Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter shows, in a piece that's well worth your time, that President Trump is trailing "not because he's losing his 2016 base, but because he has never expanded beyond it."

By the numbers: Walter dug into the most recent national poll from the Pew Research Center (7/27-8/2) and compared it with their post-election poll in 2016 that uses official voting records.

  • Whereas Trump has roughly held his share of the vote across all segments of the electorate, Joe Biden is performing significantly better than Hillary Clinton with nearly every demographic group.

Between the lines: The article has a nifty tool you can play around with to compare Biden's performance against Trump across key demographic groups to Clinton's performance against Trump in 2016.

  • Walter's analysis shows that Biden performs better than Clinton among older voters, younger voters, white voters, college and non-college educated voters, men, women, Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Clinton, meanwhile, was slightly stronger with Black and Hispanic voters.

The bottom line: Many of these new votes are coming from people who voted third-party in 2016.

  • "According to the Pew July survey, voters who didn't support either major party candidate last election are now breaking decidedly for Biden — 55 percent to 39 percent.
  • 'This group of non-Trump/non-Clinton voters doesn't get the attention of Obama-Trump voters or suburban moms, but they are a not-insignificant portion of the electorate."

What's next: Trump's competitiveness "will come down to whether he can deepen his base," Walter writes. "That means turning out a higher percentage of his base vote and hoping that Biden and Democrats fail to meet that same level of enthusiasm with their core constituencies.”

Go deeper

Democrats' mail voting pivot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats spent the early months of the coronavirus pandemic urging their base to vote absentee. But as threats of U.S. Postal Service delays, Team Trump litigation and higher ballot rejection rates become clearer, many are pivoting to promote more in-person voting as well.

Why it matters: Democrats are exponentially more likely to vote by mail than Republicans this year — and if enough mail-in ballots are lost, rejected on a technicality or undercounted, it could change the outcome of the presidential election or other key races.

The Biden blowout scenario

Joe Biden speaks at an outdoor Black Economic Summit in Charlotte yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Joe Biden or President Trump could win the election narrowly — but only one in a popular and electoral vote blowout. 

Why it matters: A Biden blowout would mean a Democratic Senate, a bigger Democratic House and a huge political and policy shift nationwide.

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

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