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Trump, Biden Campaigns Target 2020's Key Election Voting Blocs

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So over 90 million Americans have already cast ballots in this election. To put that in perspective, that is more than two-thirds the overall number of voters in 2016. So who are the campaigns still trying to turn out in these final hours, and which voters could decide this election? NPR's Juana Summers covers demographics and politics for us, and she joins us this morning. Hi, Juana.

JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: Hey, David.

GREENE: So busy weekend for both President Trump and Joe Biden - today is going to be no different. I mean, what can you read into how they are spending these final hours?

SUMMERS: Yeah. So the clearest indication of which voters are must-wins for these campaigns is where and how they are spending their time in these final moments. Today, both candidates are making stops in Pennsylvania, which, of course, is a key swing state. And that's after the campaigns focused on one of the biggest electoral prizes, the state of Florida. The president won by the narrowest of margins there four years ago. And we saw President Trump campaigning in Miami-Dade County yesterday. And Kamala Harris was there over the weekend, too, including some events that focused on Black and Latino voters.

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KAMALA HARRIS: I do believe that a path to victory runs through Florida. It was great to stop in Miami Gardens. I was just talking to Joe. He was in Flint earlier. I think it really makes a statement about the fact that we are taking very seriously the need to talk with Americans wherever they live because, again, everybody has so much at stake. And - and nobody should be overlooked.

SUMMERS: Now, Miami Gardens is Florida's largest city with a majority Black population. And if you recall, the Black vote in the state of Florida lagged four years ago when Trump won. And President Trump, this year, has also made some gains among Latino voters in that state.

GREENE: Florida is never anything but important in an election. What about seniors - I mean, who are another important voting group in that state?

SUMMERS: Yeah, that's right. Trump won seniors overwhelmingly in his first campaign, and he carried white voters over the age of 65 by an even wider margin. But this year, there are some signs that seniors, who typically turn out in pretty big numbers, are actually shifting away from President Trump and toward Joe Biden. In Florida, these voters made up about 21% of the electorate in 2016, and Trump carried them by double digits. But this year, polls suggest that this race is far tighter for seniors between the two candidates, which could give Biden an opportunity to potentially flip Florida and make gains elsewhere on this electoral map.

GREENE: Pennsylvania seems to be crucial as well. I mean, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, along with their spouses, going to be campaigning across there. President Trump was there over the weekend, again there today. Can you tell who exactly they're focusing on in my home state?

SUMMERS: Yeah. David, this is another one of those states, as you know, that the president won in 2016. And he did that with a lot of support from white voters without a college degree. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are trying to put together a winning coalition by narrowing the gap with those voter along with plussing up support of suburban voters and people of color in urban areas. And that's including Black voters who, as we know, tend to vote on Election Day.

Now, for his part, the president has been referencing the recent upheaval in Philadelphia. He's cast Biden as weak on crime and antipolice. And he and his supporters have been reviving concerns about Biden's stances on energy issues, including some inaccurate claims about fracking, saying that Biden wants to end fracking. That's not true. The president thinks this will fire up his base, though we know from polling that fracking views are mixed in that state.

GREENE: And you mentioned Latino voters, important in Florida, also in the Southwest and elsewhere in the country.

SUMMERS: Yeah. Roughly 32 million Latinos eligible to vote this year - so they're about 13% of all eligible voters. But one thing I have heard that we should watch is that while there are many eligible Latino voters, many are disconnected from the political process. So whether they turn out where they're growing parts of the electorate in states like North Carolina and Michigan, that is still an open question.

GREENE: NPR's Juana Summers. Juana, thanks.

SUMMERS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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