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What the polls say about Trump’s impeachment and possible dismissal

Americans are on high alert as the country seeks to regain its balance after the mob attack on Capitol Hill last week, according to a series of polls released in recent days that show a nation frustrated by the president’s actions and uncertain of what will follow.

Three in four respondents to a CBS News / YouGov nationwide poll released Wednesday said it was at least fairly likely that attempted violence could occur at the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., which will take place on the steps of the Capitol just two weeks after armed extremists stormed the building.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that 70% of voters expressed concern about the safety of elected officials in the country.

Clear majorities in these and other national polls said President Trump was responsible for the riots on Capitol Hill last week, and that his approval rating fell to historically low levels in his last days in office. . But support for impeachment and his dismissal is not as widespread, although some polls show a small majority of the country backing him.

House Democrats, with the backing of some Republicans, voted to impeach the president on Wednesday, the first time in history that a president has been impeached twice.

The CBS poll found that 55% of Americans supported his impeachment, and another poll released this week by Politico and Morning Consult showed 53% of voters supported him. The Quinnipiac poll (conducted by phone, unlike the CBS and Politico online polls) found that 52% of voters supported the president’s impeachment.

Investigators of all methodologies have gotten through a difficult 2020, with polls consistently underestimating Mr. Trump’s support for the second time in two presidential elections. Pollsters have not conclusively determined the cause of the failures, so it can be difficult to be sure that support for Mr. Trump is not in fact stronger by a few points across the board.

But it’s potentially more useful to monitor trends over time, which is more like comparing apples to apples. From this perspective, the public seems to be slightly – but significantly – more receptive to the idea of ​​impeaching the president than they were around the same time last year, when Democrats’ efforts to remove the president of his duties have divided the country almost middle.

At that point, nearly half of voters said they believed Democrats were pushing to impeach the president for political reasons and doubted the charges against Mr. Trump were worth impeaching him.

This time around, the country more broadly agrees on the dire nature of what Mr. Trump has been accused of. About six in ten Americans said in the CBS poll that they believe the president encouraged violence on Capitol Hill. A PBS NewsHour / Marist College survey conducted by telephone the day after the attack found that 63% of the nation’s people said the president was largely responsible for the chaos.

The effects on Mr. Trump’s approval numbers have been severe. In all recent polls, his job approval is between mid-30s and 30s, with about three in five Americans disapproving of his performance.

While his unwavering support of around a third of the electorate saved Mr. Trump from plunging into the 1920s, when Richard M. Nixon and George W. Bush were both near the end of their presidencies, the latest figures reflect his diminished support across the board, including among Republicans; his once nearly universal post approval for post among his own party members plunged into the 1970s.

Ed Goeas, a longtime Republican pollster, said that in recent weeks Mr Trump had scared many of the remaining mainstream Tory GOP voters who had remained in his corner.

“They’re the ones who kind of moved to ‘It’s just not true’ about what happened with the election robbery,” Goeas said. “And then they see the events of last Wednesday, and I think they’re worried.”

He added: “I think what will happen over the next eight days is very concerning. What you will see is the reality: we now have more troops in Washington than we have in Afghanistan. A little hard to miss.

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At the end of the polls, here’s what we know about the vote in Georgia

Counties were required to start scanning and processing ballots at least a week before the election, although they could not start counting or totaling them until the polls closed on Tuesday. These new rules can lead to faster results, although in a tight race most Georgians (and everyone else) can fall asleep before the news outlets get enough results to declare a winner.

In November, it took a week and a half of counting after election day before it was clear that Mr Biden had won the state.

Republicans are expected to take the lead quickly on election night, both because more conservative parts of the state typically report results faster and because in-person votes, which favored Republicans during the pandemic, are generally released earlier. Strongly democratic counties, including suburbs in Atlanta that helped Biden win, historically take longer to count votes.

And yes, there could be another count cycle. Under Georgian law, if the margin separating the candidates is less than half a percentage point, the losing candidate can request a recount in which election officials would pass the ballots again to the government. using scanners.

After several vote counts last year, state officials are bracing for all eventualities. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said the requirement for a full manual recount – like the one carried out in November – does not apply to the run-off election.

Second-round races have always been relatively sleepy competitions, with a lower turnout that favored Republicans due to a drop in Democrats, especially black voters, after the general election. (The second round was designed by white Georgians in the 1960s to dilute the power of black voters.)

Not this year. A bewildering influx of political spending flooded the state, as campaign agents, party officials and outside groups descended into the races. Nearly $ 500 million has been spent on advertising, according to Ad Impact, an advertising tracking firm, saturating airwaves to unprecedented levels.

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Hours before the polls open in Georgia, Trump focuses on a different election: “ There’s no way we’ve lost. ”

Georgians are heading to the polls today for a critical election that will determine whether Republicans retain control of the Senate, just a day after President Trump and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. converged on the state to do so campaign for the candidates of their party.

