Our recent nationwide Battleground Tracker poll fielded just before the Democratic Convention shows that 90% of Black likely voters nationwide plan to cast their ballot for Joe Biden. In this, Biden is doing better among Black voters than Hillary Clinton did at this point in the campaign four years ago, according to the CBS News Election & Survey Unit. In a July 2016 poll taken before both parties' nominating conventions (which occurred earlier in the summer that year), CBS News polling showed Hillary Clinton with the support of 72% of Black voters (Clinton ultimately won 89% of Black voters nationally). The solid support of Black voters will be crucial for the Democrats' chances of winning many of the key battleground states that President Trump won in 2016, and Biden is getting that at the moment. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio are all states that President Trump won four years ago, but this year are "toss ups" right now in the CBS News Battleground Tracker model. Black voters made up between 14% and 30% of the vote in these states in 2016, and recent polling in these states show Biden with a huge lead among this group. And in each of these states, Biden is trailing Mr. Trump among White voters by double digits.
Four in 10 Black voters who are voting for Biden say they are doing so because they like Joe Biden, far more than what we're seeing among White voters, who mostly say they're voting for Biden to oppose Mr. Trump. Black and White Democratic voters both largely like the way Biden handles himself. They also see Biden as honest and authentic in equal proportion, and they view him similarly in terms of being knowledgeable and presidential as well. But Black Democratic voters are far more likely than White Democrats to see Biden as inspiring, with 82% saying they do, compared to 63% of White Democratic voters. And most Black Democratic voters find Biden to be an exciting candidate, compared to fewer than half of White Democrats. Though Biden's selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate finds favor from most Democrats across the board, Black Democratic voters are even more likely to be happy about the choice, and are even more enthusiastic about her place on the ticket. Like most White Democrats, most Black Democratic voters think having Harris on the ticket will make it easier for Biden to win in November.
Although Black voters are, once again, supporting the Democratic nominee in large numbers this year, many Black voters think the Democratic Party today does not pay enough attention to the needs and concerns of Black people. While 46% say they do, another 46% say the Democratic Party pays too little attention to their needs. But they give the Democratic Party much higher marks than the Republican Party in that regard: eight in 10 Black voters think the Republican Party pays too little attention to the needs of Black people. Though many Black voters may think the Democrats should pay more attention to their needs, most Black Democrats don't feel the Democratic Party takes their vote for granted. More than three in four Black Democrats think their party's candidates try to earn their vote.
Some 85% of Black voters say race relations will play a major factor in their presidential vote this year, placing it right behind the economy (87%) and the coronavirus (86%) in terms of importance. In contrast, 54% of White voters say race relations will play a major factor in their vote this year. Overall, Black and White voters see discrimination in America differently. Eight in 10 Black voters think there is a lot of discrimination against Black people today. Though most White voters say there is at least some discrimination against Black people, just 4 in 10 say there is a lot. Over half of White voters say there is also some discrimination against White people in the U.S. Just a quarter of Black voters agree. And while most White voters say there has been too much attention being paid to issues of discrimination today, most Black voters say there hasn't been enough.
Nearly all Black voters agree with the ideas expressed by the Black Lives Matters movement, while fewer than half of White voters do. While support for the movement has remained strong among Black voters, support among White voters has slipped, from 52% at the end of June to 45% today. Even among Democrats, Black voters show more solidarity with the ideas behind the Black Lives Matters Movement. While most White Democrats say they agree with the ideas of BLM, fewer than half do so strongly (those who do tend to be younger and very liberal). In contrast, 70% of Black Democrats strongly agree with the ideas of the movement.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
The Biden campaign refused to say whether Biden and running mate Kamala Harris have been tested for COVID-19 ahead of their in-person speeches at the Democratic convention,CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. On a brief press call on Wednesday, Biden's deputy campaign manager explained the campaign "put in place extremely strict public health protocols around the convention" but would not confirm more testing details for the ticket. Biden and Harris are set to speak live from a Wilmington, Delaware convention center and the small group of reporters and campaign staff allowed into venue are required to take daily COVID-19 tests, wear masks and maintain social distancing. When asked if he had been tested during his last press conference on July 28, Biden told reporters he has not yet been tested for COVID-19.
