The battle for the presidency is hitting the road.
In several instances over the last few days, supporters of President Trump have disrupted traffic. In Texas on Friday, Trump supporters surrounded a Biden campaign bus, and in New York and New Jersey on Sunday, Trump supporters halted traffic on two major highways.
On Sunday, the F.B.I. said it was investigating the Texas incident, which Mr. Biden described as an effort to run his team “off the road.”
But Mr. Trump defended the Texas drivers in a post on Twitter on Sunday night, saying, “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”
And his spokesman, Jason Miller, when asked about the New York and New Jersey incidents, made a similar plea, saying that he was more concerned with “downtown Washington businesses having to board up their windows in anticipation of lawless, violent Biden supporters rioting and looting on Tuesday night.”
During the Texas incident on Friday, multiple vehicles bearing Trump flags and signs surrounded a Biden-Harris campaign bus heading from San Antonio to Austin, forcing the Biden campaign to scrap two events, according to reports by Democratic officials.
“We are so much better than this,” Mr. Biden said during a campaign stop in Philadelphia on Sunday. “It’s not who we are. And we got to change it.”
Then, on Sunday, caravans of Mr. Trump’s supporters blockaded the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Garden State Parkway, snarling traffic on two of the busiest highways in the New York metropolitan area just two days before Election Day.
Videos taken by motorists showed the president’s backers parked in the middle of the westbound lanes of the bridge, which carries Interstate 287 across the Hudson River and is named for the father of the current governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.
A number of them exited their vehicles in the rain and waved Trump banners and American flags as motorists honked their horns.
The episode happened around midafternoon, with the caravan lining up on the interstate’s shoulder in Tarrytown, N.Y., before driving onto the span, which replaced the Tappan Zee Bridge and connects Rockland and Westchester counties.
State Senator David Carlucci, a Democrat who represents Rockland County, called the blockade on the bridge “aggressive, dangerous and reckless,” with individuals “causing danger to themselves and others.”
“The New York State Police should be working to identify these individuals and charging them,” Mr. Carlucci said. “We all have the right to show support for a presidential candidate, but we do not have the right to endanger others and break the law.”
William Duffy, a spokesman for the New York State Police, said that troopers had monitored the protest, but that there were no arrests.
“The bridge was never shut down,” Mr. Duffy said, adding that traffic had been restored. Traffic had been briefly halted three times, according to the state police.
In New Jersey, a caravan of Trump supporters snarled traffic on the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway near the Cheesequake Service Area in South Amboy, according to videos and local media reports.
New Jersey State Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sunday’s disruptions came amid rising tensions over the election.
In Georgia, Democrats said they decided to hold a virtual news conference instead of an in-person event in Floyd County, where they intended to criticize Mr. Trump for holding a large rally in the county seat, Rome, during the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic officials said they opted not to hold an in-person event because they were concerned about a possible “large militia presence” in town, drawn by Mr. Trump’s rally.
“He seems to be pouring fuel on fire of fear and hatred,” said Wendy Davis, a Democrat and city commissioner in Rome. “We have reason to believe that there might be people looking for trouble today and our friends in law enforcement were busy protecting the president here locally as they should have been. Out of an abundance of caution, we said, we’re going to de-escalate.”
Joseph R. Biden Jr. began a major push in Pennsylvania on Sunday with two events in Philadelphia, in a final effort to shore up his strength in a state that could determine the outcome of the election.
“My message is simple: Pennsylvania is critical in this election,” Mr. Biden said at a “Souls to the Polls” event at Sharon Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon and again at a drive-in rally that evening.
“Every single vote matters,” he added, noting that President Trump had won the state in 2016 by only about 44,000 votes. “The power to change this country is literally in your hands.”
During his drive-in rally, Mr. Biden attacked Mr. Trump along familiar lines, criticizing his botched response to the coronavirus pandemic, his threat to overturn the Affordable Care Act, his denial of climate change and his standing in the world.
“He’s Putin’s puppy, that’s who he is,” he said. “Donald Trump’s not strong, he’s weak. He commands virtually no respect on the international stage.”
And in an especially biting broadside that drew honks and applause from the crowd, he said the way to combat the pandemic was to oust Mr. Trump from office. “The truth is, to beat the virus, we’ve first got to beat Donald Trump. He’s the virus,” he said.
“We need to get every soul in Philadelphia to the polls,” he said, urging voters to get their absentee ballots to a drop box “as soon as you can” if they still had one or to vote in person on Election Day.
Shortly before the “Souls to the Polls” event, the Biden campaign announced that it was launching a full-court press across five media markets in Pennsylvania in the final hours of the presidential election.
Mr. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Senator Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will fan out across the state on Monday, with Mr. Biden heading west while Ms. Harris concentrates her efforts in the eastern part of the state. Mr. Biden and Dr. Biden will conclude the day with a drive-in rally with Lady Gaga in Pittsburgh; Ms. Harris and Mr. Emhoff will hold a drive-in rally with John Legend in Philadelphia on Monday night.
Mr. Biden’s campaign said that the four will be seeking to engage the range of constituencies that make up the Biden coalition, including Black voters living in big cities, younger voters and white moderates in the suburbs, while seeking to cut into Mr. Trump’s base of white working-class voters.
“This campaign isn’t just about turning out the base or growing support with persuadable voters — it’s always been about both, and then some,” the campaign said in a statement.
President Trump continued to rumble through a planned five-rally barnstorming tour on Sunday, leaving in his wake a heap of falsehoods, jokes, threats, closing arguments and complaints about the blustery Midwestern weather blowing “directly” in his face.
At his third stop of the day, addressing a massive crowd in Hickory, N.C., as the sun set, Mr. Trump summoned the central theme of his 2016 victory — the dangers of immigration, reciting a favorite poem, “The Snake,” that warns of a “tenderhearted woman” (the United States) who rescues a snake (an immigrant) only to be bitten.
His propensity for distorting the facts followed him from state to state, with a straining schedule that included five battlegrounds in all — Michigan, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. At his second stop, in Dubuque, Iowa, he repeated his discredited claim that the country is “turning the corner” on the coronavirus and that a safe vaccine will be widely available in the next few weeks.