Mr Trump appeared alongside Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Dalton, Ga. On Monday but remained fixated on his own loss in Georgia in November and continued to prioritize his personal grievances over the party’s will to win. the two seats of the state.

“There’s no way we’ve lost Georgia,” Trump said immediately after taking the stage. “I had two elections. I won them both. It’s incredible.”

Monday’s rallies were also rocked by the astonishing revelation the day before that Mr. Trump had, during an hour-long phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, repeated a litany of theories of the conspiracy and called on Mr. Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn the will of Georgian voters, who chose Mr. Biden.

The president’s statement fueled the ire of Democrats and helped fuel the campaign to defeat the two Republican candidates. Jon Ossoff, the Democrat defying Mr. Perdue, drew parallels between Mr. Trump’s efforts and the bitter history of the state’s disenfranchisement, citing poll closures and onerous voting rules.

“The President of the United States on the phone trying to intimidate Georgia election officials into rejecting your votes,” Ossoff told supporters at a prospecting event in Conyers, a suburb east of Atlanta. “Let’s send a message: don’t come to Georgia and try to waste our voting rights.”

Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler have aligned themselves closely with Mr. Trump. On Monday, Ms Loeffler pledged to vote against the Senate Electoral College certification process on Wednesday, joining a dozen Republican senators in voting to overthrow Mr Biden’s voters.

Mr Trump has beefed up his path to power by intimidating the Republican establishment – and party leaders now fear he will drag them with him. The Republican turnout was low in early voting in Georgia, prompted by hard-core Mr. Trump skepticism about the validity of November’s results.

During a midday appearance at a church in Milner, Georgia, Vice President Mike Pence pleaded with Georgian voters to help maintain a Republican majority in the Senate as a “last line of defense.”

During his appearance in Atlanta on Monday, Mr. Biden did not directly mention Mr. Trump’s phone call, but obliquely criticized the president’s strongman tactics.

“As our friends in the opposition are finding out, all power comes from the people,” the president-elect said, adding that politicians cannot “take power”.

Importantly, however, Mr Biden, clad in a black mask bearing the inscription “VOTE,” urged his audience to do just that.

Some of the attendees at Biden’s rally waved placards in favor of the two Democratic candidates, Mr Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, but many indicated they got involved in the second round because they had been galvanized by Mr Trump.

“We support democracy because we have seen it dwindle over the past four years,” said Deshunn Wilkerson, a 36-year-old social worker, who wore a sweatshirt with the pink and green letters of the sisterhood she shares. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Emily cochrane Maggie Astor and Rick rojas contribution to reports.

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In Georgia, a rare campaign where people’s eyes are not on the polls

And on that front, there isn’t much ambiguity: the campaigns mostly sorted out what worked and what didn’t during the general election. So they say they rely less on polls overall, and more on simple voter rotation.

Robert Cahaly, an Atlanta-based Republican pollster, said the battle lines were pretty clearly drawn now. “Any labeling that Democrats say hurts them, Republicans will be smart to use in this race,” he said. “Cancel the culture, ‘defund the police’ – all of this helped beat the Democrats” in the lower ballot election last month.

Republicans say they are encouraged by the fact that on November 3 – what political observers quickly call “the only poll that matters” – Mr. Perdue beat Mr. Ossoff by nearly two percentage points. If all the same voters showed up on January 5, he would only need to pick up a tiny fraction of those who voted for libertarian candidate Shane Hazel to win.

But that’s not how runoff works. A significant portion of those who voted as a third party are unlikely to return in January, and neither will a portion of those who voted for a major party candidate.

For these reasons, the second round elections are among the most difficult to probe. It is particularly difficult to determine which voters will run: it will likely be less than in a general election, but the numbers will not likely reflect a typical midterm electorate either. In November, around five million people voted in Georgia, breaking a record. As of Thursday afternoon, nearly a million ballots had already been cast in the second round, according to government data compiled by the US Elections Project. With hundreds of millions of dollars invested in political ads in these two campaigns alone, millions of additional votes are expected by January 5.

The polling industry is in a period of consolidation – licking its wounds and keeping your head down until the inevitable flood of postmortem analyzes and academic reports arrives, likely early next year. They will explore possible causes for the poll fiasco this fall, when polls nationwide and in various states underestimated support for President Trump and his Republican allies. Even without seeing those reports, pollsters agree there’s a good chance they missed part of the Republican electorate – especially in polls with Mr. Trump on the ballot.

This was not such a pronounced problem in Georgia, where the polls have done relatively well. Trey Hood, who heads the University of Georgia’s voting operation, conducted a survey in mid-October for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that showed Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. in full swing – s’ aligning well with the final election results. . Dr Hood said a post-election analysis of his own poll did not indicate he had a significantly higher refusal rate in areas supporting Trump.

