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President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are holding televised town hall events Thursday night, on different networks, in lieu of the originally scheduled debate. With only 19 days until the election, Democrats are pulling in record amounts of cash, and Biden is leading in national polls. Which groups of voters are favoring him? Lisa Desjardins reports and joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.
President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden were supposed to meet face to face tonight. Instead, they will wage a kind of ratings war, appearing at the same time on different television networks.
Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.
In Philadelphia today, another strange stage in the pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden will hold a town hall here tonight with ABC News, the night when he was to have his second debate with President Trump.
That was canceled following the president's coronavirus diagnosis nearly two weeks ago. Instead, voters get a network TV face-off, with Trump holding a separate town hall at the same time tonight on NBC.
President Donald Trump:
So, I'll see you later on NBC. I look forward to it.
There was some more traditional campaigning today. The president spoke in Greenville, North Carolina.
Nineteen days from now. Think of that, 19 days. Do you believe this? We're going to win the state of North Carolina. We're going to win four more years in the White House.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Four more years! Four more years!
The crowd was enthusiastic for Trump, and many openly defiant of health guidelines, not wearing masks and standing closely together.
Democrats' VP nominee, California Senator Kamala Harris, was also to be in the Tar Heel State today, but the campaign canceled all Harris events through the weekend out of caution, after two people working with her campaign tested positive for coronavirus last night.
This afternoon, the campaign announced an aviation administrator who flew on Biden's plane on Monday and Tuesday also tested positive for COVID-19. The campaign says Harris and Biden did not have any recent close contact with the people who tested positive. Last night, Vice President Biden tested negative for COVID-19.
At the same time, there was good news for the Biden campaign. Last night, the Democratic nominee announced another record-breaking fund-raising haul, $383 million in September.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:
That's more money than I have ever raised in my whole life.
The Trump campaign hasn't yet announced its September fund-raising numbers. Biden's cash boost is part of a tsunami of donations reaching other Democrats as well.
In Arizona's Senate race, challenger Mark Kelly announced raising $38.7 million in the past three months, making him the second Democrat this year to break the record set by Beto O'Rourke in 2018.
The other was Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, challenging Republican Lindsey Graham. Harrison raised an eye-popping $57 million in the third quarter.
The question is, how they can spend it all? It is now 19 days until the election. More than 17 million voters in 43 states have already cast their ballots by mail or by early in-person voting.
That's a lot of voters and a lot of numbers of voters.
And, meanwhile, a new "PBS NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden with an 11-point lead nationally over President Trump in the race for the White House.
For more, Lisa joins me now.
So, Lisa, I know you have been looking at these numbers. What is behind this wide gap for Joe Biden? And how much of it is Republicans leaving President Trump?
We got some fascinating data here, Judy.
And, of course, I first need to say polls can be flawed. And, in particular, we wanted to look at things that were beyond the margin of error in polls.
Judy, it's not Republicans shifting. Let's look at what we see in this poll here. You look at who's supporting whom, Republicans and Democrats are both supporting in overwhelming numbers, looking at a graphic, 93 there, 96 percent, they're supporting their candidate.
Who is making a difference? Independents. Look at what — in our survey, we saw 57 percent of independents going for Biden. And, fascinatingly, Judy, it's not just any independents who are driving this.
Let's look at another graph that goes a little bit deeper within independents, looking at men and women who call themselves independents, 48 percent of independent men for Biden, but look at that, 70 percent of women who describe themselves as independents going for Biden.
So, Judy, that's where we see the most movement, and that's where Biden's getting this lift.
And, Lisa, I know the poll not only asked people for whom they plan to vote, but how they plan to vote. What did you see there?
This is so important, Judy.
Let's get right to this graphic. First of all, people who say that they are going to vote on Election Day, 62 percent of them in our survey said they are voting for Trump. Those who are voting early, either in-person early or by mail, let's look at that.
The opposite. You see two-thirds or more of those folks voting early are voting for Joe Biden. Now, speaking to a source in the Biden campaign, Judy, they feel good about this. They say that the Trump campaign is wasting an opportunity by, they say, making voters scared of mail-in voting.
But we all need to be aware that this could have an effect on election night results, if so many of Biden's supporters are voting early and could be counted later, depending on how each state works.
And I know we're going to be following all that very closely on election night and up until then.
But, just quickly, Lisa, with regard — I know you're also following the status of these coronavirus economic aid relief talks. Tell us where all that stands tonight.
Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for an hour and 22 minutes this afternoon. That's one of their longer conversations.
Mnuchin and the Trump administration has agreed to what Pelosi wants, he says, on testing. But, Judy, those two sides still are not on the same page. They will speak overnight. And there's one more problem too. The leader of the Republican Senate, Mitch McConnell, says he's not close to where the White House is. He wants a $500 billion deal vs. $1.8 trillion.
So, these talks continue. We will watch them, but they're still not there.
A lot of people waiting to see whether that comes together.
Lisa Desjardins, thank you so much.
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