He will repeat his marathon-at-a-sprint pace on Monday, with another five-rally day.
At his first event on Sunday, a relatively subdued appearance in Michigan, he made a series of false claims that he saved the auto industry.
Taking the stage in the city of Washington, while dramatically bracing himself against the wind, Mr. Trump thanked Michigan for voting for him four years ago, and told the crowd: “I gave you a lot of auto plants, I think we’re even.”
In fact, auto industry employment in Michigan dropped by about 3,000 in 2019, according to PolitiFact.
Mr. Trump also embraced the actions of some of his supporters in Texas who surrounded a Biden campaign bus on Friday, in an apparent attempt to slow it down and run it off the road. Mr. Trump claimed the vehicles, which bore Trump flags and signs, were “protecting” the Biden campaign bus “because they are nice.”
In Michigan, a state Mr. Trump won four years ago by less than 1 percent, a recent New York Times/Siena poll showed him trailing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. by eight points.
Now, the state is part of the principal battleground region of the country. On Sunday, Mr. Trump maintained that he had more enthusiasm behind his campaign than Mr. Biden did. “They went as a twosome, and they had less people,” he said of a joint appearance Mr. Biden made in Michigan on Saturday with former President Barack Obama.
Yet for all his bravado, the president let in the slimmest sliver of self-doubt at his North Carolina stop. Mr. Trump said that “geniuses” on his staff had told him to cancel the Hickory trip, but he overruled them. Then when discussing the polls there, which are tight, he started a sentence, then cut himself off.
“I should be up by — Can you imagine?” he said.
In Hickory and at his fourth stop later in Rome, Ga., Mr. Trump appealed to Black voters, accusing Mr. Biden of having “viciously and repeatedly attacked Black Americans” by pursuing anti-crime legislation.
“To every Black American, I’m asking you to go out and vote,” Mr. Trump said in Georgia.
The president’s fifth and final event on Sunday is a late-night rally in Opa-locka, Fla., that could run afoul of a midnight curfew in Miami-Dade County that was imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The mayor’s office said it had gotten assurances that the rally would end in time, but by 11 p.m. Mr. Trump had still not appeared.
The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied an effort by Republicans to throw out more than 120,000 votes that had already been cast at drive-through locations in Harris County, leaving Republicans’ only remaining option at the federal level.
The ruling from the court came without comment.
The effort to get rid of the votes from largely Democratic Harris County now hinges on a nearly identical effort at the federal level, where a judge has called an election-eve hearing for Monday.
The lawsuit contends that the 10 drive-through voting sites in Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, are operating illegally and are arranged in locations that favor Democrats.
The system was put in place for the first time this year by Chris Hollins, the Harris County clerk, with unanimous approval by county commissioners, after being tested in a pilot program over the summer.
More than 127,000 voters have cast ballots at the sites and the number could grow to more than 135,000 through Election Day on Tuesday, said Susan Hays, a lawyer for Harris County. She said county officials planned to vigorously challenge the suit, which she described as an act of “voter suppression.”
“It’s nuts,” she said. “Votes should count.”
Democrats were hopeful on Sunday that the decision from the Texas Supreme Court, which leans conservative, would bode well for their battle at the federal level.
The case will be heard Monday morning by Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
In a motion on Friday asking to intervene in the case, Democrats said it threatened to “throw Texas’ election into chaos by invalidating the votes of more than 100,000 eligible Texas voters who cast their ballots” at the drive-through sites. The motion was filed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the campaign of M.J. Hegar, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
The plaintiffs, who include State Representative Steve Toth and the conservative activist Steve Hotze, argue that drive-through voting “is a violation of state and federal law and must be stopped.”
In a telephone interview on Saturday, Mr. Toth said that only the legislature had the authority to implement a drive-though voting system. He also said the arrangement of the sites was tilted toward Democratic voters, noting that Mr. Hollins is vice chairman of finance for the Texas Democratic Party.
“If Hollins is really concerned that everybody is accurately represented, why is it that nine of the 10 are set up in predominantly Democratic areas?” said Mr. Toth, who represents part of neighboring Montgomery County.
He denied that the lawsuit was aimed at blunting Democratic momentum amid record rates of early voting in Houston and other strongly Democratic areas in the last days before the election.
“We’re not the ones who are disenfranchising anybody,” he said. “This is Hollins who did this.”
In a statement on Twitter on Saturday, Mr. Hollins said drive-through voting “is a safe, secure and convenient way to vote. Texas Election Code allows it, the Secretary of State approved it, and 127,000 voters from all walks of life have used it.”
He said his office was “committed to counting every vote cast by registered voters in this election,” and that voters would be notified if court proceedings required them to take any additional steps.
Delays in the delivery of mail-in ballots have worsened in the final days leading to the election, records released by the Postal Service as part of a court order show, intensifying criticism of an agency that is led by a top campaign donor to President Trump.
The processing scores — a metric used by the Postal Service for when a piece of mail is collected to when it is scanned at a destination plant — fell for four straight days from 97 percent on Oct. 28 to just below 91 percent on Oct. 31 nationally for ballots returned by voters to election offices.
The scores were substantially lower in several battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina, which postal officials attributed to the weather and postal workers not being available because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, the processing score for ballots was 64 percent in Central Pennsylvania and 78 percent in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. In Detroit, it was just under 79 percent, while it was less than 76 percent in the mid-Carolinas and just under 80 percent in Greensboro, N.C.
Postal officials played down the processing scores in filings on Sunday in U.S. District Court in Washington. The court had ordered the release of the mail delivery data as part of a lawsuit filed by several voters against Mr. Trump and the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who has donated $1.2 million to the president’s campaign coffers since 2016.
The officials said the Postal Service was taking several steps to address delays, from processing ballots mailed to different postal districts as Express Mail when it would expedite their delivery to paying overtime and hiring additional employees.
Tens of millions of voters have turned to voting by mail to avoid casting ballots in person because of the pandemic.