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The polls underestimated Trump – again. No one agrees on why.

As the results rolled in on Tuesday night, a strong sense of déjà vu followed suit. The pre-election polls, it seems, have once again been misleading.

As the country awaits final results from Pennsylvania, Arizona and other key states, it is already clear – no matter who ends up winning – that the industry has not fully considered the missteps that led her to underestimate Donald J. Trump’s support four years ago. . And it begs the question whether the polling industry, which has become a national fixture in the age of data journalism and statistical forecasting, can survive another crisis of confidence.

“I want to see all the results, I want to see where those deviations are from the pre-election polls and the final margins,” Christopher Borick, director of polls at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, said in an interview. “But there is plenty of evidence that there were major problems again. How deep they are, we’ll see.

In some states where polls had projected President Trump to narrowly lose – such as Ohio, Iowa and Florida – he had already been declared the winner by a comfortable margin on Tuesday night. And in states that seemed more than likely to go for Joseph R. Biden Jr., like Michigan and Nevada, the outcome was too close to call last night.

To some extent, it was clear that this process would be complicated. With a large number of ballots in the mail and the first in-person votes still not counted, the early returns in most states gave an exaggerated impression of Mr. Trump’s strength, as voters in Republican areas turned out to be revealed in greater numbers on election day – and these ballots were often the first to be compiled.

It is also possible, said Patrick Murray, the poll director at Monmouth University, that Republicans’ efforts to prevent certain populations from voting easily had a huge impact – a factor pollsters knew would be immeasurable. in their surveys.

“We need to know how many votes were rejected,” he said. “I won’t know, until someone gives me some data, what happened. And we may never know.

He added: “We will never know how many ballots were not delivered in the mail.”

But what is now clear from the ballots that were counted (and in almost every state a majority was) is that there was an overestimation of support for Mr Biden. at all levels – especially with white voters and with men, preliminary exit polls indicate.

While polls had predicted a move away from Mr. Trump among white voters 65 and over, it never fully took shape.

Partly as a result, Mr. Biden underperformed not only in polyglot states like Florida, but also in heavily white suburban areas like Macomb County, Michigan, where he was widely expected of him.

Dr Borick pointed out that while state-level polls were largely unsuccessful in 2016, they held up midway through 2018. This led him to conclude that people’s views on Mr Trump might be particularly difficult to measure.

“Ultimately, like so many things related to Trump, there may be different rules when voting with him on the ballot,” Dr Borick said. “I am a quantifiable human type; I want to see evidence. And I only have two elections with Donald Trump – but both seem to behave in a way that others don’t.

Analyzing pre-election polls alongside exit polls is like comparing apples to apples – if one lot is rotten, the other probably is too. But exit polls may still provide some clues as to what the pre-election polls might have missed.

At the top of that list is Mr. Trump’s strength among college-educated white voters, especially men. According to exit polls, candidates evenly distributed white college graduates – after an election season in which nearly every major poll across the country and battlefield states showed Mr Biden length. ahead of white diploma holders.

And while there is a tendency for the polls to under-represent Mr. Trump’s support, it doesn’t just affect college-educated voters, as “Trump-shy” theorists have often suggested. Some studies had postulated that highly skilled Trump supporters might be more likely to say they preferred his opponent because of social pressure. In many high-quality pre-election telephone polls, support for Mr. Trump spilled over into the 1950s among uneducated white voters. But exit poll results firmly established his support for this group in the mid-1960s, at about the same level as his totals in 2016.

There is also no certainty as to the share of the electorate these voters represented. Pollsters questioned this question in the wake of 2016 and came to varying conclusions; This year’s results should revive this discussion.

Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, it should also be noted that, compared to most pre-election surveys, the exit polls showed a smaller proportion of respondents favoring caution over rapid reopening. As of Wednesday afternoon, with the latest expected data adjustments, there was only a nine percentage point split between voters saying it was more important to contain the virus and those saying they cared more to rush to rebuild the economy, according to exit polls. In pre-election polls, the split was generally well in the double digits, with a sizable majority of voters across the country saying they preferred caution and restraint.

It appears the virus was also less of a motivator for voters than many polls seemed to convey. This year, exit polls – conducted as usual by Edison Research on behalf of a consortium of news organizations – faced direct competition from a new probability-based election survey: VoteCast, collected via a panel in line assembled for the Associated Press by NORC a research group at the University of Chicago. Looking at the discrepancy between the numbers from the exit polls and the responses to the VoteCast survey, we can see that there were many more voters who saw the coronavirus as a major problem in their country. saw the people who said this was the issue they were voting on.

The VoteCast survey found that more than four in 10 voters said the pandemic was the No.1 problem the country faces when presented with a list of nine choices. But in exit polls, when asked which issue had the most impact on their vote decision, respondents were less than half as likely to say it was the pandemic. The economy was much more likely; behind it was the issue of racial inequality.

