Election 2020 live updates: Biden lead over Trump narrows in key swing states as campaign enters final hours

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Election Day is just a day away. More than 94 million ballots have already been cast. The polling averages have been steady, showing Joe Biden with a large national lead over President Trump. In swing states, where the election will be decided, polling averages are tighter, although Biden has an edge in most of them. Both candidates are hitting the road today in one last mad dash before the voters who haven't cast their ballots early head to the polls. Trump will split his time between Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, while Biden will focus mainly on Pennsylvania and a stop in Ohio.

While the campaign will be finished Election Day, the fight over the vote will have just be begun. Here's a guide to when states start counting their ballots.

Trump, Biden make last-ditch effort to mobilize support in battleground states
Trump, Biden make last-ditch effort to mobilize support in battleground states

Biden leads narrowly in six swing states, CNBC poll shows

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over President Donald Trump in six swing states heading into Election Day, according to a new CNBC/Change Research poll.

  • All six swing states: Biden 50%, Trump 46%
  • Arizona: Biden 50%, Trump 47%
  • Florida: Biden 51%, Trump 48%
  • Michigan: Biden 51%, Trump 44%
  • North Carolina: Biden 49%, Trump 47%
  • Pennsylvania: Biden 50%, Trump 46%
  • Wisconsin: Biden 53%, Trump 45%

The poll surveyed 3,328 people from Thursday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.

— Spencer Kimball

YouTube says it's ending full-day 'masthead' ad reservations, which Trump was able to use for Election Day

Google said it's ending full-day ad reservations, which are the same kind of ads that allowed Trump to dominate YouTube's homepage on Election Day.

The Google-owned company confirmed to CNBC Monday that it will be "retiring" reservations for full-day advertisements on its coveted homepage ad spot known as its "masthead," beginning in 2021. Instead, advertisers will only be able to buy that spot on a per-impression basis.

A company spokeswoman said it began notifying advertisers of the change "earlier in the year" but declined to specify exactly when. The company said the change wasn't related to the dueling political campaigns but wouldn't comment further on the timing.

The company has faced scrutiny in the days leading up to the U.S. election, having granted President Donald Trump early access to its coveted masthead spot during key days, including Nov. 1 through Nov. 3. Masthead ads cost a reported $2 million a day and is available to only one advertiser per day.

— Jennifer Elias

Facebook will label claims of premature victory with accurate information

Facebook on Monday provided previews of the labels it will use if any U.S. presidential candidate declares a premature election victory.

The labels will advise Facebook users that votes are still being counted and that the election has not yet been projected. The labels will also point users to accurate election updates.

The company had announced its intention to use these labels in September. Axios on Sunday reported that President Donald Trump has told those around him that he'll declare victory on Tuesday night if he appears to be ahead.

— Sal Rodriguez

Airline crews avoiding city centers in case of election unrest, protests

Businesses board up buildings ahead of feared election unrest
Businesses board up buildings ahead of feared election unrest

Some airline crews will lodge at airport hotels and avoid downtown accommodations just in case there are protests and unrest during and following Election Day.

United Airlines pilots with layovers in seven cities this week, including Washington, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia, will stay close to the airport "out of an abundance of caution," the pilots' union told members.

"In order to prevent any potential delays of our crewmembers getting to where they need to be on time, we have relocated some of our crews to airport hotels," a United Airlines spokesman said in a statement.

United and Alaska Airlines flight attendants will also change to airport hotels away from some city centers, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, their union.

Airlines regularly switch crews' hotels during special events, demonstrations, natural disasters and other issues, but the move tied to an election is unusual, according to unions.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and will make adjustments as needed," an American Airlines spokesman said in a statement. "The safety of our team members is our highest priority."

The Allied Pilots Association, the union of American's roughly 14,000 pilots, told members to "exercise increased vigilance with regard to personal security during the coming days, as election-related unrest may occur."

The union told pilots to avoid large groups, protests and going out alone.

Delta Air Lines said it can change crew hotels when warranted but declined to provide specifics "out of many safety and security considerations."

Leslie Josephs

Morgan Stanley strategist: Investors are eyeing Senate races closely

If the Democrats don't win the Senate, there may not be a second fiscal stimulus: Morgan Stanley's Zezas
If the Democrats don't win the Senate, there may not be a second fiscal stimulus: Morgan Stanley's Zezas

Investors will closely be watching the outcome in key U.S. Senate races on Election Day because of the upper chamber's impact on coronavirus stimulus negotiations, according to Morgan Stanley's Michael Zezas.

Democrats capturing a majority in the Senate, while also winning the presidency and retaining control of the House, means there is likely "a very clear path towards major fiscal expansion," Zezas said on "Closing Bell."