RAY, Mich. — Business has picked up at Irwin Patterson’s makeshift roadside Trump store with the election drawing closer, his Trump-branded hoodies, lawn signs and flags emblazoned with “Blue Lives Matter” selling at a good clip. As of noon on Sunday, he guessed he’d seen about 100 customers.
All of this, Mr. Patterson said, pointed to a “landslide” for President Trump on Tuesday, even if the polls are saying something quite different.
“In Michigan here, just our little part of Michigan, the support that we see here is just insane,” he said, as windblown snow pelted his customers. “I mean, for the last month and a half, it’s just been off the hook.”
He was certainly not embellishing about his corner of Macomb County in the southern part of the region known as Michigan’s “thumb,” where every other house and business seemed to be displaying a show of support for Mr. Trump. Whether that support can help the president overcome renewed enthusiasm for Democrats and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in other, larger communities nearby is another issue entirely.
One customer, Lisa Bradley, a figure skating instructor from nearby Shelby Township, said she was still surprised at how many neighbors reveal themselves as Trump supporters when asked. “I find that when they say ‘the silent majority,’ I totally believe that,” Ms. Bradley said.
Ms. Bradley and others who flocked to Mr. Patterson’s store on Sunday morning had hoped to share something of a communal experience at a rally Mr. Trump was holding about a mile away. But they were forced instead to settle for presidential merchandise rather than laying eyes on the president himself because snarled traffic and road closures kept them from reaching the venue.
“It’s like a bonding,” she said. “It’s kind of cool to have that, you know, that’s why I wanted to go to his rally so bad. It’s like, isn’t it nice to feel like you’d be excited again to be American?”
She and the other customers turned a trampled lawn into the site of an impromptu Trump rally of their own after spotting the flapping Trump flags and racks of Trump gear from the road. Ms. Bradley also was unequivocal in her confidence that Mr. Trump would win re-election. “There’s a lot of people,” she said, who have mostly kept quiet about their vote “because we don’t want to jeopardize our jobs.”
But Macomb County, whose independent-minded, white working-class voters helped define the term Reagan Democrat, voted for President Barack Obama twice before swinging hard back into the Republican column in 2016. Mr. Trump won it with 54 percent of the vote.
Then, in a sign of renewed strength for the Democrats, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won the county in 2018. But few seemed to be willing to accept that Mr. Trump could lose Michigan or the presidential election. They said they just weren’t seeing the same excitement about Mr. Biden.
And they suspect that fraud will be to blame if somehow the president loses. Alex Kuhn, an information technology analyst who drove in from neighboring Oakland County, cited reports he had seen in conservative media outlets about ballots being thrown in a river and “waste bins full of Trump votes.”
“There’s so much with mail-in fraud happening right now,” he said. “The best possible thing for anyone to do is just to vote in person, with a mask on.”
Mr. Patterson, who estimated that about 80 percent of his neighbors in Macomb were supporting Mr. Trump, said he would also be suspicious of a Biden victory.
“I’ll think that they tampered,” he said. “I honestly will.”
Joseph R. Biden Jr. released a list of 817 campaign bundlers on Saturday night — his top fund-raisers who gathered at least $100,000 for his presidential campaign and for joint party operations, in addition to their own giving — revealing a swell of support from major financiers that has helped him surpass President Trump’s fund-raising.
The list included big names in Hollywood (Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film producer), influential figures in the legal world (Brad Karp, the chairman of the Paul Weiss firm), Wall Street leaders (Hamilton E. James of Blackstone) and associates of Mr. Biden (Mark Angelson, the vice chair of the Biden Foundation before it suspended operation).
The biggest two states for bundlers, by far, were California, which had 195, and New York, which had 112. The Washington area was also heavily represented, with 83 bundlers in the District of Columbia, 38 in Maryland and 32 in Virginia.
Mr. Biden released his list on Saturday evening, after more than 90 million Americans had cast their ballots. Mr. Trump has never released a list of bundlers, which is not legally required but which every Democratic presidential candidate dating back to 2004 has done.
The Biden campaign, which has collected checks worth more than $700,000 in its joint committee with the Democratic National Committee and state parties, did not include donors who made $100,000-plus contributions themselves, but only those who raised at least that much from others.
As of the end of September, $100,000-plus donors had contributed nearly $200 million to Mr. Biden and his joint operations with the Democratic Party.
Saturday’s disclosure was Mr. Biden’s first in the general election. The last time Mr. Biden released a list of his bundlers was in December 2019, when he announced 235 people who had collected at least $25,000 for his campaign.
Mr. Biden’s campaign also tracks higher levels of bundlers. The $100,000 threshold is the second lowest to qualify to be on the campaign’s national finance committee. The top level, a “Biden Victory Partner,” is reserved for donors who raise at least $2.5 million, followed by “Delaware League” ($1 million), “Philly Founder” ($500,000), “Scranton Circle” ($250,000), “Unifier” ($100,000) and “Protector” ($50,000).
For weeks, President Trump and his allies have been laying groundwork to challenge the results of the election if he loses. Now, they have settled on a closing argument with no basis in history or fact: that ballots should not be counted past election night.
“We should know the result of the election on Nov. 3, the evening of Nov. 3,” Mr. Trump said on Sunday, during a wind-raked rally in Dubuque, Iowa, in which he repeated a flurry of falsehoods. “That’s the way it’s been, and that’s the way it should be.”
That is not true, it is not possible, and it never has been so. No state ever reports final results on election night, and no state is legally expected to.
Earlier on Sunday, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, made a remarkably blunt version of the same argument.
“If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe that President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral, somewhere in that range,” Mr. Miller said on ABC. “And then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election.”
Mr. Trump’s statement is part of an end-of-campaign effort to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, that includes encouraging his supporters to engage in voter intimidation.
Democrats — and many nonpartisan observers — believe that Mr. Trump will appear to be ahead on election night in swing states that report in-person votes before mail-in votes, because Democrats are disproportionately voting by mail.
Comments like Mr. Miller’s insinuate that fully counting mail-in votes will constitute an attempt to “steal” the election. But if states were to stop counting after Nov. 3, it would be an extraordinary subversion of the electoral process and would disenfranchise millions of voters who cast valid, on-time ballots.