Not all pollsters got bad results. Ann Selzer, long regarded as one of the nation’s top pollsters, published a poll with the Des Moines Register days before the election showing Mr. Trump opening a seven-point lead in Iowa; this appears to be consistent with the actual result so far.

In an interview, Ms Selzer said that this election season, she has gone through her usual process of avoiding assuming that the one-year electorate will look like those in previous years. “Our method is designed so that our data tells us what is going on with the electorate,” she said. “There are some who will weight their data by taking into account a lot of things – the vote in the past elections, what the turnout was, things from the past in order to project themselves into the future. I’m calling this poll backwards, and I’m not doing it.

Inevitably, Robert Cahaly and his mysterious Trafalgar Group – which projected a number of close races on the battlefields – will also receive another look from curious commentators wondering why his polls were so close to accuracy, both in 2016. and this year.

The firm was among the only pollsters to show Mr Trump’s strength in the Midwest and Pennsylvania four years ago, and while its polls this fall may end up looking a little rosy, they appear to have come close to the final. horse racing ends up in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada than other pollsters, not neglecting Mr. Trump’s strengths.

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Exit polls showed the vote went to the pandemic over the economy

As the country faces a double national crisis – a months-long pandemic and economic devastation – voters were deeply divided over what mattered most: containing the coronavirus or scrambling to rebuild the economy, according to early polls release and election polls released Tuesday.

Their opinion on what was more important fell along completely partisan lines, with those who saw the pandemic as the most pressing issue favoring Joseph R. Biden Jr. for president, while those who named the economy and the Jobs overwhelmingly opposed President Trump’s re-election. .

Reflecting pervasive pessimism, nearly two-thirds of voters said they believed the country was headed in the wrong direction, according to an Associated Press survey of those who voted – and those voters overwhelmingly picked Mr. Biden. And although Mr Trump tried to focus the campaign on something other than the pandemic, it remained a defining problem: more than four in 10 voters said it was the most important problem the country faced, far more than any other problem.

A separate survey – the traditional exit poll, conducted by Edison Research – asked the question differently; He found that, as important as it was to them, only one in five voters saw the virus as the main problem affecting their vote. More said the economy was, and a similar share said racial inequality decided their vote.

The overwhelming majority of Trump supporters rated the economy as excellent or good, while an equal proportion of Biden supporters said it was doing badly.

Opinions about the virus were also tied to politics: around four in five Trump supporters called him at least somewhat under control, while many Biden voters said he was “not dubious.” everything under control ”.

Those who reported that the pandemic had taken personal havoc tended to support Mr Biden. More than a third of all voters said they or a member of their household had lost a job or income in the past eight months, and most of those voters were in favor of Mr Biden.

Those who did not vote in 2016, a group that the Trump campaign says would be key to re-election, appeared to be running in large numbers – but they were mostly found to be opposed to him. New voters appeared to favor Mr. Biden by wide margins.

Far fewer said they knew someone who had died from the virus, but among those who did, the vast majority chose the former vice president.

Moderate voters also tipped heavily for Mr. Biden, in a tacit rejection of the “radical” label Mr. Trump had sought to pin on him. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Trump has alienated the moderates with his rhetoric and has never been viewed favorably by most independent voters.

It was these voters in the center that Mr. Biden had most aggressively targeted, using a message of unity and American tradition to offer voters respite from the bombing of the current president and to push back the portrayal of the Democrat by the Trump campaign. a left tool.

For the first time, not one but two scientifically sound, probability-based election polls were conducted during the election. The polls at Edison’s exit, on behalf of a consortium of news organizations, were conducted by telephone with voters who had voted early and through in-person interviews at polling stations.

The Associated Press also conducted its own voter survey, called VoteCast, using an online respondent panel assembled by NORC, a research group based at the University of Chicago.

The general trends in results were consistent between the surveys of the two organizations, although exit polls seem to show Mr. Trump is performing strongly in more states than the VoteCast investigation. The two surveys also asked different questions of their respondents; the results of both are mentioned in this article.

Unlike four years ago, a very small proportion of single-digit voters said they had made a decision in the past few days, according to exit polls. Four years ago, 13% said they made a decision last week, according to polls.

Pre-election polls throughout this election season showed that about four in five voters held strong opinions about Mr. Trump and his leadership, and strong feelings on both sides continued to define this year’s election.

Of those voters who voted for him four years ago, around nine in ten supported him again. But Mr Biden retained an even stronger share of Hillary Clinton supporters in 2016.

Among white voters, there were sharp divisions based on gender and education. As Mr. Trump looked set to reiterate his resounding 2016 victory among white voters without a college degree, Mr. Biden led among white voters with a college education.