With former President Obama expected to speak Wednesday at the convention, the Biden campaign apparently wanted to ensure max Obama coverage. The campaign began airing a 1-minute ad on national cable channels featuring Mr. Obama's 2017 speech when he awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Also this evening, Harris will make history as she officially joins the Democratic ticket as the vice presidential nominee - becoming the first Black woman and first Asian American to run on a major party ticket. In excerpts of Harris' prepared remarks obtained by CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry and correspondent Nikole Killion, Harris will not only tell her story, but contrast Biden with Mr. Trump, who Harris will say, represents a "failure of leadership" which "has cost lives and livelihoods. Harris will add, "The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It's a lot." In addition Harris will speak about her mother, Shyamala Harris, something that she did when she first spoke at a Democratic National Convention in 2012 as the then Attorney General of California. "[I am] committed to the values she [my mother] taught me, to the word that teaches me to walk by faith, and not by sight, and to a vision passed on through generations of Americans -- one that Joe Biden shares." Harris' nominating speech will be delivered virtually by three of her family members, her sister Maya Harris, niece Meena Harris and her step-daughter Ella Emhoff. She will be joined by her husband Doug Emhoff in Wilmington, Delaware.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Online, the president and his allies have continued to defend against charges over controversial drawdowns to mail service - which the USPS says they have paused - and a Senate report labeling his 2016 campaign's contact with Russian spies a "grave" threat. But it was a tweet from the president condemning tire manufacturer Goodyear, urging supporters to boycott the company over "a BAN ON MAGA HATS," that grabbed headlines Wednesday morning, earned new scorn from Democrats, and sent the Ohio-based company's stock down nearly four points by the afternoon. Mr. Trump's post came after a report by a CBS affiliate in Kansas, WIBW-TV, detailing an employee training telling Goodyear workers not to wear clothing with political messaging, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio responded in a tweet during a virtual press conference this morning, "It is despicable when a President of the United States thinks it is appropriate to, to call for a boycott of a U.S. company where there are thousands and thousands of American workers employed," Brown said. In a statement, Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio added, "I believe private companies are free to set their own guidelines, but I would hope they would do it fairly and objectively, with respect for free speech."
Pence spoke in Darien, Wisconsin, an hour southwest of Milwaukee, and told voters to "get ready and buckle up," promising that he and Mr. Trump will continue to visit the state in the coming weeks. CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar says Pence mocked the Democrats for not being in Wisconsin for their national convention, which was moved to a virtual format because of the coronavirus. "The Democrats were supposed to have their national convention here in Wisconsin but they couldn't make it," Pence said. "Of course that is nothing new," he added while also mentioning that a Democratic Presidential nominee hasn't visited the state since 2012. The VP, praising "the leadership of President Trump," said, "only in America could we respond the way we did" to the coronavirus. Pence said "we are all well underway to having the first coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year." It is notable that Pence, who took the stage wearing a mask, has recently stopped telling voters to do the same. For weeks, Pence said everyone had a role to play in combating the virus and encouraged Americans to wash their hands, wear masks, and socially distance as much as possible. But, at the last three campaign events, Pence has continued to say every American must do their part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 but has dropped from his speeches the part about encouraging others to wear masks. The president himself plans to hit the campaign trail again Thursday, capping his multi-state swing with an event near Biden's Pennsylvania hometown of Scranton.
ON THE AGENDA
In addition to Harris, former President Obama will deliver a speech at the convention on Wednesday. Mr. Obama is set to speak from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, according to CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe. The former president plans to describe working alongside Biden, including Biden's experience handling the Great Recession, and plans to encourage Americans to vote. According to prepared remarks released by the DNCC, Mr. Obama will say he hoped Mr. Trump would "show some interest in taking the job seriously," but goes on to attack the president's first term. "He's shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves," Mr. Obama is expected to say. He goes on to highlight his relationship with Biden, saying he came to admire Biden's "resilience" and "his empathy." Mr. Obama will also say that people have to do more than vote to change the country, but echoes a warning from other convention speakers about what Democrats believe is at stake this election. "So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability - to embrace your own responsibility as citizens - to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that's what at stake right now. Our democracy," he will say.
Democrats will also hear tonight from the 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. "I wish Donald Trump had been a better president," Clinton is expected to say, according to prepared remarks. "But, sadly, he is who he is. America needs a president who shows the same compassion, determination, and leadership in the White House that we see in our communities." Clinton is also making a push for Americans to participate in the election, no matter how they choose to vote. "This can't be another woulda coulda shoulda election," she's expected to say. Excerpts from Pelosi's prepared remarks highlight her experiences working with Mr. Trump. "As Speaker, I've seen firsthand Donald Trump's disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular - disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn't: that when women succeed, America succeeds," Pelosi says according to prepared remarks. She's also expected to say that Democrats are coming together not just to "decry the darkness, but to light a way forward for our country." The topics in the spotlight for Democrats tonight include gun violence, climate change, immigration, women's leadership and the economy.