In Pennsylvania, election officials are expecting 10 times as many mail-in votes as in 2016, Kathy Boockvar, the head of the Pennsylvania State Department, said on NBC on Sunday. That makes a longer count inevitable.
“But having said that, I want to be clear that elections have never been called on election night,” Ms. Boockvar said. “This is a process, and we want to make sure that every single vote of every valid voter is securely and accurately counted.”
Speaking in North Carolina on Sunday, Mr. Trump criticized the Supreme Court for allowing election officials in Pennsylvania to accept absentee ballots for three days after Election Day. The extra time is seen as necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic and delays in mail service.
Mr. Trump indicated that he wasn’t willing to wait that long in Pennsylvania.
“We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” he said.
“If people wanted to get their ballots in, they should have gotten their ballots in long before that,” he added.
BENSALEM, Pa. — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign is making Pennsylvania a top priority for volunteer efforts in the final full weekend of the election, directing supporters from out of state to flood into the critical battleground — including for the door-to-door canvassing that for months the campaign had avoided.
The Biden campaign said that volunteers had knocked on more than 350,000 doors on Saturday and made two million calls and sent 1.5 million text messages to voters in the state.
Polls have shown Pennsylvania is the closest of the three Rust Belt states that President Trump flipped four years ago. And fewer early ballots have been cast in Pennsylvania compared with other swing states, meaning far more votes are still up for grabs.
According to the U.S. Elections Project, there were still nearly 400,000 absentee ballots that had been requested by Democrats but remained unreturned as of Sunday.
A Biden campaign adviser said the state was a particular late focus — Mr. Biden himself was making multiple stops in the state on Sunday, and both he and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, planned to visit the state on Monday — because such a large share of the electorate here is expected to vote on Election Day.
The Trump campaign has touted its ground operations and door-to-door canvassing as providing a critical edge this fall.
The Biden campaign had avoided door-to-door canvassing in Pennsylvania, or elsewhere around the country, for most of the year, seeking to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This weekend, as canvassers grabbed materials at a kickoff site in Bucks County, a suburban area outside Philadelphia that narrowly went for Hillary Clinton four years ago, they were subject to a temperature check by volunteers wearing ponchos in the rain.
Across the state, the Biden campaign had more than 50 such staging locations for canvassers, including 10 in Philadelphia and 15 in the four suburban counties that surround the city.
Among the surrogates who came to the state on Sunday to get out the pro-Biden vote was Andrew Yang, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, who was making three stops around the Philadelphia area.
“I would have gone anywhere in the continental U.S.,” Mr. Yang said, but for the Biden campaign “Pennsylvania very quickly was at the top of their priority list.”
Among his stops was the Koreatown neighborhood of Cheltenham to rally support for Mr. Biden among Asian-Americans, who are about 4 percent of the electorate in Pennsylvania. “Historically they’ve voted at lower levels than other communities,” Mr. Yang said, adding, “Asian-Americans could very well be the swing vote in Pennsylvania.”
DULUTH, Ga. — The multicultural makeover of the Atlanta suburbs that has eroded so much Republican advantage in Georgia was evident Sunday in the signs on display at Senator Kamala Harris’s rally in a Gwinnett County parking lot. They declared, “Vietnamese Americans for Biden.” And “Latinx for Biden” and “Todos Con Biden” and “Desis for Biden Harris,” a reference to people with origins in the Indian subcontinent. They were in Spanish, and Chinese.
Gwinnett County is at the heart of an emerging Georgia that speaks different languages, cooks different barbecue (sometimes), and represents a big advantage for the Biden-Harris ticket this year. Though Mr. Trump won Georgia by five percentage points in 2016, current polls show the race in a dead heat.
Some Republicans in the state have acknowledged that the party’s problems could extend beyond 2020 if they do not find a way to speak to the state’s minority contingent, who may eclipse whites as a majority by 2028.
Standing outside Infinite Energy Center, an arena about a half-hour’s drive from downtown Atlanta, Ms. Harris leaned hard into the idea that the Trump administration did not have the best interests of minorities at heart. She noted that Mr. Trump had questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship, maligned Mexican immigrants, entertained the idea of banning Muslims from entering the United States, and called white nationalist protesters “fine people.”
“Georgia, we are better than this,” Ms. Harris said. “We deserve better than this!”
Enrique Reyna, 42, a construction worker who moved to Georgia from San Diego a couple of years ago, said that Hispanic groups had been canvassing the suburbs intensely, and finding an eager audience, particularly given the Trump administration’s controversial efforts to stem illegal immigration. “Kids in cages, man,” he said. “That pissed off a whole lot of people.”
After Ms. Harris’s speech, a few dozen supporters stood alongside a busy thoroughfare waving signs and eliciting honks of support from passers-by. Among the sidewalk crowd was Rosemary Gabriel, 51, a hairstylist from Nigeria. Sometimes, she said, she feels the kind of “tribalism” in the United States that she was accustomed to, and dismayed by, in Nigerian politics. “I’m tired,” she said, “of all the noise.”
In the final weekend before Election Day, the Biden campaign is making a last push to drive turnout among Asian-American voters, a fast-growing demographic group that could play a role in deciding contests in crucial swing states.
More than 11 million Asian-Americans are able to vote this year, making up roughly 5 percent of the nation’s eligible voters. A third of registered Asian-American voters, more than two million in total, live in 10 key states, including Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
About 44 percent of Asian-American voters identify as Democrats, compared with 23 percent who identify as Republicans, according to a survey conducted by AAPI Data, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. And Mr. Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris — who is Black and South Asian — as his running mate has energized many in the Asian-American and Indian-American communities.
Aware that the Asian-American vote could matter on the margins, particularly if any of those swing state contests prove to be tight, the Biden campaign on Saturday released a 60-second video featuring Asian-American celebrities, as well as an updated list of more than 1,100 Asian-American and Pacific Islander leaders who have endorsed him.
“We’re extremely proud of our micro-targeted messaging and individualized outreach to the A.A.P.I. community, so that we not only feel represented in the campaign, but also empowered and inspired to be a part of it,” said Dennis Cheng, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign.