This group was one of many – including commuters and political independents – that Mr. Trump narrowly won against Ms. Clinton, but whose support he had long lost.

In some key states, Mr Biden appeared not to have received Hillary Clinton’s support four years ago among Latino voters, especially men. In Florida, the exit poll put his lead in single digits with Hispanic voters, and in Texas, he was winning just three in five.

But elsewhere, his margin among Hispanic voters was much higher, and across the country he edged the president more than two to one.

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Students vote and work at the polls despite the pandemic

Historically, most young Americans do not vote. In the 2016 presidential election, less than half of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted.

This year, that could change. Young voters show rare enthusiasm, even as students face new obstacles.

“The pandemic has improved both the way people vote and the way students learn,” said our colleague Dan Levin, who wrote about the challenges students face today. “Just like there are Zoom courses, students go virtual with their organization.”

In a typical election year, campus activists had tables on the quad and knocked on dormitory doors. Now, instead of crowding into common rooms, students are hosting debate monitoring nights on Zoom, recruiting voting agents on Instagram, and encouraging students to post their voting plans on Snapchat.

“We had to exhaust all possible options to continue to energize voters,” said Roderick Hart, 20, a junior at Morehouse College in Atlanta. “Social media is really our only way to connect everyone at the same time, since we’re not on campus.”

This year, more than seven million voters under the age of 30 have already voted, including nearly four million in 14 key battlefield states, according to data compiled by researchers at Tufts University.

“We just arrived and have as many students as we could attend on their floor,” said Jess Scott, who asked the University of Pittsburgh resident advisers to organize voter information sessions on Zoom.

It’s not just the coronavirus that has hampered student efforts to vote. New requirements, often in Republican-led states, can prevent college voting.

“Under the guise of health concerns, officials tried to keep polling stations away from college campuses,” Dan said. “They are limiting early voting hours and eliminating postal voting.”

Students, Dan said, are extremely vulnerable. The coronavirus has heightened concerns over student IDs and proof of residency, as documents go online and many students learn in other places this semester.

Some colleges also did not prioritize voting. The University of Georgia canceled plans to vote on campus, citing concerns over social distancing, but chose to allow up to 23,000 fans to attend home football games. After a major outcry, the university gave in and will house voting booths in the basketball zone.

“If we can have the football, we should have the vote too,” tweeted the University of Georgia Fair Fight chapter, a voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams.

In 2018, around 58% of election officials were over 61 years old. Now, with older people more at risk of coronavirus, students and young people have stepped up to staff the front lines and keep polling stations open during the pandemic.

“It’s less risky for me than for my grandmother or my parents to go to work in the polling stations,” said Max Weiss, a 25-year-old law student at William & Mary who will be working in Virginia this year. . “I feel a kind of duty to the country to do this.”

Weiss, whose grandmothers worked in polls for years, is one of the founders of the Alliance of Students at the Polls, a nationwide network of law students facilitating the recruitment and training of polling officers. students.

“I’m worried about going out and going to class, but I would much rather put myself in danger,” he said.

Credit…Max Weiss

Energized by issues such as climate change and protests against police brutality, the young people have volunteered en masse. In doing so, they assume a role in politics, often in reaction to their own lack of commitment in 2016.

Kira Tebbe, a freshman in business school at the University of Chicago, heard about a shortage of survey staff on TikTok. She has signed up to help out in Chicago and will be working at her polling station at the Drake Hotel. Tuesday, she will come armed with a KN95 mask.

“He was definitely motivated by, ‘If there aren’t enough poll workers, the polling stations just can’t be opened,” said Tebbe, 26. “What can I do for me? ensure that polling stations are open? I myself can be there physically. ”

To free up her schedule, Tebbe just emailed the teacher from her Tuesday class and told her she would be a poll worker. She then watches the recorded conference.

“Students are well prepared to become polling agents because we have flexible hours,” she said. “I haven’t given up a day’s pay. I didn’t have to use paid time off. It was weak enough for me to start working in the polls.

For high school students, working at the polls is a way to participate in politics, sometimes even before they can vote themselves.

Lucy Duckworth, a 17-year-old high school student in Philadelphia, said she got the idea to work on the polls through a friend’s Instagram story in July. She knows that volunteering comes with risk. But she does what she has to do.

“At the end of the day, the polls have to stay open and someone has to work on them,” she said.

  • Syracuse University could face a closure after several off-campus parties, university officials said.

  • Small mission-oriented colleges like Benedictine College in Kansas are doing relatively well during the pandemic, NPR reports.

  • Cases increase to Hartwick College, a private college in central New York State.

  • A good read: The Washington Post took a close look Penn State, where scientists are studying the virus as football goes on. “Inside the Pell Lab, there is little concern,” Kent Babb wrote. “There is protection. There is respect. It is, they know, the only place in Penn State where the coronavirus is truly contained.

