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

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

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

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

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 probe led by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton and other issues.

The first 45 minutes of the speech included few references to the coronavirus pandemic, cases of which are spiking in numerous states. Trump said that his administration is prepared to mass distribute a vaccine for Covid-19 "in just a few short weeks." Leading public health experts have repeatedly said a vaccine likely won't be widely available until the middle of next year even in a best-case scenario.

Trump is set to fly to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin later in the day.

"I have like five of these to do today, so let's get going," Trump said near the start of the remarks.

Kevin Breuninger

Massachusetts makes up to 1,000 National Guard available

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed an order making 1,000 National Guard available to respond to potential unrest after Election Day.

The commonwealth's public safety office said the guard is available upon request by local authorities if they need help "to maintain public safety or protect opportunities to exercise first amendment rights during large scale events." 

"At this time we are aware of no specific or credible threats to election sites in Massachusetts," said Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason. "We continue to monitor all available intelligence and will maintain an enhanced operational posture for Election Day and beyond, and will be prepared to assist in any situations that arise in order to protect public safety and the rights of all our citizens."

The public safety office noted that similar orders taken as a precaution by the governor in recent months ultimately have not required Guard operations.

— Spencer Kimball

Pennsylvania National Guard prohibited from polling places

National Guard members confer while patrolling the area around Philadelphia City Hall on October 30, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mark Makela | Getty Images

Unless there is civil unrest following the election, the Pennsylvania National Guard will remain deployed in Philadelphia for the sole purpose of responding to protests in the wake of the fatal police shooting of a Black man last week, Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Pennsylvania is a crucial state in Tuesday's presidential election between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

"The National Guard is prohibited from places of election, by law, and Pennsylvanians should take comfort that this reality will not change under the Wolf Administration. That said, the National Guard will be prepared for potential deployment across the commonwealth, after November 3, but only in the event if there is civil unrest following the election," Wolf's office said in a statement Monday.

The Philadelphia mayor's office said the deployment of the Pennsylvania National Guard in Philadelphia "will be reviewed on a day-to-day basis."

"But to be clear, the PA National Guard have been deployed solely in light of last week's civil unrest and their presence is unrelated to the election," Mayor Jim Kenney's office said in a statement Monday.

Walter Wallace Jr. was fatally shot by Philadelphia police officers last month after the 27-year-old Black man emerged from a house while holding a knife.

— Amanda Macias

DOJ to monitor locations in 18 states for voting rights law compliance

The Justice Department on Monday said it will send personnel to 44 counties and cities in 18 states on Election Day to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws.

The DOJ also will take voting rights complaints through its website — — and its call center, at 800-253-3931.

The department historically has conducted in-field monitoring of jurisdictions on Election Day for possible voting rights violations.

The locales being monitored this year include counties and cities in battleground states at stake in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

The states include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

"Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment," said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the department's Civil Rights Division.

The monitors will include personnel from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Offices.
— Dan Mangan

Read the full list of monitoring locations here.

Top Dem on intel committee warns of disinformation 'immediately before and after Election Day'

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., arrives in the Capitol for the weekly Senate luncheon on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is warning that Americans are likely to be hit by more election-related disinformation.

"Folks: this is an unusual election. Our intelligence community has warned that the period immediately before and after Election Day is going to be uniquely volatile, and our adversaries will seek to take advantage of that," the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote in a post on Twitter.

"Don't make their jobs any easier," he added.

Intelligence officials have warned that Russia and Iran are among the foreign adversaries seeking to influence the election. Security experts have also warned of domestic sources of disinformation.

Warner said the period after votes are cast but before results are known could be especially vulnerable. He urged Americans to "stay calm, and be judicious about what you believe and share online."

-- Tucker Higgins

Investors should keep an eye on Pennsylvania, Wells Fargo strategist says

Wells Fargo equity strategist Christopher Harvey advised investors to keep an eye on the election results out of Pennsylvania. Those votes, Harvey says, could determine the outcome of the overall election, which would have a material impact on the stock market.