But while a majority of Indian-Americans and Japanese-Americans identify as Democrats, 48 percent of Vietnamese-Americans identify as Republican or Leaning Republican, according to the Asian-American Voter Survey. And their votes could be critical in some House races, like in California’s 39th district where Young Kim, a Korean-American and a Republican, is challenging the Democratic incumbent, Gil Cisneros.
The Trump campaign has also done a number of virtual and in-person events, as well as voter registration drives, targeting Asian-Americans in various languages. “Asian-Americans, myself included, have consistently supported candidates who advocate for a safe and strong America,” said Ken Farnaso, the campaign’s deputy national press secretary.
Some Asian-Americans have chosen to focus on turnout, engagement and outreach. Ismailis Rise Up, a group of Ismaili Muslims in the United States, has trained more than 150 organizers across the country to run advocacy teams in key battleground states and swing districts that have sizable Ismaili populations.
“On a fundamental level, we understand we have to be our own advocates,” said Senya Merchant, one of the co-founders of the group. “When it has come to this point where democracy is at stake, we actually are not afforded the opportunity to stand by and just sort of wait to see what happens.”
In three key states, early voters, campaign volunteers and 2020 candidates readied on Sunday for the culmination of an extraordinary election season:
Hundreds of people on Sunday morning tuned in to an online worship service streamed by the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once helmed the pulpit and whose current senior pastor, the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, is a leading Democratic candidate for the Senate in Georgia.
“Make sure, this Tuesday, that you go to vote,” Dr. Warnock said. “If you’ve already voted, I want you to reach out today to your friends and your family and ask, ‘Have you voted? Can I help you? Do you need a ride to the polls?’ Let’s make sure that everybody gets to the polls.”
Dr. Warnock then handed off his digital lectern to the Rev. Robert Michael Franklin Jr., a president emeritus at Dr. Warnock’s alma mater, Morehouse College.
“If there is a Trump-Pence victory, we will comport ourselves with dignity and determination, even if the weight of disappointment may seem heavy,” he said. “We will patiently challenge every apparent wrongdoing in all elections. We may be loyal opposition, but we will ultimately accept legitimate outcomes.”
Residents of Philadelphia, where the police killing of a Black man prompted street protests and confrontations less than a week ago, said Sunday that they feared a new round of demonstrations after Nov. 3, regardless of which presidential candidate appears to have won.
“I think there will be unrest regardless of whichever candidate is in the lead,” said Caitlin Foley, 36, a physician who voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr. “There is still a lot of anger and unhappiness related to the recent shooting. People are upset and scared and frustrated.”
Regardless of the outcome, the city’s election machinery will work as it should, said David Thornburgh, chief executive of the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan nonprofit group that works to ensure the integrity of elections. “I continue to be confident that we’ll be OK,” he said.
Lake County, Ohio, has long been a bellwether county in a bellwether state. A middle-class, mostly white suburban area just east of Cleveland, the county has voted for the winner in all but two presidential elections since 1960.
Races in Lake County have been close in recent presidential elections, but President Trump blew that tradition away four years ago, beating Hillary Clinton there by more than 15 percentage points. The question this year is whether that result was an outlier, or if the area’s aging population is tilting steadily to the right.
The views over the weekend outside the Lake County Board of Elections in Painesville were, of course, varied.
“We haven’t changed at all,” said Lisa Hudson, a Republican county volunteer. “This county has gone red and will stay red.” She added, “The national polls are all wrong.”
About 50 yards away was Ann Reiss, passing out Democratic Party material. She said the current feeling in Lake County was “less disillusionment than there was four years ago,” a good sign for Democrats.
Amira Randolph, 15, and about 25 other young people braved strong wind and near-freezing temperatures on Sunday to encourage people in Milwaukee’s Near South Side to turn out and vote. Wearing masks, the canvassers stepped back six feet after ringing doorbells.
One resident, Maribel Piña, accepted information on voting from Ms. Randolph, but then deferred to her son, Rodolfo Geron, 19, who is more fluent in English.
Mr. Geron, a student at Carroll University in Waukesha, was glad for the reminder. “I was planning to vote today, yeah,” he said, adding that he would cast a ballot for Joseph R. Biden Jr. “I watched the debates, and Biden aligns with what I believe in, too, along with the change I want in this country.”
The canvassing effort is led by Youth Empowered in the Struggle, or YES, a multicultural group that is part of Voces de la Frontera Action, a Milwaukee nonprofit that advocates immigrant, student and workers’ rights.
Many of the students who were canvassing were Hispanic, like Katherine Villanueva, 16, who said her year-round involvement in the teenage group helped her overcome the anxiety she felt growing up in a family with mixed immigration status.
Other teenagers, like Fatoumata Guisse, 15, whose parents are Muslim and immigrated to Milwaukee from Senegal, joined the effort recently. “It’s important to vote and for youth, this vote is for our future,” Ms. Guisse said. “So why not go out and encourage people to vote?”
— Sean Keenan, Jon Hurdle, Daniel McGraw and
President Trump’s election night party will be held in the East Room of the White House, and aides are discussing inviting roughly 400 people, according to two officials familiar with the discussions.
The party had been moved from the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, the original venue chosen by the campaign, in part because of rules in Washington prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people indoors to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, what had initially been expected to be a small gathering in the East Room has ballooned into a large indoor party with several hundred people expected.
The event is certain to raise questions about safety, given that the coronavirus spreads more easily in indoor spaces. An event on Sept. 26 for Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, at which people were bunched together both indoors and outside in the Rose Garden, was widely seen by health experts as a point of spread of the virus.
A White House official and a spokeswoman for the first lady, whose office oversees the East Wing of the complex, did not respond to requests for comment. A campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign announced on Saturday that he would address the nation on election night from Wilmington, Del.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a vulnerable Trump ally from South Carolina, on Sunday suggested that any young woman in America can “succeed” — if they oppose abortions, support religion and embrace a “traditional family structure.”