  • An eighth grade student Missouri died of complications caused by the coronavirus. Peyton Baumgarth, 13, is the first person under the age of 18 to die in the state, reported.

  • After pressure from the teachers’ union, Washington DC canceled plans to reopen classrooms for some elementary students next week.

  • In New Jersey, state officials said the clusters in three schools could be linked to transmission to the school. Since the start of the school year, at least 122 students and school staff have contracted the virus during outbreaks at school, reported.

  • The virus has hit educators in Arkansas hard. Since the end of August, more than 2,000 teachers and staff in public schools have tested positive and at least six have died.

  • Remember an educator: Choua Yang founded a charter school in Minneapolis dedicated to Hmong language, culture and heritage. A refugee herself, she used her personal story to explain the story to her students. She died at 53 from Covid-19.

College students, we know you and your families are facing a difficult decision regarding Thanksgiving this year. It’s a year where we want to be together more than ever, but the risks are real. Some public health officials fear that students may unknowingly spread the virus across the country.

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In Texas, polls open for cemetery change

HOUSTON – Felix Sylvester walked straight to the polling station after work and cast his ballot within minutes. There was no queue, maybe because it was 3 a.m. a few minutes

The parking lot was lit in the pre-dawn darkness by towering lampposts. Most Houstonians slept – most, but not all. Mr Sylvester, 65, voted early Friday at one of eight Harris County polling stations which, five days before the election, remained open all night. For him, it was more than a matter of convenience; it was probably the difference between voting and not voting.

Mr. Sylvester works in a grain elevator on the Houston Ship Channel. He worked eight-hour and 12-hour shifts, making it nearly impossible to vote during the early voting period in Texas, when polling stations were typically open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It would have been difficult, because if I work at night, I sleep during the day,” he says. It happened that 3 am was a time that worked for him.

The 2020 election now has something in common with 7-Eleven: 24-hour service.

From 7 a.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday, the eight voting sites gave new meaning to the concept of early voting, operating in the cities of Houston, Pasadena and Cypress. Voters in America’s third most populous county voted at 2 a.m. as if it were 2 p.m., as part of a push by predominantly Democratic county officials to expand voter access to the midst of ‘pandemic within three weeks. early voting period, which ended on Friday.

The numbers clearly indicated that this was not just a gimmick. During the night rush hours – 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. – 10,250 people voted in the eight locations. More than 800 of those voters voted between midnight and 7 a.m., election officials said.

Late-night voters were students and retirees, men and women, gay and straight, parents who brought their children and workers who entered still wearing their ID strings and nameplates.

Leslie Johnson, 29, who works for an oil services company, finished the job, went to the wrong voting site and finally voted in a nightclub shortly after 7 p.m. Richard Munive, 33, a bar back who is the son of a Colombian immigrant, checked in around 1:30 a.m., took off his work shoes, and voted at 2:30 a.m., a few hours before starting his second job at a printing warehouse in t- shirts.

In three polling stations overnight, it was democracy in action, in the dark. The locations were near the old Astrodome of the NRG Park stadium complex, the Tracy Gee Community Center in a diverse neighborhood north of Chinatown, and a facility in a historically black neighborhood called Kashmere Gardens.

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Many of the voters at those polling stations were black, Hispanic or Asian, and the vast majority said they were Democrats who voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr. for the presidency. Some said they went to the polls at night, when they could, because they didn’t want to miss what could be a historic election that could change the political landscape in Texas. Others said it was simply because they almost always worked late or stayed up late, and polls in Texas never do.

Mr Sylvester, who is from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, finished his work around 2 a.m. and went to the polls after hearing the information about the 24-hour vote. When asked who he supported for the presidency, Mr. Sylvester laughed.

It was too late for politics. Or too early.

“I voted for the winner,” he said.

Malea Hardeman, 24, has the type of job that rarely fits a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule. She was therefore delighted to be able to vote at 11:30 p.m.

“It really relieved the stress of trying to figure out where to fit it in,” Hardeman said after the vote. “I’m a doula, so my working hours are completely random. Because babies are all the time.

Ms Hardeman voted in an all-night venue at NRG Arena. A nearby drive-in concert, hosted by civic engagement group Move Texas to attract people to the nightly polls, had just ended.

The concert headliner was Houston rap superstar Bun B. For many viewers, there was another superstar on the show – the young man in charge of the 24-hour voting, Chris Hollins, the most senior election official in Harris County.

Mr. Hollins, 34, is Harris County’s youngest and first black clerk. It has worked to make voting easier during the pandemic, tripling the number of early voting sites and opening drive-through polls. The all-night voting event was the first time in Texas history that polls were open 24 hours a day.

