The Slatest

Biden Enjoys Clear Lead in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania as VP Announcement Nears

Former Vice President Joe Biden smiles as he speaks during a campaign event at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware on July 28, 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden smiles as he speaks during a campaign event at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware on July 28, 2020. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/Getty Images

Another poll delivers fresh good news for Joe Biden this weekend as the former vice president enjoys a decisive lead in two states that were key to President Donald Trump’s victory. Biden is leading Trump 48 percent-to-42 percent in Wisconsin, according to the CBS/YouGov Battleground Tracker poll. The same poll shows Biden leading in Pennsylvania with 49 percent, compared to Trump’s 43 percent. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin with 47 percent of the vote while he took Pennsylvania with 48 percent.

Most of the voters in the two key states aren’t happy with the direction of the country. Three-quarters of voters in the two states say things in the United States are going badly. And when it comes to handling the coronavirus, 47* percent of voters in each state say Biden would do a better job than Trump. In contrast, only 37 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania and 32 percent of those in Wisconsin say Trump would do a better job with the pandemic. And it is the pandemic that has turned into the key indicator of which candidate voters support. Biden has a clear advantage among those who are very concerned about contracting COVID-19, while Trump has the support of the vast majority of those who are not at all concerned about getting the coronavirus.

Although a majority of voters in both states said that Biden’s vice-presidential pick isn’t particularly important to them, a closer look at the numbers suggests it could have a profound effect on the race. A majority of those who are already committed to backing Biden say his vice-presidential pick isn’t important. But, in contrast, among those not voting for Biden but who say they could consider supporting him, 70 percent say the vice-presidential pick is important.

Biden’s long-awaited decision on his vice-presidential candidate is expected this week. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spent the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and could announce his final decision in the coming days. But considering Biden has already missed deadlines he has imposed on himself for making the pick public, those close to the former vice president are sure to highlight that the only real deadline is the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 17.

For now all anyone can do is speculate. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for example, traveled to Delaware last weekend to meet with Biden. Others who are clearly in the running include Sen. Kamala Harris and President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice. Rep. Karen Bass of California, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth are also believed to still be in the running. Rep. Val Demings from Florida and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are also reportedly under consideration. Biden made a brief stir Saturday when a Fox News reporter asked him during a bike ride if he had picked a running mate. “Yeah, I have,” Biden said. When the reporter asked who it was, Biden quipped: “You.” The Biden campaign later made clear the former vice president was just joking. “Can’t believe anyone thought we would break this news with FOX while Joe Biden is on a bike ride,” Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, tweeted.

Correction at 6:48 p.m.: Due to a typo this piece initially said 4 percent of voters in each state believed Biden would do a better job than Trump in handling the coronavirus.