Mr. Graham’s remark came three weeks after he made comments seen as an attempt to dictate the political rules of engagement on racial matters, saying that Black people “can go anywhere in this state” as long as they are “conservative” and not liberal.
“I want every young woman to know there’s a place for you in America if you are pro-life, if you embrace your religion and you follow a traditional family structure — that you can go anywhere, young lady,” said Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who is facing a surprisingly strong challenge from Jaime Harrison, a Democrat, who is Black.
“First @LindseyGrahamSC said that Black folks can do anything in SC… as long as they’re conservative,” Mr. Harrison wrote in a Tweet early Sunday. “Now he says young women can have a place in America if they’re pro-life and come from ‘traditional families.’ Any other requirements we should know about, Lindsey?”
Mr. Graham, speaking at a campaign event in Conway, S.C., made the comments after praising Justice Amy Coney Barrett as an example for other women to follow.
“You know what I like about Judge Barrett? She’s got everything,” the senator said. “She’s not just wicked smart, she’s incredibly good. She embraces her faith,” Mr. Graham said at an outdoor rally while he paced the stage in a baseball cap.
An email to Mr. Graham’s spokesman was not immediately returned.
But a person close to the senator said he was simply suggesting that a woman who held Justice Barrett’s conservative views could succeed, rather than setting preconditions for all women to succeed.
Mr. Graham holds a narrow lead over Mr. Harrison in recent polls, but has suffered from the same political afflictions that have plagued Mr. Trump — the defection of white suburbanites, a massive gender gap and overwhelming opposition from Black voters.
At times, his folksy, frank and freewheeling style — which has endeared him to reporters in Washington — has backfired back home.
“If you are a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal,” Mr. Graham said during a candidate forum on Oct. 10.
President Trump began the fall campaign rooting for, and trying to orchestrate, a last-minute surprise that would vault him ahead of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
A coronavirus vaccine. A dramatic economic rebound. A blockbuster Justice Department investigation. A grievous misstep by a rival he portrayed as faltering. A scandal involving Mr. Biden and his son Hunter.
But as the campaign nears an end, and with most national and battleground-state polls showing Mr. Trump struggling, the cavalry of an October surprise that helped him overtake Hillary Clinton in 2016 has not arrived.
That has left Mr. Trump running on a record of an out-of-control pandemic, an economy staggered by disease, and questions about his own style and conduct that have made him a polarizing figure.
Some events that flashed across the political landscape gave Mr. Trump’s political circle hope for a lift: an opening on the Supreme Court, street protests that the president sought to blame on Democrats and even his three-day hospitalization with the coronavirus, which some advisers had hoped might make him more empathetic.
None of it appears to have made a difference. If anything, the come-and-go nature of what seemed like earth-moving moments underlined the central and fundamentally stable dynamics of the race. Opinions about Mr. Trump are largely set.
More than anything, the race was defined by the pandemic that exploded into the public consciousness in March and that Mr. Trump has struggled to manage as both a health care and a political issue.
Born amid made-up crowd size claims and “alternative facts,” the Trump presidency has been a factory of falsehood from the start, churning out distortions, conspiracy theories and brazen lies at an assembly-line pace that has challenged fact-checkers and defied historical analogy.
But now, with the election two days away, the consequences of four years of fabulism are coming into focus as President Trump argues that the vote itself is inherently “rigged,” tearing at the credibility of the system. Should the contest go into extra innings through legal challenges after Tuesday, it may leave a public with little faith in the outcome — and in its own democracy.
The nightmarish scenario of widespread doubt and denial of the legitimacy of the election would cap a period in American history when truth itself has seemed at stake under a president who has strayed so far from the normal bounds that he creates what allies call his own reality. Even if the election ends with a clear victory or defeat for Mr. Trump, scholars and players alike say the very concept of public trust in an established set of facts necessary for the operation of a democratic society has eroded during his tenure with potentially long-term ramifications.
“You can mitigate the damage, but you can’t bring it back to 100 percent the way it was before,” said Lee McIntyre, the author of “Post-Truth” and a philosopher at Boston University. “And I think that’s going to be Trump’s legacy. I think there’s going to be lingering damage to the processes by which we vet truths for decades.”
Joseph R. Biden Jr. holds a clear advantage over President Trump across four of the most important presidential swing states, a new poll shows, bolstered by the support of voters who did not participate in the 2016 election and who now appear to be turning out in large numbers to cast their ballots, mainly for the Democrat.
Mr. Biden, the former vice president, is ahead of Mr. Trump in the Northern battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as in the Sun Belt states of Florida and Arizona, according to a poll of likely voters conducted by The New York Times and Siena College. His strength is most pronounced in Wisconsin, where he has an outright majority of the vote and leads Mr. Trump by 11 points, 52 percent to 41 percent.
Mr. Biden’s performance across the electoral map appears to put him in a stronger position heading into Election Day than any presidential candidate since at least 2008, when in the midst of a global economic crisis Barack Obama captured the White House with 365 Electoral College votes and Mr. Biden at his side.
Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely voters from Oct. 26 to Oct. 31.
Mr. Trump’s apparent weakness in many of the country’s largest electoral prizes leaves him with a narrow path to the 270 Electoral College votes required to claim victory, short of a major upset or a systemic error in opinion polling surpassing even the missteps preceding the 2016 election. Should Mr. Biden’s lead hold in three of the four states tested in the survey, it would almost certainly be enough to win, and if he were to carry Florida, he would most likely need to flip just one more large state that Mr. Trump won in 2016 to clinch the presidency.
In the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Biden has a modest advantage in Florida, where he is ahead of Mr. Trump by three points, 47 percent to 44 percent, a lead that is within the margin of error. He leads by six points in both Arizona and Pennsylvania. In no state did Mr. Trump’s support climb higher than 44 percent.
The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points in Wisconsin and Florida; 3 points in Arizona and 2.4 points in Pennsylvania.
He has been dragged into both campaign debates, where President Trump misrepresented his positions on the pandemic. He has been featured prominently — and out of context — in a Trump re-election ad. And he has been openly derided by his own boss as a “disaster.”
Now, it seems, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious expert, may have had enough.
