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Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to the swing state of Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon to deliver a forceful call for national unity and make the case that the election is not about partisan disagreements but about issues with life-and-death consequences.
In a speech in Gettysburg, where a Civil War battlefield serves as a symbol of a country divided against itself, Mr. Biden will reiterate the notion that the election is “a battle for a soul of the nation,” according to his campaign, reprising a central theme of his candidacy four weeks before Election Day.
Though it is perhaps too soon for the address to amount to a closing argument, his remarks suggest that he intends to end his bid for the White House as he began it: by casting the election as a national emergency whose outcome will determine the trajectory of the country for years to come.
Seizing on the latest Trump-fueled chaos — this time the president’s cavalier attitude toward the coronavirus even despite being sickened by it himself — Mr. Biden intends to build on his longstanding arguments about the need for calm and to further make the case for himself as a unifying figure who transcends partisan battle lines.
Earlier in the day, at the end of a virtual fund-raising event, Mr. Biden said he had “worked and worked and worked on” the speech and indicated it would be “about how the soul of America and racial equality and what significant trouble we’re in right now.”
“Some people may think it’s a little dramatic, but I think it’s appropriate,” he said. “We have to unite this nation and I’ve decided to do it from Gettysburg. I’ve worked on this speech very, very, very hard.”
His trip to Gettysburg comes as he seeks to press his advantage over Mr. Trump, who trails in polls and remains confined to the White House.
Mr. Biden, who has heeded the advice of experts and been cautious about holding in-person events in recent months, prompting mockery from Mr. Trump, is now the candidate who is out on the campaign trail, albeit still with small, socially distanced events that strictly adhere to public health guidelines.
His Pennsylvania trip follows a visit to Florida on Monday and precedes a planned trip on Thursday to Arizona. Mr. Biden is maintaining leads or pulling away from Mr. Trump in polls in all three states.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he planned to attend the presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 15, even as he remains infectious and doctors have warned that the course of his illness is unpredictable. In a tweet on Monday, he also indicated plans to return to the campaign trail soon.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump shared the debate stage in Cleveland a week ago, and Mr. Biden’s campaign said he had tested negative for the coronavirus twice on Friday and again on Sunday. His campaign said that Mr. Biden tested negative again on Tuesday.
After the Commission on Presidential Debates announced plans for Senator Kamala Harris of California and Vice President Mike Pence to debate Wednesday while sitting more than a dozen feet apart and behind plexiglass dividers to prevent any viral transmission, aides to Mr. Pence said that they felt the barriers were unnecessary.
“We don’t think it’s needed,” said Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff. “There’s no science to support it. The tables are 12 feet apart and each participant is tested. It’s important for the American people that the debate go forward, and if she’s more comfortable with plexiglass than that’s fine.”
The Biden campaign was on board with the precautions. “Senator Harris will be at the debate, respecting the protections that the Cleveland Clinic has put in place to promote safety for all concerned,” said Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for Ms. Harris. “If the Trump administration’s war on masks has now become a war on safety shields, that tells you everything you need to know about why their Covid response is a failure.”
The back and forth came as much of official Washington has been upended by a coronavirus outbreak that sent President Trump to the hospital, infected several senators and sent top military leaders into quarantine. The spread through officialdom has injected new uncertainty into the question of whether the debates can be held safely.
The vice-presidential candidates will be kept 12 feet, three inches apart at the debate, the sole vice-presidential debate, organizers said. The gap is actually five inches shorter than the distance that separated President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. last Tuesday in Cleveland.
The commission also pledged to eject any audience members who decline to wear a face mask, an obvious response to last week’s event in Cleveland, where President Trump’s family and aides removed their masks in the debate hall in defiance of rules set by the host, the Cleveland Clinic.
“If anyone does not wear a mask, they will be escorted out,” the debate commission said, although organizers did not specify exactly how that policy might be enforced.
Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who moderated the Cleveland debate, said last week that Mr. Trump was not tested by the Cleveland Clinic before taking the stage, with organizers relying on an “honor system” by which campaigns were expected to report on their own candidate’s health.
For the vice-presidential debate, the commission said that Ms. Harris and Mr. Pence “will be Covid tested prior to the debate,” but which entity would oversee that testing remained unclear.
The use of plexiglass, a precaution intended to keep the candidates and moderator safe, also prompted a disdainful response from Mr. Pence’s camp. “If Senator Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for the vice president, said in a statement.
Unlike at the presidential debate, the moderator — Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today — will not announce her question topics ahead of time. Ms. Page is also expected to be seated 12 feet, 3 inches from the two candidates.
The vice-presidential debate, to be held at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, begins on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern and will last for 90 minutes, divided into nine segments of 10 minutes apiece.
The debate commission said there would be no handshake “or physical greeting” between Ms. Harris and Mr. Pence, and no opening or closing statements.
Florida officials said they would extend the state’s voter registration deadline through 7 p.m. Tuesday after the state’s voter registration website crashed repeatedly Monday night, raising questions about whether the state was prepared for an enormous last-minute influx of voters.
The registration site was experiencing more than a million requests per hour on Monday in the lead-up to the original midnight deadline, said state officials.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the trouble began at about 5 p.m. on Monday. “It was an inordinate amount of traffic,” he said. “If 500,000 people descend at the same time, it creates a bottleneck.”
The website gave users error messages and caused delays, prompting some state officials and cybersecurity experts to question whether the website had been targeted by hackers.
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, a DeSantis appointee who is the state’s top elections official, alluded to a possible outside attack in a statement on Tuesday, saying the state would work with law enforcement “to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process,” she said.
Some cybersecurity analysts said the large influx of requests to the website could have been the result of a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers clog a site with traffic requests until it collapses under the load. But others advised caution, noting that a typical denial-of-service attack often generates hundreds of millions of hits per second.
On Monday night, as the technical problems continued, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter demanding that the deadline be extended until midnight on Tuesday.
Kira Romero-Craft, a Central Florida lawyer, said that several groups representing voters filed suit on Tuesday on behalf of voter organizations and a person who repeatedly tried to register and was unable to.
“They are so not transparent about how they operate the system,” Ms. Romero-Craft said. “They said they were putting in more capacity to sustain increased usage, but they won’t provide more numbers. We went on faith that was being done. The system crashed all day.”
Ms. Romero-Craft said the 7 p.m. deadline was not good enough, because it would be difficult to reach voters to let them know they must try again, and it was unclear whether even then the system would be stable.
Florida has faced similar problems with its voter registration system before. Monday’s issues led Democrats to accuse the state, which also has a Republican-controlled Legislature, of voter suppression.
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Broward County, blamed the “utter incompetence” of Mr. DeSantis, whose administration faced a crisis this year with the collapse of its online unemployment benefits system amid the pandemic.
“This particular blunder intimates a continuing pattern of voter suppression that the governor has become notorious for,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said. “The governor must immediately extend the registration deadline to make up for all the voters he’s disenfranchised.”
President Trump’s illness with Covid-19 brought the campaign into sharper focus on Tuesday, as he continued playing down the dangers of a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans while Joseph R. Biden Jr. and fellow Democrats cast him as dangerously irresponsible in handling the threat to both himself and the nation.
Mr. Trump’s decision to remove his mask as the cameras rolled Monday evening, after he left the hospital and returned to the White House while still infectious, was widely condemned by public health experts and on several television news programs.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump went on Twitter to misleadingly compare the dangers of the coronavirus to the flu, further undercutting the work of public health authorities urging people to take precautions. Twitter hid the president’s post behind a warning that it “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
Mr. Biden, whose campaign had initially taken a cautious tone and pulled down negative ads amid the news that the president had received a life-threatening diagnosis, began to show a greater willingness to draw sharp distinctions with Mr. Trump after he declared that he was feeling better.
