Graphics: Biden extends lead in fallout from Trump's tough week
Updated 20:00, 08-Nov-2020
John Goodrich

The race for the White House has been dominated over the past seven days by the fallout from the bombshell news that President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden hit the campaign trail in Florida and the vice-presidential candidates debated in Utah.

CGTN's interactive page offers in-depth analysis of the 2020 election, with exclusive data covering national and state-by-state polling, online sentiment and fundraising. Each week we crunch the numbers in search of the trends that matter in the battle for the presidency.

Interactive page: X Factors in the U.S. Election

October surprise: Last-minute election plot twists 

Election day in the United States is a little over three weeks away and more than 6.8 million Americans have already voted. Has the trajectory of campaign changed over the last week?

The national picture

Biden has held a steady national polling advantage for months, but in the wake of the first presidential debate and Trump's positive COVID-19 test the former vice president has extended his lead from 7.6 to 8.3 points over the past seven days according to CGTN's analysis of publicly-available opinion polls.

X Factors in the U.S. Election

X Factors in the U.S. Election

The bump for Biden may be a temporary reaction to the president's diagnosis or a response to a debate which he was widely seen to have lost, but with millions of Americans already voting and election day only weeks away it couldn't come at a worse time for the Trump campaign.

Individual polls in recent days painted an even starker picture for the president, who is quarantining in the White House after three nights in hospital but could resume public events as soon as Saturday. Trump is trailing Biden by 10 points with Fox, 16 with CNN, nine with YouGov and 12 with both Rasmussen and Reuters.

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The 'awakening' of U.S. female voters and donors

A weak positive for Trump's reelection chances came on Wednesday evening with the vice-presidential debate. Snap polls indicated a majority of voters thought Mike Pence lost to Kamala Harris, with a CNN instant poll of registered voters giving the Democrat a clear 21-point victory, but the Republican gave a steady performance that may at least have arrested the slide.


In the generic ballot, a measure of which party voters intend to back in congressional elections in November, Democrats are leading the Republicans by 6.6 points in the RealClearPolitics average, up from 6.2 a week earlier. While the Democrats appear likely to retain control of the House of Representatives, the battle for an all-important majority in the Senate is neck and neck.

The states that matter

The national picture is positive for Biden, but in the battleground states — those that really matter in the Electoral College system — CGTN analysis suggests the former vice president is ahead but with significantly narrower margins.

The pivotal state of Florida and its 29 Electoral College votes, which Trump won in 2016 by 1.2 points and can't afford to lose if he's to be reelected, has moved further away from the president over the past seven days but remains within touching distance.

An average of Florida polls over the past four weeks indicates a 3.2-point lead for Biden — who spent Monday, the last day of voter registration in the state, with Latino voters in Miami — up from 2.3 points seven days earlier.

X Factors in the U.S. Election

X Factors in the U.S. Election

The Democrat has also increased his lead in other swing states since last Friday, up 0.2 points to 3.6 in Arizona, 0.1 to 7.2 in Michigan, 0.3 to 1.4 in North Carolina, 0.9 to 6.3 in Pennsylvania and 0.1 to 6.2 in Wisconsin.

In both New Hampshire and Minnesota, two states Trump hopes to win from the Democrats, Biden holds average polling leads of 9.3 points, and the candidates are within 1.5 percentage points in the traditionally red states of Georgia and Texas.

Polls only provide a snapshot in time and have a margin of error, but the state-by-state surveys suggest if the election were held today Biden could be on course to win 355 Electoral College votes to Trump's 183.

Twitter on Trump's diagnosis and Pence's fly

CGTN is using exclusive AI technology to weigh sentiment towards tweets related to the election, updating every 24 hours to reflect whether comments about Trump and Biden are positive, negative or neutral.

In the three days after Trump revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, he was mentioned positively in 5.4 percent of election–related tweets on average and negatively in 20.6 percent. 

Sentiment towards the president was net positive on Tuesday, the day after he left hospital, but returned to net negative territory in the following days.

X Factors in the U.S. Election

X Factors in the U.S. Election

Sentiment towards Biden on Twitter was net +5.5 through the seven days, with negative tweets averaging 1.5 percent of the total and positive 7 percent, continuing the pattern of the 77-year-old being a far less prominent part of the online conversation than Trump.

A new Twitter trend emerged on Wednesday night: Mike Pence and the fly. 

The highlight of a low-key vice-presidential debate for many watchers was the fly that perched on the Republican's white head of hair for a full two minutes, prompting an array of new Twitter accounts, memes and a Democratic fundraising effort featuring Biden holding a fly-swatter.

The Biden campaign sold 35,000 "Truth over Flies" fly-swatters following the vice-presidential debate. /@TeamJoe

The Biden campaign sold 35,000 "Truth over Flies" fly-swatters following the vice-presidential debate. /@TeamJoe

Money talks                      

Debate night was another big fundraising event for the Democrats this week, with campaign officials telling Politico that more than $12 million was raised on Wednesday, the day of the clash between Harris and Pence — alone. 

The campaign also confirmed that it had sold out of  "Truth over Flies" fly-swatters by Thursday, having sold 35,000 at $10 each.

X Factors in the U.S. Election

X Factors in the U.S. Election

Neither campaign has yet released its September fundraising totals, though the AP cited sources as saying Biden had broken his haul of $365 million raised in August in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee. The official figures will be released later in October.

The latest data from the FEC shows the Trump campaign has raised $471.3 million directly, against $531 million dollars for the Biden campaign.

Of the money donated to Trump, 62.8 percent came from donations of less than $200 while 54.3 percent of Biden's came from donations under $200.


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