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Top Democrat strikes bullish tone: 'Numbers are moving in our direction'

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE is facing a potential blowout loss and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE’s path to the White House is the widest it’s been all year long, according to the latest round of battleground state polling from Priorities USA, the largest outside group supporting Biden’s campaign.

Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil on Wednesday briefed reporters on their final round of polling, which painted an extremely bullish picture for Biden with the election less than a week away.

The Democratic nominee leads the national vote by 10 points over Trump. Biden sits at 54.5 percent support nationally, 2.5 points higher than the estimated 52 percent Priorities USA believes he’d need to win the Electoral College.

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Biden’s approval rating has moved into positive territory in the six core battleground states, while Trump is mired underwater. Cecil says Texas is “up for grabs.”

The number of undecided voters is shrinking fast, with more than 70 million having already voted. Biden is outperforming expectations among low-propensity voters. About half of those who once said they leaned toward Biden but could still change their minds have already cast their ballots for the Democratic nominee, Cecil said.

Biden leads by double-digits over Trump in five of the six core battleground states on the question of who would better manage the pandemic, which is the top issue for voters.

States that Priorities USA once deemed to be toss-ups, such as Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, now lean toward Biden. States that Trump must win that were once firmly in his column, including Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Iowa, are now toss-ups.

“This is the largest number of states we’ve had in the Democrat, lean Democrat and toss-ups category since we began doing this work,” Cecil said. “Overall, the numbers are moving in our direction as we head into the final week.”

In updates throughout the year, Cecil has sought to strike a cautious tone, even as the data has increasingly pointed to the race favoring Biden.

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He’s gone out of his way to note that even small variances in turnout among people of color or white working-class voters could produce large swings in the outcome of the Electoral College, potentially leading to a second term for Trump.

But with the votes pouring in and late polling data breaking toward Biden, Cecil struck a more confident tone, saying a Trump victory would depend on a robust voter suppression effort and “a polling error much larger than anything we saw in 2016.”

At the moment, Priorities USA projections show 258 Electoral College votes in Biden’s column, compared to 125 for Trump. There are 76 electoral votes leaning toward Biden in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Only 1 electoral vote leans toward Trump, in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

If Biden were to win all the electoral votes leaning in his favor, it would put him at 334.

But there are also 78 electoral votes in toss-up states that are all must-wins for Trump: Georgia, Iowa, Texas and Ohio.

Of those, Texas is viewed as the heaviest lift for Biden, though Cecil says Priorities USA polling shows winning the state is a real possibility. 

“No question that Texas is up for grabs,” Cecil said. “Our own polling and projections have it listed as a toss-up, and nothing in the early vote would dissuade us of that ... Texas is a competitive battleground state moving into this last week of the election.”

The current Electoral College map is a far cry from the same one Cecil briefed reporters on in February, when Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina all leaned Republican, with Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan as toss-ups.

In the battleground states of Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Biden’s favorability rating is at 45 percent positive and 44 percent negative, while Trump posts a negative 42-49 split. Trump fairs worse nationally, at 45 favorable and 55 unfavorable.

“We’ve seen a slow but steady decline [for Trump] over the last two weeks, certainly not a place you would want an incumbent or any candidate to be as people are actually voting,” Cecil said.

“Joe Biden enters this final stretch with a net positive rating and this is simply a fundamental difference between the dynamic of the end few weeks of 2016 and what we face today,” he added. “Despite millions of dollars being spent in reckless attacks against Joe Biden, over this entire period and going into this final week of the election he has a net positive rating compared to the favorability rating numbers we’ve seen for Trump.”

Cecil says the paths for Trump to 270 electoral votes are shrinking along with the pool of undecided voters. A Priorities USA analysis found that Biden is outpacing Trump among low-propensity voters and that about half of voters who were on the fence but leaning Democratic have already cast their ballots for Biden.

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“When it comes to persuading a set of voters to move in the president’s direction  when you’re looking at undecided or lean Biden voters, [Trump] continues to see fewer and fewer paths to 270 moving into the final days before the election,” Cecil said.

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic may be his ultimate undoing.

The president is underwater on the COVID job approval question by 10 points in the six core battleground states. Between 69 percent and 76 percent of voters in those states blame Trump for the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

The Priorities USA data found that Trump might be hurting himself with his late final barrage of swing state rallies, as a majority of voters in the core battleground states say the rallies during a pandemic make them view the president less favorably.

“Bad public health policy is bad politics,” Cecil said. “Voters are on to this ... he’s actually hurting himself traveling across the country holding these rallies.”