In lockstep with this year's virtual Democratic National Convention, delegates and community leaders across the country participated in a virtual roll call to nominate Biden as the Democratic candidate for president Tuesday evening. The string of pretaped recordings was reportedly well-received and in North Carolina, there was a separate buzz of excitement taking place on social media for the Charlotte-based nurse who announced the Tar Heel State's votes: Cozzie Watkins. Watkins, who was elected to chair North Carolina's 12th Congressional District Democratic Party for a third term in 2019, gave an impassioned speech on Tuesday evening that made local and state headlines, reports CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell. Before declaring that her state would cast 39 votes for Senator Bernie Sanders and 83 votes for Biden, Watkins told viewers that she would be organizing on Biden's behalf even amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I've been doing this for a long time so let me just be plain. Black people, especially Black women, are the backbone of this party and if we don't show up, Democrats don't get elected," said Watkins in her pretaped address. "I'm putting on my mask and we're going to every corner in North Carolina to help organize because we need to make sure everyone shows up for Joe Biden. He would show up for us." Another person who told voters that they could count on Biden was Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the Parkland shooting. Guttenberg, an outspoken supporter of Biden who has participated in at least one virtual surrogate event for the former vice president this cycle, announced Florida's votes on Tuesday recalling how Biden shared in his family's grief after their loss. "Together with the other victims of gun violence and our nation's youth, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take on the NRA again and win," said Guttenberg in his message. "Let's win back our freedom to live without fear."
ISSUES THAT MATTER
As part of the Democratic National Convention's programming, criminal justice reform organization JustLeadershipUSA partnered with the committee to host a virtual roundtable to how the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted systemic failures within the criminal justice system, reports CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell. "We are not going to stop fighting and everything we do will have [people who are incarcerated] in mind," said JustLeadershipUSA President DeAnna Hoskins. "What gives me hope in this moment is the fact that the first Black woman actually is on a major ticket for the second-highest office in this country. Part of this joy and hope comes from when JustLeadershipUSA held the first Democratic presidential forum hosted by formerly incarcerated people in October 2019 and Harris was the first confirmed primary candidate to walk into that room." The panel also featured members of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force including Vanita Gupta and Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia.
The progressive advocacy group Stand Up America is launching a $1.5M effort in presidential and Senate battleground states to encourage people to vote early and vote by mail, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. The effort will focus on Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin and will aim to engage Black, Hispanic and younger voters in those states. The bulk of the outreach is set to involve a text messaging campaign that aims to use more than 4,000 volunteers to contact at least 16 million people.
CBS NEWS COVID CHRONICLES
CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the lives of Americans in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sarah Sporko's life was starting to feel normal after the pandemic upended her last year of college. An aspiring museum curator, she had moved over an hour from home for a summer job at a museum in a former coal mining patch town in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She hoped it would become a full-time position, but in July, on her third day of work, as COVID-19 cases rose in Luzerne County, the museum again delayed its opening and sent its staff home to work digitally. Now, with the museum still closed and her grant running out next week, Sporko doesn't know what her future holds. "I'm kind of just kind of getting used to living with this uncertainty, which is really sad because we shouldn't have to live with uncertainty in our lives," she said. "Every week, we should know what to expect the next week instead of our lives changing from week to week. So I'm just trying to do my best and try to do it week-to-week, day-to-day." In June, CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak spoke with recent Pennsylvania college and high school graduates about how their plans had been altered by the pandemic as they entered new phases of their lives during the worst job market in nearly a century. Now, as jobs begin to return, and dozens of colleges in the state begin in-person classes, recent graduates say the future still feels uncertain but they're getting used to not being able to make long-term plans. Read more here.
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona expressed disappointment Wednesday in fellow Republicans who have backed Biden in recent days, telling reporters on a press call for Mr. Trump's campaign that "Trump said he wanted to clean up the swamp. Well, the swamp sometimes fights back." Among the Republicans that made headlines lending their voices to the Democratic National Convention this week was Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain. Though McCain stopped short of endorsing the Democratic ticket, an official with the Democratic National Convention tells CBS News chief Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes that McCain would continue to be involved with Biden's campaign and did not rule out a future endorsement. "Now I don't know about Cindy McCain, but others I would consider more establishment type Republicans that don't like Trump for whatever reason, and so they fight back," added Lesko. CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says the call comes on the heels of Mr. Trump's stop in Arizona this week where he was asked Tuesday about his campaign promise that "Mexico will pay for the wall. The president said the U.S. planned to levy a new toll on travelers or money crossing into the country from Mexico. Lesko, who sits on the House's border subcommittee, said she had not previously heard of the proposal but plans to ask Customs and Border Protection about the toll this week.