The Biden campaign quickly seized on Mr. Trump’s decision to remove his mask, tweeting a video contrasting the moment with footage of Mr. Biden donning one. “Masks matter,” the text read. “They save lives.”
And at a televised town hall in Florida on Monday evening, Mr. Biden suggested that those who, like the president, failed to obey health guidelines were “responsible for what happens to them.”
“What is this macho thing, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask?’” Mr. Biden asked. “What’s the deal, here? Big deal! Does it hurt you? Be patriotic, for God’s sake.”
Other prominent Democrats faulted the president for putting those around him at risk, including by taking a drive outside the hospital on Sunday evening with Secret Service agents in his S.U.V.
The former first lady, Michelle Obama, seemed to allude to that in a tweet on Tuesday. “My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know,” she wrote.
Mr. Trump sought to change the subject from the virus on Tuesday morning with a pair of tweets mischaracterizing Mr. Biden’s positions, including one that falsely claimed that Mr. Biden had moved to the left of Senator Elizabeth Warren on abortion rights and that he wanted to expand the Supreme Court. (On Monday, Mr. Biden had reiterated his openness to passing legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into law if the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, as other Democrats have. Mr. Biden has expressed opposition to expanding the court in the past, and more recently has declined to answer questions on the issue.)
Mr. Trump also said Tuesday that he planned to take part in next Thursday’s debate in Miami, though it is unclear whether health experts will sign off on a debate, or whether Mr. Biden will agree to share a stage with him, given that the president might still be contagious then.
“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!” the president tweeted.
The White House has not been clear about when the president last tested negative for the virus before he tested positive, or when he first fell ill, making it difficult to accurately gauge how long he will remain infectious.
ANNVILLE, Pa. — Entering Ted’s Bar and Grill on Monday, Tim Girvin briefly slid on a “Trump 2020″ face mask before whisking it off to join friends for lunch.
He said those few seconds were the only time he wore a mask all day.
“I have my own business and I don’t have anybody wear a mask in my business,” Mr. Girvin, a used-car dealer, said. “I don’t buy into it.”
On the day that President Trump left the hospital and returned to a White House that is Washington’s most contagious hot spot, ripping off his own mask for the cameras, backers of the president in rural Pennsylvania showed signs of following his lead in questioning, and defying, advice from public health experts.
Mr. Trump’s failure to protect his family and inner circle from the virus was not seen as a reflection of his inability to protect Americans, as the death toll passed 210,000, the most of any country.
They echoed misinformation, and racist, anti-Chinese language, that the president has spread for much of the year, as he has sought to play down the virus’s threat to aid his re-election. Supporters of the president falsely claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was overcounting deaths and cases (actually, the number of excess deaths this year indicates that the official death toll of 210,000 misses tens of thousands of virus victims) and that the virus was introduced and kept in the spotlight by Democrats.
“Joe Biden has enough nerve to say Donald Trump’s killing people? No,” said Mr. Girvin, who has shared social media posts labeled as misinformation by independent fact-checkers. “The far-left liberals are causing this. The Pelosis, the Soroses and all these people, that’s who caused it.”
Brad Dechert, a Trump supporter who visited a Walmart near Annville on Monday without a mask, pronounced Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, as “nothing more than a flu.”
According to the C.D.C., between 24,000 and 62,000 flu-related deaths occur in the United States each year — making the coronavirus much deadlier.
Pennsylvania requires face coverings indoors in locations open to the public, and most businesses, including Walmart, post notices warning patrons not to enter unmasked. But a store greeter identified by her vest as a “Health Ambassador” said she had no power to stop the shoppers who refused to cover up.
Voters in Pennsylvania, however, have been shifting away from Mr. Trump, both on the coronavirus and generally. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday found that five in 10 Pennsylvania voters thought Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, would better handle the pandemic, compared to four in 10 for Mr. Trump.
