(Bloomberg) — Democratic nominee Joe Biden will pay his respects to the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Capitol on Friday. A poll shows that voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada believe Biden would do a better job than President Donald Trump picking the next high court justice. And a legal battle over mail-in ballots rages on in Pennsylvania.
There are 40 days until the election.
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Biden to Pay Respects to Ginsburg at the Capitol
Biden will pay his respects to Ginsburg, whose body will be lying in state at the U.S. Capitol on Friday.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will also attend the ceremony.
Trump visited the Supreme Court on Thursday, where the late Supreme Court justice, who died Sept. 18, was lying in repose before her casket is transported to the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
While members of the public could pay their respects to the justice at the Supreme Court, the ceremony at the Capitol will be by invitation only.
Trump is set to announce Saturday his pick to replace Ginsburg. Biden has said that Trump’s plan to push through a nominee with a little more than a month before the presidential election was an “abuse of power,” and that the next president should choose Ginsburg’s replacement. — Jennifer Epstein and Tyler Pager
Biden Would Do Better Job Picking Supreme Court Nominee, Polls Say (7:41 p.m.)
Trump is just two days away from announcing his selection to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, but voters in the battleground states of Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania say Biden would do a better job with that choice, according polls released by Fox News on Thursday.
In Nevada, Biden is favored to make the better decision on the issue, 51% to 41% among likely voters. The Democratic presidential nominee has the advantage in Ohio, 49% to 43%, and 51% to 42% in Pennsylvania.
Trump is set to announce Saturday his pick to replace Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18. Senate Republicans hope to seat a new justice before the Nov. 3 election, potentially establishing a conservative majority on the court for a generation.
The polls also showed Biden ahead of Trump in all three states. The Democrat led 52% to 41% in Nevada, which went to Hillary Clinton in 2016. In Ohio, Biden was ahead 50% to 45%. Trump won the state handily in 2016. In Pennsylvania, which Trump narrowly won in the last election, Biden leads 51% to 44%.
The polls were conducted Sept. 20-23 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. — Max Berley
GOP Loses Again on Pennsylvania Mail-In Voting (7:06 p.m.)
The court battle about late-arriving mail-in ballots in the critical battleground of Pennsylvania shows no sign of letting up.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request by Republican legislative leaders to put off a ruling that allows ballots to be counted as long as they are received within three days after Election Day and even if they don’t have a legible postmark. Republicans said they opposed the changes because of concerns about potential fraud and confusion about changing the rules so close to the election.
The Republican leaders of Pennsylvania’s House and Senate will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court while a separate appeal of last week’s ruling is also prepared, said Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.
A separate legal dispute is underway over a state Supreme Court ruling in favor of Democrats last week that allowed drop boxes to be used for mail-in ballots and required poll watchers to live in the county where they observe the election. Trump’s campaign is suing in federal court to challenge how drop boxes can be used and allow out-of-county poll watchers.
Trump, who has claimed without evidence that there will be massive fraud in the election, has urged his supporters to volunteer to be a “Trump Election Poll Watcher.”
How mail-in ballots are handled and counted will be critical in Pennsylvania, where polls show the race between Trump and Biden is close and about 3 million mail-in ballots are expected. — Mark Niquette
Sanders Urges Progressives to Flood the Polls for Biden (5:36 p.m.)
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders urged progressives Thursday to vote for Biden in such large numbers that Trump can’t dispute the result, calling it the “best means for defending democracy.”
“It is absolutely imperative that we have, by far, the largest voter turnout in American history and that people vote as early as possible,” he said in a speech at George Washington University. “This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win.”
Sanders said Trump’s suggestion that he might not accept the results of the election poses a threat to America and that voters must push back against “chaos, disinformation, and even violence,” and “make it clear that American democracy will not be destroyed.”
Sanders, who endorsed Biden after dropping out of the primary contest in April, is a favorite of progressive voters who support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, and are not always enthusiastic about the more centrist Biden. — Magan Crane
Trump Campaign’s Use of Photo Irks Ex-Lawmaker Who Took It (4:24 p.m.)
A Puerto Rican politician is asking the Trump campaign to stop using one of his images in a television and online advertisement targeting the island’s voters in the battleground state of Florida.
Former local senator Juan Hernandez says the Trump campaign did not have permission to use a photograph he took in 2014 showing then-Vice President Joe Biden shaking hands with former Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.
The image is the opening shot of a new Trump ad called “Reconstruyendo” or “Rebuilding,” which accuses Biden of “destroying” the island and praises Trump for providing billions in aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
In a telephone interview, Hernandez said he gave Padilla’s office permission to publish the picture online in 2014, but that didn’t give the Trump campaign the right to “steal it.”
“The solution to this problem is very easy,” he said. “All they have to do is remove my picture from their ad.”