"With its 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania — aka the 'Keystone State' — indeed is shaping up to be the 'keystone' for Election Day," Harvey said in a note Monday. "Increasing the tension/drama is the fact that PA does not start processing its 2.4MM+ mailed-in ballots until Tuesday. Voting procedures and experts indicate Friday may be the earliest we know the results of a tight PA race — and even that may be an optimistic."

Market participants have been pricing a blue wave scenario for this election, with Democrats expected to take the White House and Senate while retaining a House majority. This would be a "short-term positive" as it potentially facilitates the passing of new fiscal stimulus, according to Harvey.
Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

Biden heads to Pennsylvania and Ohio in final Rust Belt push

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 1, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

Former Vice President Joe Biden will kick off his final day of campaigning in his birth state of Pennsylvania. Polls show him ahead by about 5 points there, but President Donald Trump has been crisscrossing the state, putting the pressure on. Trump won Pennsylvania by just 44,000 votes in 2016 and the state is considered critical to clinching the presidency.

Biden's campaign said he will also make a stop in Cleveland. Trump handily won Ohio in 2016, though polls show a tight race in the Buckeye State this year.

  • Biden will make his first stop in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with union members and labor leaders.
  • Next, he'll attend a drive-in event in Pittsburgh with Black community members.
  • He'll hold an election night eve drive-in event in Pittsburgh with his wife, Jill.

— Valerie Block

More than 94 million votes have already been cast, over two-thirds of 2016 turnout

A full day before Election Day, voter turnout in several states is already exceeding or nearing total levels in 2016.

More than 94 million votes have already been cast in the U.S., according to the U.S. Elections Project. That represents over 68% of the total votes counted in the 2016 general election.

States that have party registration account for nearly half of the early votes so far. Of those, more than 45% of early voters have been registered Democrats, just over 30% registered Republicans and more than 23% are not affiliated with a party, according to the website.

—Lauren Feiner

Wall Street leader and Bucks co-owner Lasry raised millions for Joe Biden's campaign

Marc Lasry, co-founder and CEO of Avenue Capital Group.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Wall Street executive Marc Lasry ended up raising over $3 million for Joe Biden's campaign.

Lasry, a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, is one of over 30 executives with ties to the securities and investment industry that finished the 2020 election cycle assisting Biden in the fundraising game. The Biden campaign released an updated list on Saturday of those that raised at least $100,000.

These bundlers called upon their expansive networks in the business and philanthropy communities to give to the Biden campaign.

They have also given six-figure contributions to Biden's joint fundraising committees and hosted virtual fundraising events. The joint committees help raise funds for the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

The list includes two senior executives at Blackstone: Jonathan Gray, president of the investment giant, and Tony James, the firm's executive chairman. The updated list was officially released late Saturday.

Others include Frank Baker, co-founder of private equity firm Siris Capital; Bill Derrough, the DNC treasurer and managing director at the investment bank Moelis; Mark Gallogly, co-founder of investment firm Centerbridge Partner; and Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs co-chairman who is now a counselor at the investment firm Centervew Partners. Derrough told CNBC he ended up raising over $1 million.

The co-founder of Centerview, Blair Effron, is also on Biden's new bundler list. – Brian Schwartz

A 'non-scalable' fence will be built around the White House perimeter

Security fences are set up outside the White House as U.S. President Donald Trump plans to deliver his Republican National Convention (RNC) acceptance speech at the White House, in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Aug. 27, 2020.
Ting Shen | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Federal authorities on Monday will begin installing a "non-scalable" fence that encloses the White House complex and areas connected to it, a law enforcement source told NBC News.

The source also said 250 National Guard members have been placed on standby. They will be reporting to officials in Washington's Metropolitan Police Department.

The fence structure will secure the White House, Lafayette Square and the Ellipse, the park directly south of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NBC reported. It will reportedly cover the area contained within the perimeter of H Street, 15th Street, Constitution Avenue and 17th Street.

The preemptive measure is the latest signal that law authorities are anticipating volatility and unrest on Election Day, following a year marked by political rancor that often spilled into the streets of U.S. cities. — Kevin Breuninger

Top election forecaster moves the House battle in Democrats' favor

Fog surrounds the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

While the fights for control of the White House and Senate will likely leave Americans sweating for days, the race for the House majority may not pack much drama.