President Trump’s efforts to project normalcy after being hospitalized with Covid-19 a month before Election Day ran into a major stumbling block on Tuesday: the reality on the ground in Washington, where the coronavirus outbreak has upended the federal government.
The White House, the leading coronavirus hot spot in the nation’s capital, resembled a ghost town, with its most famous inhabitant convalescing in the residence, as a number of advisers and other officials stayed home, either because they had contracted the coronavirus or had been near people who did, including the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who announced on Monday that she had tested positive.
The Capitol, a beehive workplace for 535 legislators and thousands of staff, was eerily empty on Tuesday after Senate leaders agreed to adjourn for two weeks beginning Monday, even as Republicans are trying to fast-track Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. More than 40 senators, along with more than a dozen congressional aides and reporters, have been tested for the coronavirus since late last week, officials said on Tuesday. Three Republican senators — Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — have tested positive in recent days.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with several of the Pentagon’s most senior uniformed leaders, was quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday. The official said almost the entirety of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, are quarantining after Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for coronavirus.
The former first lady Michelle Obama, one of the Democratic Party’s most respected figures, delivered what the Biden campaign called her “closing argument” for Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s candidacy on Tuesday, speaking in deeply personal terms to Americans disillusioned by politics about the need to vote.
In a 24-minute video, Mrs. Obama appealed to parents and young people, white working-class Americans and people of color, lashing President Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus — “he continues to gaslight the American people by acting like this pandemic is not a real threat,” she said — and warning that Mr. Trump’s habit of stoking division could be an effective political tool. She urged voting as the best remedy.
“We can expect that this election will be won by the slimmest of margins, just like it was four years ago,” Mrs. Obama said. “A handful of votes per precinct in Pennsylvania, or Arizona, or Wisconsin, or Florida, or anywhere else will make all the difference.”
As she released the video on her own social media platforms, Mrs. Obama acknowledged Mr. Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis. She alluded to his decision to return to the White House while still receiving treatment for the virus, and the choice to take a drive outside of the hospital on Sunday, a move that some medical experts saw as dangerous for the Secret Service agents around the president.
“My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know,” she wrote on Twitter.
In the video, Mrs. Obama appeared to speak implicitly to white voters who are struggling economically and are put off by terms like white privilege.
“It is frustrating to hear some folks say that you’ve been the beneficiary of privilege, that the color of your skin gives you a head start,” she said. “But right now, the president and his allies are trying to tap into that frustration and distract from his breathtaking failures by giving folks someone to blame other than them. They’re stoking fears about Black and brown Americans.”
That approach, she said, is “morally wrong, and yes, it is racist. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.”
“As a Black woman who has — like the overwhelming majority of people of color in this nation — done everything in my power to live a life of dignity, and service, and honesty, the knowledge that any of my fellow Americans is more afraid of me than the chaos we are living through right now, well, that hurts,” Mrs. Obama said.“Imagine how it feels to wake up every day and do your very best to uphold the values that this country claims to holds dear — truth, honor, decency — only to have those efforts met by scorn, not just by your fellow citizens, but by a sitting president.”
Mrs. Obama said on Twitter that she hesitated to release her message in the wake of Mr. Trump’s contracting the virus, but that “the drama of the past few days has only emphasized what’s at stake in this election — from the coronavirus to a constant drumbeat of fear, division, and chaos that’s threatening to spiral out of control.”
President Trump misrepresented former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s positions on abortion and the Supreme Court on Tuesday as his campaign tried to direct voters’ attention away from the coronavirus.
In two tweets, Mr. Trump claimed that Mr. Biden “just took a more Liberal position on Roe v. Wade than Elizabeth Warren at her highest,” that Mr. Biden “wants to PACK our great United States Supreme Court,” and that he and other Democrats “are fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond.”
None of those statements are true.
Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to a town-hall event on Monday in which Mr. Biden said that, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett were confirmed to the Supreme Court and voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, “the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land.”
That position is not to the left of the one held by Ms. Warren, the Massachusetts senator who ran in the Democratic presidential primary, and the fact that Mr. Biden holds it is not news. He said in response to a New York Times survey last year that he supported legislation to codify Roe’s protections, the same answer every Democratic candidate who completed the survey gave.
Roe v. Wade allows restrictions on abortion in the third trimester, and such procedures are rare: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.2 percent of abortions happen after 20 weeks, and less than 1 percent after 24 weeks. (A pregnancy is considered full-term at 39 weeks.)
Democratic candidates this election cycle have generally declined to endorse restrictions on abortion after a specific date, citing the extenuating circumstances — like threats to the woman’s health or severe fetal abnormalities — that often lead women to seek later abortions.
But abortion “right up until the time of birth” does not exist. And abortion “beyond” birth is a contradiction in terms, because abortion by definition is the termination of a pregnancy; killing a child after birth is infanticide and is illegal.
Mr. Biden has also not endorsed packing the Supreme Court, as Mr. Trump claimed. He has previously rejected the idea, and he has refused to answer the question since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and the president nominated Judge Barrett to replace her.
The last time Kamala Harris stepped onto a debate stage, her Democratic primary campaign was sputtering to a close — running out of money, trailing badly in the polls and fading as a force on policy issues. She dropped out of the race two weeks later.
Now, as Ms. Harris prepares to face off against Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday and to play a high-profile role in the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings, she will be tested as a national leader and a voice of the party like never before. The challenge facing Ms. Harris, who arrived in Washington as a senator in 2017: Can she best her opponents and make the case for Democrats while walking the tightrope of unique expectations that American voters still have for powerful women?
Ms. Harris, the first woman of color on a major party’s national ticket, has tried to downplay expectations for herself in the vice-presidential debate, reflecting concerns quietly raised by some aides and allies that the standard for her success on Wednesday has grown impossible to meet.
“I’m so concerned,” she said with a laugh at a fund-raiser last month. “I can only disappoint.”
While President Trump spent months waging relentless attacks on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s mental acuity, lowering the bar for his opponent, Democrats have, by contrast, heralded Ms. Harris as a star prosecutor and talented debater, which carries its own set of risks.
Mr. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis has injected another element of unpredictability and amped up the pressure on Ms. Harris and Mr. Pence to reassure a jittery public that they can step in as president.
With the vice-presidential debate less than 48 hours away, the Biden campaign began airing ads that exclusively feature Senator Kamala Harris, almost as if Joe Biden’s running mate were at the top of the ticket.
Senator Kamala Harris’s is the first woman of color to appear on a major presidential ticket, and the ad seeks to drive home that message on a granular level.
In an empty auditorium, a young Black girl steps into the spotlight, approaches the microphone and winces at feedback as dramatic music plays. Audio of a news broadcast announcing Ms. Harris’s selection by Mr. Biden starts to play, and the ad cuts to the girl at home watching the news. She sits up, looks at the camera and says, “Wow.”
The ad cuts back to her on stage as she leans into the microphone and announces, “Our time is now” while applause swells.
An overlay fills the screen, with the message “On November 3rd, VOTE for her” — referring to both Ms. Harris and the girl.
Ms. Harris is the first woman of color to appear on a major presidential ticket.
Where It’s Running
Nationally, as well as in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Georgia markets.
Mr. Biden’s chances rest in part on his support among Black voters. Putting Ms. Harris front and center in this ad and highlighting her barrier-breaking selection are part of the Democrats’ attempts to continue to build inroads. And the ad follows a message set by both Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris when she was selected: the importance for the next generation of young Black women to see someone who looks like them on the ticket for the White House.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has stretched his lead over President Trump into double digits in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania less than a month before Election Day, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The Monmouth University poll, which shows Mr. Biden ahead of Mr. Trump 54 percent to 42 percent among registered Pennsylvania voters, is the latest bad news for the incumbent. Mr. Trump has seen his support erode in recent days after a contemptuous and chaotic performance in last week’s debate. In a similar poll conducted by Monmouth last month, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania by only four percentage points.
