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Where Trump and Biden stand in latest poll of polls



The Democratic push to turn Georgia blue in November – and beyond — is getting another boost today with the launch of a new progressive super PAC planning to spend $2.5 million to boost turnout among young, minority voters.

Recent polling out of the state, which hasn’t gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992, shows former Vice President Joe Biden in a neck-and-neck race with President Trump. Georgia’s two US Senate seats, currently held by Republicans, are also on the ballot and facing tough Democratic challenges. (Both of those races could be headed toward January 2021 run-offs.)

“For decades, Georgia has been counted out and seen as unattainable for progressives,” Ryan Brown, who will lead New South Super PAC, said in a statement. “But the tide is changing and progressives have a very real chance at winning up and down the ballot if we speak to and invest in the right voters.”

There is a rush of Democratic money coming into Georgia right now as the presidential and Senate polls tighten, but Brown said his group planned to be in it for the long haul – as Democrats try to secure and expand on their gains.

“In Georgia, two Senate races are up for grabs, we have the opportunity to clinch the election for Biden and Harris, and we can flip the state house heading into the crucial redistricting,” Brown said. “Both the stakes and the possibilities of the Georgia elections this year warrant our attention and this large-scale investment.”

The 2020 contests follow a 2018 gubernatorial race that saw Republican Gov. Brian Kemp scratch out a narrow victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who fell short by a little more than 50,000 votes in a campaign marred by allegations of voter suppression. 

But Abrams emerged as a national Democratic star and the party — in a state where Trump’s approval ratings are routinely split — is now working to forge a coalition comprising liberal-leaning low-propensity voters, its moderate base and disaffected Republicans. 

The early voting numbers out of Georgia this week suggest the 2020 contests will not suffer for a lack of enthusiasm. More than 126,000 ballots were cast on Monday, the first day of early voting, up from about 91,000 on the same occasion in 2016.


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Biden says to supporters: ‘I’m not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.’



President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base to travel to campaign rallies in Florida on October 23.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base to travel to campaign rallies in Florida on October 23. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump travels to three Covid-19 hotspots for rallies on Saturday.

The President will speak in the battleground states of North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin just as those states continue to show higher infection numbers and rates.

Saturday’s events will come a day after the US saw its highest ever tally of daily Covid-19 cases with 83,757. The previous high was 77,362 cases, reported on July 16.

The President’s first stop will be in Lumberton, North Carolina.

CNN reported Friday that North Carolina set a record for the highest daily increase of newly reported cases since the start of the pandemic. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, there were 2,716 new cases reported in the state on Friday.

Trump will then head to Circleville, Ohio, for his second rally of the day. In Ohio, the health department reported 2,518 new Covid-19 cases Friday, the highest number of daily new cases since the pandemic began. Friday’s numbers also mark the third day in a row the state surpassed its record of daily new cases. 

The President’s final stop of the day will take him to Waukesha, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is having one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the entire country and has a top five per-capita infection rate over the past week, behind just the Dakotas and Montana. On Wednesday, Wisconsin also reported their highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic with 48.


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Poland’s President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19



Polish President Andrzej Duda, 48, has announced he tested positive for the new coronavirus, a diagnosis that comes as the country experiences a huge surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Duda said on Saturday in a recording published on Twitter he was experiencing no COVID-19 symptoms “but unfortunately, the test result is absolutely unambiguous”.

“I would like to apologise to all those who are exposed to quarantine procedures because of meeting me in recent days,” he said. “If I had had any symptoms, please, believe me, all meetings would have been cancelled.”

Duda on Friday visited the National Stadium in the capital, Warsaw, which is being transformed into a field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

On the same day, he also bestowed state honours on Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month, and her father and trainer, Tomasz Swiatek.

Duda and the Swiateks wore masks and gloves but stood very close and shook hands as the president fastened honorary pins on them.