Residents of the U.S. commonwealth of 3.2 million people cannot vote in the general election, but Puerto Ricans who live on the mainland can. Some 209,000 voters in Florida were born in Puerto Rico, according to 2018 voter roll data compiled and analyzed by University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith. — Jim Wyss
Trump Overstates His Polling Support — in Alabama (2:17 p.m.)
Trump often awards himself poll numbers that don’t align with reality, but his misstatement on Alabama polls Thursday missed the mark by double digits.
In an interview with Fox News Radio, Trump claimed that polls by the Washington Post and Fox News are understating his support in battleground states like Arizona and Florida, where he is currently trailing Biden in the RealClearPolitics average.
“If they did a poll on Alabama, where I’m 38 up, they would say it’s even,” he said.
Since Alabama hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, there aren’t many polls of the state. But the few surveys that have been taken show Trump ahead by far less than 38 percentage points.
A poll in July by Auburn University at Montgomery showed 55% of registered voters in Alabama backed Trump, while 41% backed Biden — a 14-point margin. And a poll in August by Morning Consult showed 58% of likely voters in Alabama backed Trump while 36% backed Biden — a 22-point margin.
The AUM survey of 567 registered voters was conducted July 2-9. It had a margin of error of 5.1 points. The Morning Consult poll of 609 likely voters in Alabama was conducted July 24-Aug. 2 and had a margin of error of 4 points.
Nothing Seems to Shake 2020 Polls, Even a Supreme Court Fight (1:28 p.m.)
A brutal fight over the future of the Supreme Court is the latest event that appears to have had no effect on the state of the presidential race.
Along with the party conventions; an Israeli peace agreement; unrest in Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin; a potential coronavirus vaccine; and various positive and negative signs for the economy, the potential replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has barely registered in the polls.
Six days after Ginsburg’s death, Biden has increased his lead over Trump only slightly. He’s ahead by 7 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average, up 0.8 points since last Friday. And in the FiveThirtyEight average, he’s ahead by 7.4 points, up 0.7 points.
But that kind movement isn’t unusual, and the national polls are effectively in the same place they were on Labor Day.
The New York Times/Siena poll was in the middle of surveying voters in Texas, Iowa and Georgia last week when Ginsburg died, and responses before and after news of her death were unchanged. The Times reported that it “found no serious evidence that the Supreme Court vacancy has affected the race for the White House. Nor did the polls find much reason to think this would shift the race in the weeks ahead.”
It’s possible that any or all of the events could change who decides to show up to vote, but for now there’s little evidence of a change in opinions of either Biden or Trump. — Gregory Korte
Senate Candidate Spills Details on Her Ink After PAC Attack (12:22 p.m.)
Texas Senate candidate M.J. Hegar is showing off her ink as she rebuts what she says is an attempt by a super-PAC to paint her as a radical.
The Air Force veteran tweeted out a photo of herself flexing her right arm to show off a colorful cherry blossom tattoo, noting that she thinks it’s funny that a PAC used a photo of it in a negative ad.
“You think I’m ashamed of them?” she wrote. “They cover my shrapnel wounds from when my helicopter was shot down. They’re a mark of my service to our country. I’m damn proud of them.”
Hegar has hardly hid the tattoos, which were prominent in her first campaign ad in an unsuccessful House race in 2018 and are referred to in most profiles of her.
If elected, she would not be the first senator with a widely-known tattoo. Former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater had four dots and a half circle tattooed on his left hand, a symbol of a club he belonged to that claimed to be a Native American tribe in the Southwest.
Trump Hears ‘Honor Her Wish’ Instead of ‘Fill That Seat’ in Court Visit (11:23 a.m.)
Instead of “Fill that seat,” Trump heard chants of “vote him out” and “honor her wish” during a visit to the Supreme Court Thursday.
People mourning the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg booed and jeered at the president during a visit to pay his respects to the justice at the nation’s highest court, where she was lying in repose before her funeral on Friday.
A small, but vocal crowd on a street near the court who was waiting to see her casket began booing Trump shortly after he and first lady Melania Trump arrived at about 9:50 a.m. Both the president and his wife wore masks as a precaution against the coronavirus.
The crowd’s chants referred to Ginsburg’s request in her final days that her seat not be filled until a new president was in office. At recent rallies, Trump supporters have chanted “fill that seat,” a phrase that’s also now on official campaign T-shirts. Trump made no remarks during his visit.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the protests. ”I think the chants were appalling, but certainly to be expected when you’re in the heart of the swamp,” she said at a White House briefing. “I travel with the president all across the country; Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, and everywhere we go, the streets are lined with support like I don’t think any other president has had previously.”
The president plans to announce his nomination for Ginsburg’s seat on Saturday. Senate Republicans hope to seat a new justice before the Nov. 3 election, potentially cementing the court’s conservative majority for a generation. — Jennifer Jacobs and Jordan Fabian
Women Like Biden More Than Clinton (9:57 a.m.)