On the other hand, the bank's head of U.S. public policy research said that Republicans maintaining their advantage in the Senate could portend "a very bumpy path towards, potentially, little to no fiscal expansion." Zezas noted the current opposition from GOP senators to more government spending in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

"That vote count problem will still be there, in terms of getting legislation passed, even if Joe Biden takes the White House and the Republicans keep control of the Senate," Zezas said. "What is going to move them off that position? It would probably have to be some demonstration that it's the wrong view, and so for investors, you might have to experience some pain in the data and some challenge in the markets before you get there."

Kevin Stankiewicz

Uber and Lyft rise as investors expect California voters to pass Prop 22

Shares of Uber and Lyft shares rose 4.2% and 7.3%, suggesting investors believe Californians will vote tomorrow to pass Proposition 22.

The measure would allow ride-sharing and delivery companies to maintain their current business models and continue classifying their workers as contractors, rather than employees.

Uber and Lyft are strongly in favor of Proposition 22 they have contributed most of the nearly $190 million already raised to get the measure passed, and they have pushed for the measure in messages to users on their apps.

UC Berkeley poll from late October found 46% of voters were planning to vote yes on Proposition 22, while 42% were voting no and 12% were undecided.—Michelle Gao

Biden leads Trump in national polls but key states tighten, surveys show

Joe Biden has held onto a consistent lead over President Trump in the national polls, but the gap appeared to be tightening in key swing states on the eve of the election.

Here's what national polling trackers said Monday afternoon:

RealClearPolitics' average of polls in six key battlegrounds, all of which Trump won in 2016, has Biden leading by 2.7 percentage points. North Carolina and Arizona, both of which have voted for the GOP's presidential candidate in most recent elections, are the tightest races in that tracker.

Both candidates have zeroed in on Pennsylvania, another key swing state. RCP's polling average of the Keystone State had Biden up 2.9 points on Trump. A week earlier, Biden led by 4.8 percentage points.

—Kevin Breuninger

Judge tosses lawsuit challenging Harris County, Texas, drive-thru ballots

Demonstrator Gina Dusterhoft holds up a sign as she walks to join others standing across the street from the federal courthouse in Houston, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, before a hearing in federal court involving drive-thru ballots cast in Harris County.
David J. Phillip | AP

Houston, the GOP has a problem.

A federal judge tossed out a Republican-filed lawsuit that sought to invalidate about 127,000 ballots already cast at new drive-thru polling places in Harris County, Texas, and to bar those locations on Election Day.

Judge Andrew Hanen, saying he wasn't "happy" about his decision, ruled that plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge the drive-thru voting sites, which Harris County put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, is the third largest county in the nation, and has seen Democrats make significant gains in voting over Republicans in recent elections. Plaintiffs in the case included three GOP candidates for office.

Hanen's ruling was the latest legal defeat for Republicans who argue that drive-thru voting is illegal under state law and that fear of catching the coronavirus does not trigger the exception that Texas state law allows for so-called curbside voting.

The prior defeats were at the Texas Supreme Court, where Republicans hold all seats. Hanen was appointed to the federal district court by President George W. Bush, a Republican and former governor of Texas.

GOP presidential nominees for decades have had a lock on Texas' Electoral College votes.

But this year, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has come within striking distance of President Donald Trump in Lone Star State voter opinion polls, making the question of Harris County's record early-voting turnout and drive-thru ballot options one of national interest.

Hanen's ruling is likely to be appealed. But he indicated in an oral decision that if the case is returned to him by a federal appeals court, he would be inclined to bar drive-thru voting in Harris County on Election Day, but not to invalidate the ballots already cast.

— Dan Mangan

Milwaukee officials could be counting absentee votes until 6 a.m. Wednesday

Ruby Lenora casts her in-person vote on her 73rd birthday at a polling site at the Milwaukee Public Library?s Washington Park location in Milwaukee, on the first day of in-person voting in Wisconsin, U.S., October 20, 2020.
Bing Guan | Reuters

Absentee votes in the key battleground state of Wisconsin likely won't be fully tallied until the early morning hours Wednesday, a Milwaukee County election official cautioned Monday.

 "We are anticipating finishing this [absentee counting] process between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the morning after the election," Milwaukee County Elections Director Julietta Henry told reporters at a briefing.

More than 205,000 absentee ballots have been returned in the county, according to the U.S. Elections Project, making up more than 16% of the total absentee ballots returned in the state so far. Officials are not permitted to count ballots until polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. At that point, cities across the county will use voting machines that can process anywhere from 500 to 2,000 ballots an hour, Henry said.

Different municipalities across the state have varying rules for when they will report their results. While some won't report any results until absentee ballots have been counted and included in the tally, others will initially report their vote counts without absentee ballots and update them later on, according to Henry.

—Lauren Feiner

Top analyst sees Biden winning presidency with 321 electoral votes

University of Virginia's Larry Sabato on the swing states to watch during election day
University of Virginia's Larry Sabato on the swing states to watch during election day

Top elections analyst Larry Sabato told CNBC he believes Democratic nominee Joe Biden will win the White House with 321 electoral votes, compared with President Donald Trump's 217, in Tuesday's presidential election.

