Graphics: Biden hits 50 and smashes cash record, Trump lags behind
By John Goodrich

Joe Biden and Donald Trump resumed something like a traditional presidential campaign over the past seven days with the clock ticking ever closer to the November 3 election day in the United States.

The Democrat and Republican candidates crisscrossed the country to meet voters and win airtime, with the former vice president using his cash advantage – after another record-breaking fundraising month in September – to expand his ad buys and put the president's campaign on the back foot in Texas, North Carolina, Iowa and Georgia, all states Trump won comfortably in 2016.

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

Election day in the United States is a little over two weeks away and more than 18.9 million Americans have already voted. Has the trajectory of campaign changed over the last week?

The national picture

The national polls have heavily favored Biden in the fallout period from the first presidential debate and Trump testing positive for COVID-19, and that trend has continued over the past seven days with the Democrat hitting the 50-percent mark for the first time in CGTN's analysis of publicly-available opinion polls.

Biden stretched his lead over Trump from 8.3 points to 8.6 over the week, leaving him in a strong position and suggesting the president will need everything to go right in the swing states if he is to have a chance of re-election – and will have to make the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 22, count. 

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. election

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. election

High-quality individual national polls in recent days have consistently indicated Biden holds a double-digit lead, with YouGov, Reuters, NBC and NPR surveys suggesting Trump is down by at least 10 points.

In the generic ballot, a measure of which party voters intend to back in congressional elections in November, Democrats are leading the Republicans by 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average, up from 6.6 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 remains neck and neck.

The states that matter

The extent of Biden's national polling lead suggests he's almost certain to win the popular vote, just as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, but it's the individual states that matter in the Electoral College system.

CGTN analysis of state polling indicates the Democrat has an advantage over Trump in many of the battlegrounds, though the margins are smaller than his national lead.

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. Election

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. Election

Both Biden and Trump again campaigned in the pivotal state of Florida – now the president's home state – over the past week, and polling suggests the fight for its 29 electoral votes is narrowing: the Democrat has a 3.2-point lead, down from 3.4 points seven days ago.

Trump held a televised town hall in Miami on Thursday following the cancellation of the second debate, as Biden took part in a similar event at the same time from Pennsylvania, the Midwestern state that the Republican is currently putting the most resources towards keeping in his column.

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Winning the Blue Wall of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin pushed Trump over the edge in 2016, but his campaign has diverted cash away from the latter two states over the past two weeks. Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, is shaping up to be crucial: Biden holds a 6.2-point lead in the state of his birth, according to the polling averages, down from 6.3 a week ago.

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, unchanged since last week.

Twitter rows

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.

Sentiment towards the candidates followed a familiar pattern over the past seven days, with tweets related to Trump a net negative 4.2 by daily average and tweets related to Biden net positive 7.9. 

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. Election

CGTN's X Factors in the U.S. Election

Twitter itself was at the center of two election-related storms over the past week, suspending fake accounts claiming to be run by Black supporters of Trump only after being alerted to the issue by a newspaper investigation and then blocking an unsubstantiated New York Post article about Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic nominee. 

The decision to block the URL of the Biden article and lock the account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, after she posted the link, led to uproar from Republicans.

Money talks

In the money stakes, the two candidates are on very different tracks in the final stretch of the election.

The Biden campaign and its affiliated committees set a new monthly fundraising record by hauling in $383 million in September, a huge $135.2 million more than Trump and his affiliates' $247.8 million.

The Democrat's big cash advantage in the closing stages of the race is already evident in how the campaigns are spending their money.

Trump, with $251.4 million on hand at the start of October, according to his campaign, cancelled ad buys in Midwestern states he probably needs to win and diverted cash to Sunbelt states that he simply cannot afford to lose.

Biden, with $432 million in reserve, expanded his spending into traditionally Republican states including Texas, where polling suggests he only narrowly trails the president. 

The combination of polling numbers and cash on hand favoring the Democrat mean that with a little more than two weeks to go, the Trump campaign is on the defensive while Biden is in a strong position to attack as the campaigns head towards Thursday's final debate. 

(Graphics by Li Yueyun)

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