Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.

  • "We used to think Pennsylvania would be harder to secure and Wisconsin was in the bag. Now it's vice versa," a Trump campaign adviser said.
  • But remember: Trump won both in 2016. If Wisconsin slips, he has to make up the numbers elsewhere.

What we're hearing: The campaign sees the "path of least resistance" running through Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and some combination of Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota and Nevada, sources close to the campaign tell Axios.

  • The apparent gains in Pennsylvania come amid Trump's anti-Biden messaging on fracking and trade, as well as law-and-order rhetoric that aides believe plays well with the state's white, working-class voters.

A smart analysis from FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakich details how the entire election could hinge on Pennsylvania:

  • "Pennsylvania is so important that our model gives Trump an 84 percent chance of winning the presidency if he carries the state — and it gives Biden a 96 percent chance of winning if Pennsylvania goes blue."

In September alone, six of the Trump campaign's top surrogates have been deployed to Pennsylvania, including Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr. (twice) and Vice President Mike Pence.

  • Trump will make his third visit to the state this month on Tuesday, for a rally in Moon Township.
  • “Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are both in our plans, which you can tell by the travel schedules of both the president and vice president," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios. "Just like in 2016, President Trump will win Wisconsin and Pennsylvania despite what pundits and prognosticators spout.”

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Biden looks to stem oil "transition" furor amid GOP attacks

Former Vice President Joe Biden. ANGELA WEISS / Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is looking to blunt attacks in response to his comments in Thursday night's debate about a "transition from the oil industry," as Republicans look to make the remarks a liability in the closing days of the race.

Driving the news: Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo, in comments circulated to reporters Friday afternoon, said the former VP "would not get rid of fossil fuels," but wants to end subsidies.

The final debate

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.