"The vast majority of the reactions we've had to this release today is that we have undershot Biden's total by quite a bit, though I'm very comfortable to have undershot it," Sabato said on "Power Lunch."

The director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia said his forecast tally includes Trump winning Florida, Texas and Ohio. Sabato said Florida, in particular, is "a total coin toss," but recent underperformance by Democrats in the Sunshine State helps give Trump the edge.

Sabato said he sees Biden winning North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and "maybe Arizona." He explained, "The latest polls in Arizona have it closing up to a total tie, so there are going to be some very close states."

Trump has a path to win, Sabato said, one of which relies on large numbers of unregistered voters turning out "as happened in 2016 in key states like Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania."

Kevin Stankiewicz

Biden has big lead over Trump nationally, narrow edges in Florida and Ohio, polls say

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a comfortable national lead over President Donald Trump, while he has a small edge in key Electoral College targets Florida and Ohio, new Quinnipiac University polls found.

  • National: Biden 50%, Trump 39%
  • Florida (29 Electoral College votes): Biden 47%, Trump 42%
  • Ohio (18 Electoral College votes): Biden 47%, Trump 43%

Recent surveys have found the presidential race close in both Florida and Ohio. Trump likely needs to win both states in order to have a path to a second term in the White House.

Biden stopped in Cleveland for an event on the day before Election Day.

The national poll surveyed 1,516 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The Florida survey sampled 1,657 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

The Ohio poll surveyed 1,440 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. All three were taken from Wednesday through Sunday.

—Jacob Pramuk

Biden and Harris will travel to battleground states on Election Day

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, U.S. Senator and Democratic candidate for Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff celebrate after Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

Democratic nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris will travel to key battleground states to get out the vote on Election Day, the campaign announced Monday.

Biden will visit Scranton and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania while Harris travels to Detroit.

Their spouses, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, respectively, will also visit several other critical states on Tuesday. Jill Biden will go to Tampa and St. Petersburg in Florida and Wake County, North Carolina. Emhoff will visit Columbus, Ohio, the campaign said.

—Lauren Feiner

Biden speaks in Ohio, slams Trump's coronavirus response

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden salutes supporters during the Get Out The Vote event in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., November 2, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

Joe Biden targeted Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic in a final campaign pitch to voters in Ohio, slamming the president for his "surrender" to the virus.

"The first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump," Biden said in a speech delivered in an airport hangar to a crowd of supporters, many of whom sat in their cars in order to maintain social distancing.

The event came in stark contrast with Trump's own campaign rallies, which have featured throngs of supporters packed tightly together, often without masks on. The president, who spoke for more than an hour at a rally earlier Monday in North Carolina, made few references to the pandemic.

But Biden zeroed in on Trump's recent suggestion that he might fire his administration's leading epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, after the election.

Biden told the Cleveland crowd he had a "better idea."

"Elect me and I'm going to hire Dr. Fauci and we're going to fire Donald Trump. Donald Trump waved the white flag of surrender to this virus," Biden said.

The Democratic nominee is scheduled to campaign in Pennsylvania later Monday. —Kevin Breuninger

Biden leads Trump by 5 points in Pennsylvania, dead heat in Arizona, new polls say

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads incumbent President Donald Trump by 5 percentage points in the battleground state of Pennsylvania — but is dead even with the Republican incumbent in Arizona, according to new NBC News/Marist polls.

Biden, a former vice president, had the support of 51% of likely voters in Pennsylvania, compared with 46% for Trump, the poll in the Keystone State found.

That gap is within the NBC News/Marist poll's margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. In September, the same poll showed a 9 percentage point lead for Biden.

Analysts have said that Pennsylvania could provide the decisive Electoral College votes for this year's presidential race.

Trump won the state by just 0.7 percentage point over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

In Arizona, both Biden and Trump had the support of 48% of likely voters, according to that poll, which has a 4.5% margin of error. The president won Arizona by 3 percentage points in 2016.

That same poll found Mark Kelly, the Democratic nominee in the special election for one of Arizona's U.S. Senate seats, ahead with 52% of likely voters, compared with 46% for incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican.

In both Pennsylvania and Arizona, Biden is leading by wide margins among people who said they have already voted.

—Dan Mangan

Trump rallies North Carolina supporters, kicking off swing-state sweep before Election Day

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., November 2, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Trump touched down in North Carolina to deliver the first of five scheduled speeches at campaign rallies in four crucial swing states.

Trump's final push on the eve of the election began in Fayetteville, where he railed against his Democratic rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, in front of a large crowd of supporters.

The president also spent significant chunks of the speech dishing out criticisms related to his polling numbers, media "suppression," his impeachment fight with congressional Democrats, the Russia pro