As Mr. Trump toured the country assuring Americans that the U.S. has “turned the corner” on the coronavirus, Dr. Fauci looked ahead to the coming winter and declared that “you could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with The Washington Post published on Saturday.
And in a statement that rankled the White House, the famously apolitical health official offered praise for the Biden campaign’s approach to the coronavirus, saying it was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign was “looking at it from a different perspective,” he said, one focused on the economy and reopening the country.
In the interview, Dr. Fauci rued the virtual exile he and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, find themselves in these days.
Mr. Trump, in a battle for re-election and eager to portray the virus as tamed, has preferred the counsel of another pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, who has questioned mask use and offered a number of other contrarian philosophies.
Ordinarily circumspect, Dr. Fauci directly criticized Dr. Atlas in the interview.
“I have real problems with that guy,” he said.
Dr. Fauci suggested that Dr. Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no infectious disease background, is out of his depth.
“He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in,” he said. “He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
If Dr. Fauci has taken off the gloves, the White House, once eager to avoid open confrontation with the politically popular figure, now appears to have done the same.
In a statement to The Post, Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said it was “unacceptable and breaking with all norms” for Dr. Fauci to “play politics” three days before the election. Dr. Fauci, he said, had made “his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent, exactly what the American people have come to expect from the Swamp.”
In Illinois, Florida and Arizona, police officers have been summoned to investigate Biden signs set ablaze and Trump flags swiped in the night. Homeowners, angry over their campaign signs disappearing, have set up elaborate motion-activated cameras to catch the culprits. A sneaky few have booby-trapped signs with sharp razor blades glinting underneath.
With the presidential election only days away, Americans are lining up against one another, sometimes right in their own front yards.
“There’s just a lot of bad feelings now, and this is what it comes to,” said Annie Phillips, 82, a retired educator in suburban Seattle who had two Biden signs stolen from her front yard. Fed up after her second sign was taken, Ms. Phillips bought a third one and nailed it to her garage door.
Americans are bubbling over with tension and dread. They have endured a long, combative campaign in the midst of a pandemic and a complicated voting process with an uncertain outcome.
Both sides are reporting acts of political vandalism.
Skirmishes over yard signs, flags and other expressions of candidate loyalty emerge with regularity every election season, but this year seems more intense.
In Volusia County, Fla., a neighbor punched another in the face because he believed that his own Trump sign was blocked by his neighbor’s Biden sign, the authorities said.
Trump-Pence signs have been defaced with stickers. Biden-Harris signs have been kicked down in the grass. In central Iowa, a Trump sign along a highway was partially covered with a sheet of black metal spray-painted with Bible verse: “Love One Another. John 15.” On a country road in northeastern Wisconsin this fall, a large Biden sign stood pockmarked with fist-sized holes, flaps of shorn sign fluttering in the wind.
The tumult comes as the demand for campaign signs has exploded in some regions. Steven Slugocki, chairman of the Democratic Party in Maricopa County, Ariz., said he was seeing ten times as many requests for signs as in 2016.
“It’s this interesting dynamic because everybody wants a sign, but people get a sign and it gets stolen,” he said. “It does make people a little more hesitant to put it up, especially in the front yard, but demand has been through the roof.”
When Alejandra Escobar signed up to work her first campaign job as a field organizer in Omaha with the Nebraska Democratic Party, she pictured knocking on doors and talking to voters one-on-one.
“I was not expecting to be in a dark basement where my Wi-Fi would be very spotty,” she said.
This year, there’s something missing for young staff members working on the campaign trail: the rites of passage associated with a first campaign job.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, traditions that have long defined working on the campaign trail — door knocking, town halls, sleepless boot camps in battleground states — are now being replaced by mass Zoom calls and virtual canvassing efforts.
The hands-on training that early career campaign jobs provide is invaluable for young professionals looking to begin their political careers. Normally, young staff members are trained to tackle the challenging terrain of the campaign trail in political boot camps, which curate workshops, guest speakers and simulated exercises to prepare organizers for the job ahead. These programs — some affiliated with specific parties, some nonpartisan — often provide housing and function sort of like a young professional sleepaway camp for like-minded strivers.
Early career campaign jobs aren’t just about experience and training — they’re about connections too, both professional and personal. (Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and his wife, Heidi Cruz, met while working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000.)
Though pandemic-era campaign jobs are decidedly not what they used to be, some ambitious college students still opt to focus on the trail.
Chie Xu, 21, who took a semester off from her senior year at Yale to work as a field organizer in New Hampshire with NextGen America — a nonprofit focused on youth voter engagement and funded by the billionaire former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer — said she felt a strong moral obligation to actively participate in this election.
“I mean it just sort of feels like the world is ending,” she said. “So if there was a year to be involved, it’d be this one.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Ward, 62, had come down from Northern Ohio to support his partner as she voted in her suburban Columbus polling station, where on Saturday afternoon they spent roughly 20 minutes waiting in line at a Franklin County shopping center.
Mr. Ward and Catherine Workman, 58, don’t always agree on politics; a lifelong Republican who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, he’s generally more conservative than she is. But this year, the couple is supporting the same person for president: Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee.
“I haven’t become any less conservative,” Mr. Ward said. But Mr. Trump, he said, has “destroyed the presidency. It’s an office most people respected until now.”
Ms. Workman, an administrator for the state of Ohio, said she believed Mr. Biden was “a good and decent man” who represented her values. She said in her suburban community, she knew few people supporting Mr. Trump this year. Her mother, who is in her 80s, and her three neighbors are all supporting Mr. Biden.
Mr. Ward’s vote will be his first for a Democratic presidential nominee. He said he had been attracted to Mr. Trump’s willingness to challenge the “status quo,” and that the president’s tenure had not been “all bad,” citing his handling of the economy. But Mr. Ward was troubled by how involved Mr. Trump’s family had become in the White House, and how Mr. Trump’s properties had appeared to profit from his presidency.
Wearing a jacket with a patch signaling his support for law enforcement, Mr. Ward also said that Mr. Trump’s attempts to paint Mr. Biden as anti-police had not resonated with him. “Biden said he’s not going to defund the police. I heard him say it, and I’m going to trust him on that.”