Polls conducted since the debate have consistently shown Mr. Biden maintaining his comfortable lead over Mr. Trump, and increasing it in some cases.
A poll released by CNN earlier on Tuesday showed the former vice president expanding his national lead to 16 points — up from eight points in a CNN poll conducted a month ago. A national poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College in late September similarly had Mr. Biden ahead by 8 points among likely voters.
But it is a handful of swing states like Pennsylvania that will decide the election. Mr. Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016 en route to his victory over Hillary Clinton; with 20 electoral votes, it remains a hugely important state for both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.
Tuesday’s Monmouth survey found that only 2 percent of voters were undecided and that Mr. Biden’s sizable lead held among likely voters as well.
The poll was conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4 — entirely after the first presidential debate — with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Pollsters said they found “little differentiation” in voters’ preferences before and after the president disclosed Friday that he had Covid-19.
A Times/Siena College survey conducted after last week’s debate found Mr. Biden ahead by seven points among likely voters in Pennsylvania.
Other state polls conducted by The Times showed Mr. Biden up five points among likely voters in Florida, another crucial, populous swing state. Another poll showed Mr. Biden ahead by eight points in Arizona. Mr. Trump won both states in 2016.
Eric Trump’s campaign appearance at a Nevada winery last month violated the state’s coronavirus health and safety regulations, drawing $14,574 in fines.
The heavily attended event featuring President Trump’s middle son violated several rules designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, state officials said in a news release.
The size of the gathering exceeded a state limit of 50 people, attendees flouted social distancing requirements, and many did not wear face masks, another state requirement, according to the Nevada Department of Business & Industry.
The agency said it fined Pahrump Valley Winery $8,501. A contractor hired by the Trump campaign was fined $6,073.
The fines, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, are the second time this year that the Trump campaign violated Nevada’s health directives.
The city of Henderson, 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas, had fined a manufacturing facility last month after Mr. Trump’s appearance there drew about 5,000 people. Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, called the gathering “reckless and selfish.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign has made a play for Nevada, a state he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, in 2016. But the most recent polls there show former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with an eight-point lead over Mr. Trump with only four weeks remaining in the campaign.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. increased his steady national lead over President Trump to 16 points in a poll released by CNN on Tuesday, another sign that Mr. Trump’s re-election chances were damaged by his debate performance last week.
The poll, conducted from last Thursday to Monday — entirely after the debate and mostly after Mr. Trump revealed he had contracted the coronavirus — showed Mr. Biden with the support of 57 percent of likely voters, and Mr. Trump with the backing of 41 percent. Eight percent of respondents said there was still a chance they might change their minds.
The winner of the November election is determined by how candidates perform in particular states and in the Electoral College. But national polls offer a broad view of the state of the race, and the CNN survey adds to a growing pile of evidence that Mr. Trump was, at the very least, unable to cut into Mr. Biden’s stable lead at the debate.
In CNN’s last national survey, conducted a month ago, Mr. Biden was up eight points among registered voters. A national poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College in late September similarly had Mr. Biden ahead by 8 points among likely voters.
Polling after the chaotic debate has mostly shown Mr. Biden maintaining or expanding his lead. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey released Sunday had Mr. Biden up 14 percentage points nationally.
The picture is no better for Mr. Trump at the state level. Times/Siena College surveys conducted after last week’s debate found Mr. Biden ahead by seven points among likely voters in Pennsylvania; five points among likely voters in Florida; and eight points in Arizona. Mr. Trump won all three states in 2016.
