Biden looks to boost campaign with groups that powered Trump’s 2016 victory | TheHill – The Hill

Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Critics continue to swipe at Trump over his alleged comments on fallen troops l Trump says he won’t cut funding for Stars and Stripes Trump rips media for soft treatment of Biden: Questions ‘meant for a child’ Poll: 2 in 3 voters say it’s ‘likely’ that people lie when taking political surveys MORE’s campaign is looking to get a boost in the final sprint to Election Day by building support among key demographics that powered President TrumpDonald John TrumpDHS to label white supremacists as the ‘most persistent and lethal threat’ to the US: report Buttigieg slams Trump over comments on fallen soldiers: ‘He must think we’re all suckers’ White House tells federal agencies to cancel ‘divisive’ racial sensitivity training: report MORE’s 2016 upset victory. 

In a press call Friday, the campaign said it was confident it could post strong showings with disaffected voters, independents, suburbanites and seniors, four groups that swung for Trump over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLargest police union endorses Trump for reelection Trump skewers Biden, suggests again supporters vote twice in Pennsylvania Biden seeks somber contrast to Trump in Kenosha MORE in the last presidential election. The campaign shared data showing the former vice president ahead by 34 points among voters who have unfavorable views of both candidates, 11 points among independents, 13 points among suburban voters and 17 points among seniors.

“What we believe is that we have the resources and the strategy … to reach these core coalition audiences directly,” said Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon.


The Biden campaign cast the four demographics as key parts of the “Biden Coalition” that will build on support from already safe Democratic groups, including Hispanics, Blacks, younger voters and women.

“Underneath the hood as we look as we look at these core groups, we’re not taking any vote for granted, we know we have work to do both on the persuasion and mobilization side, and we are making sure each audience has a customized track of engagement from the campaign,” O’Malley Dillon said.

Among the efforts the campaign underscored are recent ads highlighting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on seniors and placing reservations on Spanish-language networks and BET – tactics that will only be boosted by the campaign’s record-breaking $365 million August fundraising haul.

The demographics the Biden campaign is looking to flip this year are set to play outsized roles in a 2020 race that could be decided at the margins, particularly in a handful of crucial battleground states. Trump pulled off his famous 2016 upset on the backs of razor-thin margins in a number of swing states in the Midwest and elsewhere, and even a slight decrease of the vote share in some places could decide the victor this November. 

As always, seniors are set to play a mammoth role in Florida, the nation’s largest swing state where races are decided by notoriously tight margins. Trump won the Sunshine State by just over 1 point in 2016 and he’s worked to boost his standing there, investing in ads in the state and moving his permanent residency to Florida.


Suburbanites are also a battleground demographic across the country; voters in those areas narrowly leaned toward Trump over Clinton by 4 points in the last presidential race, but flipped towards Democrats in the 2018 “blue wave,” playing a key role in handing the party control of the House of Representatives.

“Whether we’re talking about our Latino engagement strategy, Black American, young, senior, we have across every channel that we communicate as a campaign, customized, specific programming to each of these audiences,” said O’Malley Dillon.

The campaign also said it was confident in Biden’s polling position less than two months out from the election, saying surveys had shown him with a healthy national lead after the party’s two national conventions.

“We have come through what is typically one of the more volatile periods in a presidential campaign now that both conventions are over. I think it’s pretty clear now after a flurry of polling that Vice President Biden entered the convention period at about a +7 nationwide, and he’s come out of the convention period at about a +7 nationwide,” said Mike Donilon, the campaign’s chief strategist.

New polls released since the conclusion of last week’s Republican National Convention shows neither Biden nor Trump emerging with a bounce coming out of the confabs. Biden maintains a wide national lead, but margins have appeared to narrow in a number of battleground states.


But Donilon said he believed Biden’s leads would not be susceptible to large swings given the small number of undecided voters remaining, the lack of a high-profile third party contender and Trump’s approval rating, which has stubbornly remained in the low to mid-40s.

“We forget sometimes that this race, unlike four years ago, is really for the most part a two-person race. The support level for third party candidates in this race is very low. So for the vice president to be at 49, 50 and the president to be around 42 or so is a pretty strong indication of where the race is,” he said. 

Donilon said the former vice president’s poll numbers have remained steady even as Trump has worked to make the election a contest over “law and order” amid a national uproar over systemic racism and police brutality, arguing that voters remain focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the White House’s response to it.

“The president came in and tried to make this into a law and order campaign. There was a lot of speculation that would work to his benefit,” he said. “It didn’t.” 

The campaign boasted that its polling position allows it to expand its pathways to 270 electoral votes and play in historically Republican states, including going on offense in places like Arizona, Georgia and Texas. It also plans on winning back Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all swing states Trump won in 2016, and defend its hold on Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada and Virginia. 

“We’ve had a pretty strong standing in the battleground states,” said Donilon. “We continue to run strong in a lot of states, because what it speaks to [is] what we believe are multiple paths to victory. We think there are a lot of avenues for us.”

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