Women like Biden more than they did Hillary Clinton, while men are less fond of Trump than they were in 2016.
Polls conducted nationally and in battleground states show that the historic gender gap from the last election may now work in Biden’s favor.
A Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters nationwide released this week showed 58% of women backed Biden while 38% backed Trump — a 20-point advantage that is higher than the 12-point margin Clinton had among women in 2016 exit polls. At the same time, it showed Biden and Trump essentially tied among men, who backed the president by 12 points in 2016.
A New York Times/Siena College poll, meantime, showed that stronger support among women for Biden and weaker support for Trump among men was making the race more competitive in Iowa, Georgia and Texas, three Republican states that Trump easily won in the last election.
The gender gap is not new in presidential races. The majorities of women and men have preferred different candidates for president in every election of the last 20 years except 2008, when men were equally divided between Barack Obama and John McCain, according to data from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
The Quinnipiac poll of 960 likely voters nationwide was conducted Sept. 8-13. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. The New York Times poll conducted from Sept. 16-22 had a margin of error of 4 percentage points for Texas and five for Iowa and Georgia.
Pence Defends Campaign Rallies That Defy Health Rules (8:20 a.m.)
Vice President Mike Pence defended holding mass rallies, saying the Trump campaign trusts the governors whose public health rules it is regularly violating.
In an interview with ABC News Wednesday, Pence was shown a photo tweeted by the president showing thousands of tightly packed rallygoers in Pittsburgh in a clear violation of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s directive that outdoor events be limited to 250 people.
“We’ve trusted governors in our states, and most importantly we’ve trusted the American people,” said Pence, the former governor of Indiana.
The Trump campaign has held mass rallies that violate public health rules set by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, all Democrats.
In addition, Trump has personally feuded with Sisolak and Cooper over the health rules in their states, arguing that they are politically motivated and designed to hurt his campaign.
“You know the governor of your state tried very hard to stop us from having this event tonight,” Trump said at a recent rally in Nevada, as the crowd booed.
Sisolak’s office denied any efforts to single out the rally for special treatment or prevent it from taking place. Other Nevada venues that the Trump campaign sought to hold the rally either canceled or turned it down, citing the governor’s May directive limiting large gatherings.
Romney Chides Trump for Rhetoric That Began With His Loss
When election night started looking bad for Mitt Romney in 2012, Trump said the election was “a total sham and a travesty” and called for protests in the streets and, in a tweet he later deleted, “a revolution.”
But after Trump made similar comments about the potential for his own loss in November, Romney chided him for going too far.
“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Romney tweeted late Wednesday night, referencing recent protests in the former Soviet republic. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Trump, who is behind in national polls as well as in all six battleground states, has repeatedly said that it is not possible for him to lose the election unless it is rigged, and declined again on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transition of power, a feature of American democracy since 1800.
Although the two are no longer on good terms, Trump endorsed Romney in 2012 and was upset on election night when it appeared that Romney might win the popular vote while losing the Electoral College.
“We should have a revolution in this country!” he tweeted.
Schwarzenegger Will Personally Pay to Reopen Polling Centers
Arnold Schwarzenegger will use some of his profits from the box office to pay for more ballot boxes.
The former California governor sent a letter Wednesday to 6,000 elections officials in states formerly covered by the Voting Rights Act offering to personally give them money to reopen polling centers.
Administered through the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California, the grants will be offered on a nonpartisan basis to counties that demonstrate the greatest need, he said.
“This country gave me everything, and I truly believe this could be one of the best investments I have ever made,” he said. “All of us can do our part to give back and fight for equality.”
Schwarzenegger announced the grants after publicly mulling the issue in tweets earlier this month in which he linked to a report that Southern states have closed more than 1,200 polling places since the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
“Is closing polling stations about making it harder for minorities to vote, or is it because of budgets?” he wrote then. “If you say it’s because of your budget, let’s talk.”
Third-Party Candidates Aren’t Making a Dent in the Polls
Whether Trump or Democrat Joe Biden loses in November, he’ll only have himself to blame, as third-party candidates seem much less likely to play spoiler this year.
In a recent national poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgenson picked up 5% support, half what previous nominee Gary Johnson got in a similar Marist poll in September of 2016.
Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins, meanwhile, picked up 2% support, roughly half what previous nominee Jill Stein had in the same poll.
Marist is one of the few pollsters that asks about third-party candidates by name, since other pollsters believe that tends to overstate their support, instead offering “someone else” as an option.
But it doesn’t appear to make much of a difference this year. Biden currently has a 6.8 percentage-point lead over Trump in the Real Clear Politics average of four-way polls of the presidential election and a 7.1 point lead in two-way polls.
The Marist poll of 732 likely voters across the country was conducted Sept. 11-16. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.3 percentage points.
Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The first presidential debate will be held on Sept. 29 in Cleveland. The moderator will be Chris Wallace of Fox News.
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