For years, Republican leaders in Texas have fought to toughen the state’s voting rules, passing voter identification legislation and other measures. The initiatives led by Mr. Hollins, a Democrat, have been challenged in court by Republican officials and conservative activists. Despite these legal battles, the turnout in Harris County exceeded the 2016 early vote total; 1.4 million people voted in person or by mail during the early voting period that ended on Friday. Across Texas, more advance ballots were cast this year than the total number of votes cast in 2016.

“There are a lot of people in this county and around this country who work non-traditional hours and live non-traditional hours, and for good reason,” Hollins said. “One evening, we give them the opportunity to vote at a time that suits them.”

The late-night voting site in West Houston near the Chinatown neighborhood had what no other had: free tacos.

State Representative Gene Wu, a Democrat from Houston, had organized and paid for Boombox Taco to park his truck in a community center parking lot and serve voters. People stood by the truck with plates of tacos on an unusually cold Houston night, lingering after the vote.

Jovany Ramirez, 19, was still wearing his Burger King uniform when he voted around 1 a.m. Carlos Davis, 41, was in his nursing clothes.

“Just like with health care, there is no such thing as access,” Davis said. “If you don’t have access to it, you have nothing.”

As any ATM manager will tell you, sometimes things get busy long after midnight. And sometimes things are extremely slow.

After Mr Sylvester voted at 3 a.m. at a community center in Kashmere Gardens, the minutes passed quietly and without voters.

And then, shortly before 4 a.m., Brittany Hayes, 33, pulled up, a small mine of antivirus masks hanging from the rearview mirror. She too got in and out within minutes.

“I work nights and usually get off at 9:30 am, so the polling stations are closed,” said Ms. Hayes, a customer service representative and mother of two who describes herself as a night owl, said. state. said, her 1 year old. “I still vote. I feel like it’s a way for our voices to be heard.

The parking lot was freezing cold. Ms Hayes wrapped herself up, just after voting but long before dawn, in the Stars and Stripes blanket that she keeps in her car.

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For Trump, “the polls that matter” indicate victory. The others are “false”.

When President Trump talks about polls, he focuses a lot on investigators he thinks are right for him. The polls that show him behind Joseph R. Biden Jr. – virtually all national polls – are “fake news.”

The President’s blind vision has created something of an alternate universe, a universe not governed by poll averages or independent analysis, but by declarative statements that, at times, feel like they came out of nowhere.

This month, Mr. Trump proclaimed on Twitter that he “wins BIG in all the polls that matter.”

These polls seem to boil down to Rasmussen Reports, which still – and in isolation – has a rosier image for the president nationwide than other surveys, and the Trafalgar Group, which has achieved better numbers for Mr Trump in the Midwestern states.

His approach to polls, choose your own adventure, which has shown a weak understanding of data science, and his statements came as his advisers try to take on serious polls and data analytics to make sense of it. that the electorate will vote in 2020. like.

It’s a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s public comments since he first ran for president that he treats the polls as rigged against him if it is not favorable for him. Although his campaign has spent $ 10 million in the past two years on some of the most sophisticated data available, the president prefers to use what he sees on the news. And he treats voter support as a mystical rather than a mathematical proposition.

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers believe there is a source of “timid” or “hidden” Trump voters – mostly white people with no college education in rural areas – who are not forthright with pollsters about their choice of president, or are not responsive to pollsters at all.

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This week, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, gave his own take on how polls work to Fox News, touting “big data modeling” on old-fashioned phone calls.

“I speak to all of my directors of state,” said Mr. Kushner, who has positioned himself as the Trump campaign leader, although he is not actually the campaign manager, adding: “I thinks phone surveys are an outdated method, especially in an age of cancellation culture. You have a lot of snake oil vendors that have been in the business for a long time and they do.

He concluded: “They were all completely wrong last time around and they haven’t made any changes in the future.”

That’s not quite true: Although many state polls turned out to be grossly false in 2016, the national polls that predicted Hillary Clinton narrowly winning the most votes were close to the target, and many polling stations have made changes, weighting, for example, for educational background. .

Complaining that the polls are “biased” against Republicans has been a vocal pastime for Republican candidates for several election cycles, peaking in 2012, when Mitt Romney was the party’s presidential candidate.

Officials continue to claim in 2020 that the public poll is bogus because they are “biased” against Mr. Trump, overweighting Democrats in the samples.

Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster with Public Opinion Strategies, said incumbents typically found themselves “on election day with a voting share less than a point or two off their October job approval score.” In Mr. Trump’s case, his average approval score is 45%, according to Real Clear Politics.

The Trump campaign has spent years and probably millions of dollars engaging white voters without a college education who are eligible to vote but did not vote in 2016. There are nearly 1.5 million potential voters. in Michigan and over two million in Pennsylvania.

But at the end of the day, much of the “hidden” vote remains hidden – which is why the turnout is never 100%, Mr. Blizzard said.