Iga Swiatek said she and others on her team have no symptoms but would go into quarantine following Duda’s positive test. She said they are tested regularly and would be tested again in three days.

The president’s key constitutional roles include guiding foreign policy and signing legislation. But many of his duties are ceremonial, and most of the responsibility for running the country lies with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s government.

Poland on Saturday reported 13,628 new confirmed cases and a record daily number of COVID-19 related deaths – 179. The daily case count was the nation’s second-highest of the pandemic after a record number set on Friday.

Poland, a country of 38 million people, saw very low infection rates in the spring.

Protests against restrictions

Along with the number of infections, social tensions have been growing in the country, too.

Police in Warsaw on Saturday used tear gas on protesters angry over new virus restrictions, a group that includes entrepreneurs, far-right politicians, football fans and opponents of vaccinations. The protesters, many wearing no protective masks, violated a limit on public gatherings.

It came as people also took to the streets of the capital and other cities for a third day to protest against a court ruling that declared the abortion of fetuses with congenital defects unconstitutional. The decision further restricted what was already one of Europe’s strictest abortion laws.

Critics accuse Poland’s right-wing governing party of using the cover of the pandemic and a court it has filled with loyalists to impede abortion access in a legally dubious manner.

They also accuse the Law and Justice party of seeking to exacerbate social conflicts to distract attention from soaring COVID-19 infection rates.

The fast spread of the virus is pushing Poland’s strained healthcare system to breaking point. Doctors say patients are dying not only from COVID-19 but from other illnesses that overwhelmed hospitals are unable to treat.

The government is preparing to open field hospitals, but it is not clear where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them

It imposed new restrictions starting on Saturday that are just short of a lockdown in hopes of bringing the country’s outbreak under control.

Morawiecki, the prime minister, appealed to Poles to strictly observe these “serious restrictions” in order to protect lives.

The country currently has about 11,500 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and 911 of them on respirators, according to health officials.


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Trump casts vote ahead of campaign blitz in battleground states



Donald Trump will hold rallies in three key swing states on Saturday, while Joe Biden is campaigning in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump has joined more than 56 million people across the United States to cast their ballots early, as the US president voted on Saturday morning in Florida before beginning a day of rallies in key battleground states.

The president’s campaign blitz 10 days before November 3, reminiscent of his state-hopping in the final stretch of the 2016 election, comes just a day after the United States recorded a new single-day record of COVID-19 infections.

The president wore a mask when he voted, but took it off when speaking to reporters. Several hundred supporters gathered with flags and signs outside the library where he voted, chanting: “Four more years.”

“It was a very secure vote, much more secure than when you send in a ballot,” Trump told reporters after voting in West Palm Beach, repeating unfounded allegations that mail-in voting is more susceptible to fraud.

“I voted for a guy named Trump,” he added.

Lagging in national polls and with what analysts consider a narrow path to victory in the Electoral College, Trump has been trying to recreate the enthusiasm he harnessed in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

On Saturday, he will first hold a rally in North Carolina, before travelling to Ohio and Wisconsin, all states considered important for victory, but where COVID-19 cases have spiked and in-person rallies may be a political liability.

Biden in Pennsylvania

Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, who has made his cautious approach to campaigning during the pandemic central to his messaging, will hold two events on Saturday, both socially distanced “drive-in rallies”.

The first event will be in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, and the second will be in Luzerne County, near Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and an area once considered a Democratic stronghold that Trump won in 2016.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, faced off in the final presidential debate on Thursday [File: Jim Bourg/AP]

Polls show Biden narrowly leading Trump in the state, which is considered crucial to both candidates.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released earlier this week showed Biden with a 4-percentage-point advantage on Trump in the state, down from seven points the week before.

Biden cast his ballot weeks ago in Delaware.

On Thursday, 12 days before the election, early voting surpassed the total number of early votes cast in 2016.

As of Saturday, the number of people who had cast their ballots early – either by mail or in-person – was more than 40 percent of all the votes cast in 2016.


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