Democrats are widely expected to keep their majority. A day before the 2020 election, widely followed House analyst David Wasserman said that elections forecaster Cook Political Report considers "a Democratic net gain of 10 to 15 seats as the likeliest outcome, with anything from five to 20 seats well within the realm of possibility."

To put the potential pickups in context, Democrats enter the election with a 232-197 majority. The House has five vacancies and one Libertarian member.

Cook on Monday changed its ratings for eight races, all in favor of Democrats:

  • Arkansas 2nd District: Toss Up
  • New Jersey 3rd District: Likely Democrat
  • New Jersey 5th District: Solid Democrat
  • New York 18th District: Solid Democrat
  • Pennsylvania 17th District: Likely Democrat
  • Texas 10th District: Toss Up
  • Texas 24th District: Lean Democrat
  • Texas 31st District: Lean Republican

It's not a surprise to see Texas make the list of ratings changes amid a spike in early voting turnout that has seen the state surpass its 2016 total votes cast before Election Day. Democrats tailored their effort to pick up House seats to the state, and about a dozen races there could be competitive on Election Day.

Other states with multiple potentially competitive House elections include New York, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Iowa. Democrats also face a challenge defending seats they won in 2018 in red territory such as Oklahoma and Utah. — Jacob Pramuk

Wall Street strategist says election volatility could offer buying opportunities

With Election Day less than 24 hours away, Oppenheimer Asset Management strategist John Stoltzfus told clients that a Democratic sweep could lead to market turbulence in the day or two after the election.

But the chief investment strategist also wrote that the election will likely offer savvy investors a chance to buy compelling stocks at a discount if spooked sellers are indiscriminate when they ditch equities.

"Although we believe that Democratic control of the House, Senate and Presidency could bring some additional selling in the immediate aftermath of the election, we would not recommend that investors act on the anticipation of any particular outcome," Stoltzfus wrote.

NBC News' average of national polls has Biden with a 7.1-point lead over Trump, while Biden holds narrower leads in several battleground states that will help decide the victor.

"Such a reactive post-election downdraft would likely prove temporary and that after any 'shock' or 'panic' subsides, markets would again attempt to scale the proverbial 'wall of worry,'" he added. "In our view investors would be better served to keep shopping lists at the ready for those 'babies that could be thrown out with the bathwater' and take advantage of any drama to scoop up shares of favorite companies at lower prices." — Thomas Franck

Here's Trump's schedule for the day

US President Donald J. Trump hosts a Make America Great Again Victory Rally in Hickory, North Carolina, on November 1, 2020
Peter Zay | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

President Donald Trump hit the campaign trail at a ferocious pace since he was cleared by doctors following his coronavirus battle last month. Today will be no different, as he is scheduled to make five stops in four states, including a rally in Joe Biden's Pennsylvania hometown, Scranton.

Trump won all four of the states in 2016.

Here's the president's rally schedule (all times Eastern):

  • 11:30 a.m.: Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • 2 p.m.: Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • 5 p.m.: Traverse City, Michigan
  • 8 p.m.: Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • 10:30 p.m.: Grand Rapids, Michigan

– Mike Calia

Biden holds lead in new Monmouth poll of crucial Pennsylvania

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a drive-in campaign event at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, Pennsylvania, October 24, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Joe Biden is still ahead in Pennsylvania, according to Monmouth University's final poll of the crucial battleground state, although his lead is smaller than a month earlier.

Among registered voters, Biden leads Trump 50%-45%. The result is the same in the group's low-turnout model. For its high-turnout model, Biden leads 51%-44%. Biden had led by 11 percentage points in the high-turnout model in early October.

Monmouth's final Pennsylvania poll is largely in line with other top-tier pollsters' most recent surveys of the state. The ABC/Washington Post poll had Biden up 7 points, while The New York Times/Siena poll had him up 6. FiveThirtyEight's polling average for Pennsylvania has Biden up a little more than 5 points.

Trump won Pennsylvania by a narrow margin in 2016. Its 20-electoral-vote haul is among the biggest prizes in this year's election. Forecasters largely agree that Pennsylvania could be a tipping point. – Mike Calia