Mere hours before the midnight cutoff for Arizona voters to register for the November election, a federal district court judge extended the deadline by nearly three weeks, saying that thousands of people weren’t able to register because of the pandemic.
The Monday night ruling means that voters will have until Oct. 23 to register to vote. But lawyers for the Republican National Committee and Republican National Senatorial Committee immediately filed an appeal.
The question could go to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks.
Arizona is a battleground in the presidential election, with Joseph R. Biden Jr. threatening to flip a state Donald J. Trump won in 2016 and Senator Martha McSally, an appointee who filled John McCain’s seat, trailing in the polls to a Democratic challenger.
The lawsuit, brought by the Latino voter advocacy group Mi Familia Vota, argued that Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order interrupted voter registration drives and that the pandemic stunted the group’s ability to sign people up to vote even after the order was lifted in May.
“Even in those high-traffic areas which remained open, such as grocery stores, it was almost impossible for voter registration staffers to register voters while maintaining the physical distancing of at least six feet required by the governor’s orders,” Zoe Salzman, a lawyer for the group, wrote in the lawsuit.
Arizona’s law requires voters to register 29 days before an election. That’s earlier than most states, and nearly half of states allow voters to register on the day of the election, the lawsuit noted.
The Republican groups argued that registering to vote has “never been easier” because of online and telephonic registration.
But District Judge Steven Logan rejected that argument, writing that a large population in the state doesn’t have internet access, and that while registering to vote has never been easier for some, “others are not so fortunate.”
The new deadline may burden election officials, including Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, who opposed changing the deadline, but the people’s right to vote outweighed that burden, the judge wrote.
“Ballot access is an extremely important right, and it has been restricted during this unprecedented time,” he wrote.
The Supreme Court on Monday mostly reinstated a South Carolina law that requires absentee ballots to be accompanied by a witness’s signature. Lower courts had blocked the law, saying it interfered with the right to vote during a pandemic.
The Supreme Court made an exception for ballots that were cast before it acted and were received by election officials within two days of its order.
The court’s most conservative members, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch, said they would have reinstated the requirement for all ballots.
Only one member of the court provided reasons. In a concurring opinion, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote that the majority’s approach was warranted because state election laws should not ordinarily be second-guessed by federal judges and because the Supreme Court frowns on changes to election procedures made close to Election Day.
Several voters and Democratic groups had sued to block the witness requirement. In granting a preliminary injunction, Judge J. Michelle Childs of the Federal District Court in Columbia, S.C., said the requirement served no useful purpose, rejecting an argument from state officials that the witnesses could aid in potential investigations of voter fraud.
“The fact the witness requirement may provide a lead to investigate absentee fraud is undercut by an utter dearth of absentee fraud,” Judge Childs wrote.
A Republican super PAC founded by the chairman of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors, plans to pump about $7 million over the next month into Senator Thom Tillis’s North Carolina re-election bid, raising fresh questions about partisanship at the Postal Service.
The infusion — which leaders of the PAC, American Crossroads, said would bring its investment in the critical race to more than $20 million — will help blanket the state’s airwaves with advertisements attacking Cal Cunningham, the Democrat challenging Mr. Tillis in a contest seen as a linchpin for control of the Senate.
The deep involvement of American Crossroads, founded and still led in part by Robert M. Duncan, whom President Trump installed at the helm of the Postal Service’s board of governors, is the latest example of a potential conflict of interest at the highest levels of the agency charged with carrying out vote-by-mail operations for November’s elections.
Mr. Duncan sits on the PAC’s board of directors, but its spokesman said he was not involved in day-to-day operations. Still, his position has underscored how a tight-knit circle of Republican donors has risen to power at the Postal Service and fueled concern among Democrats and ethics specialists that their partisan preferences could compromise the agency’s independence.
“There really is a reason to feel like this almost sacred institution in American life is being politicized, and these continued actions by Robert Duncan don’t do anything to dispel that,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal government watchdog group.
