

  • Sanders' endorsement of Biden on Monday shows a quick turn toward unity for Democrats. In 2016, it took Sanders until July to endorse Hillary Clinton.
  • It's still too early to know whether the coronavirus pandemic will make voters more or less likely to rally around Trump come November or what the impact will be on voter turnout in those key states. A number of the surveys that comprise these polling averages were done pre-pandemic.

By the numbers: Of the states that held primaries before the pandemic paralyzed the country, Biden ran up margins in the places that will matter most in November.

Florida would be the big general election prize, with 29 electoral votes. Polls show it's the biggest reach for Biden — but it's also the most crucial for Trump to keep.

  • The RCP average puts the state at essentially a draw right now, with Biden leading Trump by 0.4 percentage points. In matchups against Sanders, Trump led by an average of 4.3 percentage points.
  • Included in that average is a recent, robust UNF poll of 3,244 registered voters conducted in the first week of April that gave Biden a 6-point advantage over the president.
  • Trump doubled down on his ties to the state by moving his official residency to Palm Beach in October.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' slow coronavirus responses have the potential to hurt Trump in November if voters associate infections, deaths or economic pain more broadly with Republican leadership.

Between the lines: These state-by-state polls come during a period of relative popularity for Trump. Gallup surveys show his approval in the first few months of 2020 in the highest range of his presidency.

Yes, but: State polls have a shoddy track record in forecasting Trump's performance.

  • Clinton had a 55% chance of winning Florida in 2016, according to FiveThirtyEight's pre-election forecasts. She was also given more than a 75% chance to win each of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • She lost all four.

What they're saying: A Trump campaign official argued that the polling averages don't reflect reality because a number of them incorporate surveys that are only as recent as February or early March.

  • Said Trump campaign spokesperson Erin Perrine: “Any inclination that polling 7 months ahead of Election Day is an accurate predictor of outcome is ridiculous. Just ask pollsters in 2016 how their predictions worked out for them."
  • A Biden aide said the campaign has been encouraged by his performance throughout the primary season in areas that Democrats flipped from red to blue in the 2018 midterms.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Donald and Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.

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