Republican congressional candidate Ashley Hinson, running against first-term incumbent Abby Finekenaur in Iowa's first district, will release her second television ad this evening. A source familiar tells CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar the ad is a 6-figure buy and will air in the Cedar Rapids market as well as digital platforms. The 30-second spot highlights the damage caused in Cedar Rapids by the recent derecho that devastated farms and left hundreds of thousands without power. Hinson, a former local news reporter, narrates the ad while also playing "Amazing Grace" on the violin. Focusing on unity, Hinson says in the ad "in times of crisis, Iowans have always turned to our faith." She goes on to say "now more than ever we need that." Hinson's race against Finkenaur is expected to be competitive this fall.
CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports that the Lincoln Project is out with a new ad in Florida, "Hasta La Vista," that attacks Mr. Trump for his "lack of empathy" and "disrespectful" actions toward Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and other natural disasters that have ravaged the area. The ad features images of destroyed buildings, people sleeping on beds outside, and clips from the infamous 2018 Trump visit where he threw rolls of paper towels and other goods to people in need of supplies after the hurricane. The ad also takes a swipe at the president for "stopping billions of dollars of emergency relief" when the island needed it most. According to CMAG, the ad is now running in Orlando, a geographical area where more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans reportedly moved after Hurricane Maria.
Former Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller says his state's current top elections official, Barbara Cegavske, needs to be "making noise" over recent changes to the state's election laws. "I am concerned. Fact is that we have a secretary of state that isn't making noise," Heller said, talking with reporters on a Trump campaign press call. Heller said he had spoken with Cegavske, a fellow Republican, but declined to divulge more details about their talks, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. From local press releases to their national convention, Democrats have repeatedly touted Cegavske asking a court to dismiss a Trump campaign suit seeking to roll back the bill. However, Cegavske has also criticized the same measure for having "gutted an enduring state law that served to protect the integrity of elections." Heller, who lost a Senate reelection bid in 2018, started the call criticizing Kamala Harris, the senator representing neighboring California, and retelling an "unusual" anecdote about being sworn in by then-Vice President Joe Biden. Heller claimed the former vice president "started flirting with my 80-year-old mother-in-law" and "couldn't keep his hand off" the stomach of his pregnant daughter, though saying his daughter was "not offended."
Artist Kanye West is continuing to file in multiple states for his longshot presidential campaign reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. On Tuesday afternoon, it was confirmed he had filed in Minnesota, a state that Hillary Clinton won by less than 2% in 2016. Minnesota's secretary of state office has until August 28 to fully review and approve his signatures, which the office is still counting, before he gets on the ballot. West, or any other independent candidate, needed 2,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot. This past weekend, West also filed signatures in Iowa, which the secretary of state's office says have been accepted. On Tuesday, his campaign also filed a form to begin gathering petitions in Wyoming, where his campaign is reportedly based out of. Meanwhile, his filings in two Midwestern states could be rejected by the end of this week. Ahead of their Thursday meeting, the Wisconsin Elections Commission released an agenda detailing multiple objections to West's signatures. One of the recommendations they made was sustaining a challenge to the timeliness of West's filing -- thereby removing his name and his Vice President (Michelle Tidball of Wyoming) from the November ballot. They will be meeting to discuss candidate filings and challenges on Thursday over Zoom. In Illinois, a hearing officer that reviewed objections to West's signatures found that he was short 182 signatures. Another challenge found that West was short closer to 1,300 signatures. Both challenges will be discussed at an Illinois elections hearing on Friday, where West could be kicked off the ballot.
IN THE HOUSE
Another House incumbent has fallen this cycle, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro, with freshman Republican Ross Spano losing his 15th district primary to city commissioner Scott Franklin. Spano was under investigation by the Department of Justice due to alleged campaign finance violations. Spano is the 8th House incumbent (5 Republicans, 3 Democrats) to be defeated in a primary this cycle. In Florida's 21st district, fringe Republican candidate Laura Loomer won the Republican primary and will face incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel in November. This district is home to Mr. Trump's club Mar-a-Lago, and the president showed his support for Loomer through retweets and writing, "Great going Laura. You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!" This district has been solidly Democrat since 2012. Loomer is known for anti-Muslim comments, being banned from Twitter, and confronting James Comey during a book tour. Republicans also have their candidate in the notably more competitive 13th district with Anna Paulina Luna, and in the 27th district with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Hillary Clinton won the 13th district in 2016 by just over 3 points. Republicans are looking to build up Gimenez's time as mayor, a position he has held since 2011.