In a video posted on an anti-immigration website, the Republican nominee for Senate in Delaware said immigrants “are dismantling our culture” and blamed them for the nation’s ills in a series of xenophobic attacks that she promoted on Twitter.
The candidate, Lauren Witzke, made the remarks in an appearance on VDARE, which has been labeled a “hate website” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to white nationalists and publication of race-based science.
Ms. Witzke, who is challenging Senator Chris Coons, the Democratic incumbent, used the platform to renew her calls for a moratorium on immigration to the United States.
She told the website’s founder, Peter Brimelow, in the online discussion that immigrants were the cause of the financial struggles of Americans and drug addiction. Ms. Witzke tweeted a link to the video on Sunday night, which was reported on earlier by the website Media Matters.
“People are so worried about being called, you know, labeled a white supremacist when, you know, we are giving our country away to foreigners,” Ms. Witzke said. “They are dismantling our culture. They’re taking down our historical monuments. They’re voting against our interests.”
The rise of Ms. Witzke, 32, a pro-Trump populist, in the G.O.P. in Delaware comes as centrist Republicans have become marginalized in the home state of the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
She has been photographed wearing a QAnon T-shirt, a nod to the movement that has peddled conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump is fighting a “deep state” cabal of satanic Democrats.
In the video, Ms. Witzke echoed xenophobic comments that Mr. Trump recently made about Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. At a rally last month, Mr. Trump said that Ms. Omar was unfit to hold office because she had immigrated to the United States from Somalia. Ms. Omar became an American citizen in 2000 and is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
“We see that in Ilhan Omar’s district, you know, a district of refugees, they elected, you know, a third-world dictator, is what they did,” Ms. Witzke said. “And now it looks like the third world.”
Delaware’s Republican Party chairwoman did not respond to a request for comment on Ms. Witzke’s remarks.
Four years ago, when Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia faced off against Mike Pence at the vice-presidential debate, the encounter put two drastically different debate styles on display: Mr. Pence came across as mild-mannered and more formal while Mr. Kaine, a litigator by training, was more of an attack dog, with a tendency to interrupt and talk over Mr. Pence. Even as Mr. Pence made little effort to directly rebut attacks against Donald Trump, Mr. Kaine tried at nearly every turn to offer praise for his running mate, Hillary Clinton.
Ahead of this year’s vice-presidential debate on Wednesday between Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mr. Pence, The New York Times spoke to Mr. Kaine about what Ms. Harris should expect, how the news of Mr. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis might affect the vice president and whether Mr. Kaine is offering Ms. Harris any advice.
The following is an edited and condensed version of the conversation, which was conducted on Friday, after Mr. Trump announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus but before he was hospitalized.
What is it like debating Mr. Pence? What advice are you going to give to Senator Harris?
I’ll answer the first question, not the second one because we’re in conversation about advice, but why would I make that public?
Pence is a professional communicator. He was a radio talk show host before he was in politics, so he can deliver a line. And, I think it’s frustrating when you’re onstage with somebody who’s delivering a line that’s false. But he does it — he can do it very, very well.
Now, Kamala’s good. She’s a prosecutor, and she has evidence to argue. When she was in court back in the day, she would have to argue the evidence. She’s got a lot of evidence to argue. But the vice president is a trained communicator who can look in a camera and basically say anything, even if it’s contrary to the facts, and say it as if he believes it.
Given that, as you said, Pence is a professional communicator, does this kind of huge news — in your experience — does he get rattled by it? Is he going to stay the course? What do you think this does for him?
My prediction is — he has done nothing but be a wonderful salesman for Donald Trump and then talk about how great Donald Trump is going to be; he’s going to do that same thing. At the debate, he will be praising his boss over and over again. He stands next to Donald Trump and smiles and nods and talks about how fantastic he is, and he’ll do that at the debate. The challenge for him is, how can you do that without it going in a completely discordant way with Americans who are suffering?