Race tightening but Biden remains on top 50 days out from election

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With 50 days to go until Election Day on Nov. 3, it still appears to be Joe Biden’s race to lose.

But the contest between the Democratic presidential nominee and President Trump has tightened over the past month. And team Trump continues to suggest that, as in 2016, the Republican is doing better than polls let on.

WHAT THE LATEST FOX NEWS POLL SAYS ABOUT THE BIDEN-TRUMP RACE

The former vice president leads Trump by 7.4 percentage points, according to an average of the latest national polling compiled by Real Clear Politics. That’s down from 7.7 points a month ago and 8.8 points two months ago.

The new average includes a new Fox News national poll released Sunday that showed Biden topping the president 51%-46% among likely voters.

The Real Clear Politics average of national polling on this date four years ago showed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by 2.3 points. Clinton led Trump by 3.2 points on the eve of the general election – and ended up winning the national popular vote by 2%.

But the race for the White House isn’t a fight for the national popular vote. Trump narrowly topped Clinton in many of the key battleground states, which helped him trounce her in the all-important Electoral College count to win the White House.

Biden has a slight 1.2 point edge in Florida, the biggest of the battlegrounds, according to an average of the latest public opinion surveys in the state compiled by Real Clear Politics. That’s down from a 4-point advantage the former vice president held over the GOP incumbent a month ago.

TOP POLITICAL HANDICAPPER MOVES TWO BATTLEGROUNDS IN TRUMP’S DIRECTION

Biden’s up by 4.3 points in Pennsylvania, down from a 5.7 point lead a month ago. He’s ahead by 4.2 points in Michigan, down from 6.3 points one month ago. And in Wisconsin, the former vice president’s leading by 6.3 points, virtually unchanged from a 6.5-point lead a month ago. Clinton led Trump in the final poll averages in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and was virtually tied in Florida – but Trump narrowly edged out Clinton in all four states four years ago.

Biden tops the president by 5.6 points in Arizona, up from 2 points a month ago. And the race is basically tied in North Carolina, unchanged from this date in August. Biden holds single-digit leads over the president in Minnesota, Nevada and New Hampshire, three states Clinton narrowly captured in 2016. Biden holds the edge in Ohio and the president’s got the slight advantage in Iowa, two competitive states Trump won four years ago. And the president holds a single-digit advantage over his Democratic challenger in Georgia and Texas, once reliably red states that are competitive this cycle.

Veteran GOP pollster Daron Shaw – who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson – highlighted that “campaigns are often about partisan homecoming. Trump may be benefiting from this dynamic.”

“It looks like Republican-leaning undecided voters have come around, both in the ballot and his job ratings,” noted Shaw, a polling veteran of numerous Republican presidential campaigns.

Fundraising is another key metric where Biden’s made up ground and appears to have the advantage.

While both candidates had impressive campaign cash hauls last month, Biden and the Democratic National Committee brought in a record-shattering $364.5 million in August, dramatically outraising the president and the Republican National Committee’s $210 million haul. Biden’s surge in fundraising this spring and summer erased Trump’s once vast cash-on-hand advantage over his Democratic challenger.

While Election Day’s 50 days away, the voting is already underway, with a handful of states sending absentee ballots to registered voters who’ve requested them.

Before the end of September, voters in nearly half the states – including the key battlegrounds of Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – will receive absentee ballots.

Separately, early voting or in-person absentee balloting gets underway in eight states, including the battlegrounds of Michigan and Minnesota, before the end of September.

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