Beyond polls, fundamentals that shape the electorate, like the economy and the record coronavirus surge, are “increasingly worrying” for Mr. Trump, said Liam Donovan, a seasoned Republican strategist.

“Ironically, the polls are perhaps the best thing the Trump campaign has yet,” he said.

While Mr. Trump is making the poll a mainstay, his campaign and the Republican National Committee are relying on data to decide where to allocate resources. One of the darker issues is the modeling that voters will run for during a pandemic and economic downturn.

And the Trump campaign has made poll data one of its deepest secrets since an internal poll leak at the start of the campaign prompted a reshuffle of the polling team.

The campaign used a variety of analyzes, not all of which overlap. The traditional poll was run by Republican pollsters Tony Fabrizio and John McLaughlin, who were hired when Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager, was leading the effort; Mr Parscale’s deputy campaign manager, former White House political director Bill Stepien, took over in July.

Former Cambridge Analytica manager Matt Oczkowski, nicknamed “Oz”, was also analyzed. Mr Kushner has delayed Mr Oczkowski’s analyzes, which run counter to public polls and suggest the votes will break Mr Trump’s path in the final days of the campaign, people who have heard the comments have said .

The number of polls by Mr. Fabrizio and Mr. McLaughlin has declined in recent weeks. Instead, Mr. Stepien quietly hired another pollster, Bill Skelly, who helped create the intricate modeling of the Republican National Committee for Voter Turnout Scenarios and who performs data analysis for the camp, and Brock McCleary. , who has worked with clients that include Congressional Republicans. Mr. McCleary’s estimates of Mr. Trump’s position in the poll are less “negative” than those of some other Trump pollsters, according to people familiar with the campaign.

Mr Parscale, who had worked fairly closely with the RNC, had envisioned robust and continuous TV ad spending throughout the year. Since he stepped down, the Trump campaign, which has much less money than advisers once anticipated, has cut spending on TV. The exact data that motivated the distribution of the campaign’s remaining ad spend is unclear.

Two Republicans said the campaign had not examined RNC participation models from the time Mr. Parscale was demoted until a meeting a few weeks ago called by Mr. Kushner to have the campaign and the RNC work together more effectively. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, denied that this was the case, and an RNC spokesperson said the organizations were working effectively together.

The RNC’s participation patterns vary from state to state, but in some scenarios it shows Mr. Trump is performing worse than in the campaign’s own polls, two people briefed on the numbers said.

Nonetheless, this meeting resulted in a final allocation of $ 26 million to RNC-run television.

It remains to be seen whether the weeks without a united front between the campaign and the party committee will have been a major factor in the outcome of the race. It is also unclear whether the “hidden” voters the Trump team has sought count for more than a few percentage points.

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Election pending, Biden leads Trump in four key states, polls

Yet the enthusiasm Mr. Trump elicits among his supporters remains a factor in the election. Linda Shoop, of Halifax, Pennsylvania, said she did not vote in 2016, but not for lack of preference: a Trump supporter, Ms Shoop suffers from arthritis and has difficulty getting around. But with mail-in voting more widely available this year, she said she would vote by mail for the president.

“He has common sense,” Ms. Shoop said, describing him as more blunt than a longtime politician like Mr. Biden. The president, she said, “don’t lie to you. If he says he’s going to do something, he goes and does it.

If the president is defeated, the most obvious explanation may be his weakness with women. Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump to double digits among female voters in each of the four states, and in some states the advantage was so large it outweighed Mr. Trump’s strength among men.

In Arizona, for example, the president had an eight-point advantage over the men, but Mr. Biden was the overwhelming favorite for the women, winning 56% of them against 38% for Mr. Trump.

The other group that propels Mr. Biden are college-educated white voters, a traditionally Republican bloc that fled the Trump-era party. The former vice president leads in double digits among white college-educated voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona and beats him, 48 to 45 percent, with that riding in Florida.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, home to Phoenix and its suburbs, Mr. Biden wins 48 percent of the vote to Mr. Trump’s 42 percent, according to the survey. In 2016, Mr. Trump won the county by three points.

Mr Biden is also set to become the first Democrat in 20 years to transport the elderly, voters most at risk with the coronavirus. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the former vice president leads in double digits with older voters. And in Florida and Arizona, a retirement haven with richer and more tax-phobic seniors, Mr. Trump is effectively tied with Mr. Biden among older voters, though he has won with them convincingly in both states in 2016.

The president remains in contention in Florida on the strength of his support of working-class whites and his gains among Hispanic voters. He’s more competitive with the Florida Latinos than in 2016, and 9% of them remain undecided.

Hispanic men in Florida, in particular, are more willing to support Mr. Trump. The poll found that the two candidates divided that group almost equally, with Mr Biden ahead by just one point. But the president faces an even bigger gender gap in the Hispanic community than overall: Latinas favor Mr. Biden by 39 points.