“I view him as a conservative, middle-of-the-road Democrat,” he went on. “Kamala Harris isn’t, and that kind of bugs me. But I guess we’ll just have to see.”
Is this election stressing you out? You’re not alone. According to a poll released by the American Psychological Association in October, 68 percent of adults report finding the election to be a significant source of stress.
So how can you engage with friends and family members across the political divide on Election Day and afterward without fighting and pointing fingers? It starts with addressing your own feelings.
Prepare for no results.
There’s a big chance the presidential election will not be called on Tuesday night. This is not necessarily a cause for concern in itself, as it will take time for states to count this year’s deluge of mail-in ballots, some of which cannot be processed before Election Day. But be on the lookout for viral disinformation as candidates may try to claim victory prematurely or manipulate the results.
Cool off if you need to.
Before you bring up politics with family members, take a moment to assess where your head’s at. You may need “to stew,” said Eva Escobedo, a therapist specializing in relationship issues at Just Mind, a counseling center in Austin, Texas. She recommended taking a break for a day or two to allow yourself to be a little off-kilter.
Limit your ambient exposure to social media — Dr. Stosny suggests setting aside specific periods to check the news or your social media feeds. If you do engage with relatives or friends on Facebook or Twitter, try to take those conversations offline, where you might have a more successful and meaningful exchange.
Stay active and connected.
If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, go for a walk or run, and try to spend at least 30 minutes outside. Studies have linked aerobic exercise to improved emotional regulation; even moderate exercise like walking can yield benefits. Make plans with friends to occupy your mind.
But Dr. Jena Lee, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, cautioned against assuming you’ll be an anxious mess on Election Day. “Humans are quite resilient,” she said. “There’s a strong possibility that you will be able to cope.”
Four years ago, Donald J. Trump won the presidency after making a series of promises to his supporters. Has he kept them?
A recent survey from New York University found that those who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 thought he had broken fewer than one promise out of five. Those who voted for Hillary Clinton said he broke more than four out of five.
Here’s a look at how he fared on some of his signature promises.
Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it: Erecting a barrier along the southwestern border was the defining rallying cry of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. Over the past four years, the Trump administration has constructed 371 miles of border barriers, as of Oct. 16. And it is on pace to reach 400 miles this week. However, all but 16 miles of the new barriers replace or reinforce existing structures. Mr. Trump has touted the wall as a mission accomplished at his campaign rallies and, he says, Mexico is paying for it. But Mexico is not, in fact, paying for it.
Appoint conservative judges: With three Supreme Court justices and 25 percent of the federal judiciary now made up of Trump appointees, according to data from Russell Wheeler, a judiciary expert at the Brookings Institution, the president has been more successful on this campaign promise than perhaps any other.
Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act: The yearslong Republican campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came to a head unsuccessfully and dramatically in the first year of Mr. Trump’s presidency. The Democrats’ regaining a majority in the House of Representatives after the 2018 midterm elections all but doomed any subsequent legislative attempts to strike down the whole law, though the president and his party are still trying.
You could be forgiven for feeling déjà vu after looking at Ann Selzer’s latest poll of Iowa, where President Trump campaigned on Sunday as part of a five-state tour that includes parts of the Rust Belt and the Southeast.
The survey, released Saturday, showed a late shift toward Mr. Trump, after months in which he and Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, had been running neck-and-neck in her polling of the state.
The most respected political polling operation in Iowa, Selzer & Company was the rare firm to pick up on the last-minute shift in support toward Mr. Trump in 2016 that would ultimately deliver him Iowa, other Midwestern states and the Electoral College.
The new survey, conducted as usual on behalf of The Des Moines Register, showed 48 percent of likely Iowa voters supporting Mr. Trump, and 41 percent backing Mr. Biden. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Selzer polls conducted in June and September had found the candidates locked in a statistical tie, most recently at 47 percent each.
When pressed, an additional 5 percent of likely voters in the new poll said they knew whom they would vote for — or already had — but didn’t want to tell. Altogether, 94 percent of likely voters said they had either cast their ballots already or come to a firm decision on whom to support, meaning there are few persuadable voters left in the race’s final days.
Four years ago, Ms. Selzer’s pre-election poll in early November found Mr. Trump ahead, also by seven points. That poll was conducted in the days after the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, informed Congress about a new review of the Hillary Clinton email case. It was not the only survey taken of Iowa voters during this time period, but it was the only one capturing the shift toward Mr. Trump. And it was pretty close to accurate: He ultimately beat Mrs. Clinton by nine points — two points more than in the Selzer poll.
Among battleground states, the heavily white and heavily rural Iowa is one of the more favorable to Mr. Trump this year. Still, any poll showing a seven-point Trump lead in a contested state — especially from such an esteemed pollster — is bound to turn heads.
The poll also found Senator Joni Ernst with the edge over her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, in a highly competitive race that will help determine control of the Senate.
Mr. Trump regained his strength in the new Iowa poll largely by flipping independent voters back to his camp; it showed him winning independents in Iowa 49 percent to 35 percent, something he’s been failing to do almost everywhere else. Along the way he cut deeply into Mr. Biden’s lead among women in the state, which dropped to nine points from 20 points in September.
Still, the Selzer poll is just one poll of the state; a survey released Thursday by Quinnipiac University found Mr. Trump with just a one-point lead. And while poll watchers will certainly wonder what the Selzer poll might indicate about trends in the Midwest, Mr. Biden does not need Iowa itself, with its six electoral votes, to win the presidency. His campaign has not made a major investment in the state.
When given a list of six possible electoral issues, Trump supporters said that the economy and taxes were driving their support of him; 37 percent of the president’s voters selected that topic. Iowa’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last month, the fifth best in the country.
Among Biden supporters, the most commonly referenced subject was “his ability to restore what is good about America,” with 26 percent choosing it.
Over all, just 9 percent of all likely voters supporting one of the major nominees said that his approach to the pandemic was their main area of focus. That’s despite the fact that Iowa currently has one of the nation’s highest per capita case rates.