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Biden pollster: Campaign building broader coalition than Obama's

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE’s chief pollster says the Democratic presidential nominee is poised to build a broader coalition than even Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama gives Twitter shoutouts to early voters facing challenges: 'You're an inspiration to all of us' Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic Why childcare must be a priority to restart the economy MORE managed in his election campaigns, improving among voters who have favored Republican candidates in recent years.

Pollster John Anzalone said during an interview Wednesday at an event sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute that Biden is benefitting from an incumbent president who has a record, one who is no longer the abstract candidate who beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris lists out 'racist' actions by Trump in '60 minutes' interview: 'It all speaks for itself' Trump has list of top intelligence officials he'll fire if he wins reelection: report Clinton says most Republicans want to see Trump gone but can't say it publicly: report MORE in 2016.

“We’re dealing with a president who is not a hypothetical, and he was in 2016,” Anzalone said. “Right now, voters are judging Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE as president, and they’re judging him on how he’s mishandled the coronavirus. You see his negative job rating on that approaching 60 percent.”

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Anzalone pointed to public polls that show Biden leading among independent voters, among those with college educations, among suburbanites and even among seniors.

“Those are four groups that not only did Trump win, but [2012 GOP nominee Mitt] Romney won, and people forget that. Barack Obama didn’t win those four groups in his 2012 reelection. So Biden’s coalition has expanded,” Anzalone said. “He’s also narrowing the margins within what are traditionally the Republican bases, and that’s a strong candidate.”

Anzalone said public polls that showed Biden running well ahead of Trump are no mirage, and not a repeat of the 2016 election when some polls showed Clinton ahead in states Trump ended up winning. The Biden campaign is focusing its time and resources on six states — North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — that Trump won in 2016.

“We’re laser-focused on 270 electoral votes, and we are doing paid communication in six main battleground states, and there may be decisions down the line about any expansion,” he said.

Public polls have shown tight races in more traditionally Republican states like Iowa, Georgia, Texas and Ohio. Anzalone pointed in particular to Georgia, where Trump’s campaign is spending money to defend a state Trump won by 5 points four years ago. At the same time, Biden’s team is spending money in Nevada, a state that has voted Democratic in the last three presidential contests.

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“Donald Trump is not doing any paid communication in Michigan right now, but he’s playing defense and doing a lot of paid communication in Georgia, a state that he won by a pretty decent margin,” Anzalone said. “We feel comfortable and confident in Nevada, but at the same time you want to protect a state that you won.”

Biden’s biggest advantage may come among a small but growing number of voters who see both presidential nominees in an unfavorable light. Trump won voters who disapproved of both him and Clinton in 2016 by a nearly 20 point margin; this year, Biden leads among those voters.

Anzalone said that is because more voters see Trump very unfavorably, a hardened position from which it is difficult to recover. Fewer voters see Biden very unfavorably, though they may see him in a negative light because of his party affiliation.

“They don’t dislike him as a person or as a man or as a leader,” Anzalone said.

As for Trump, he added, “It’s approaching 50 percent of the electorate who are cutting him off.”