Republicans are getting very nervous about the polls. Democrats are, too.

Early voting in South Carolina
(Image credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

"President Donald Trump is running out of time to recover from a series of self-inflicted setbacks that have rattled his base of support and triggered alarm among Republicans who fear the White House is on the verge of being lost to Democrat Joe Biden," The Associated Press reports. "The one-two punch of Trump's coronavirus diagnosis and his widely panned debate performance also has Republicans worried they could lose control of the Senate."

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday showed Biden winning by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 54 percent to 42 percent, outside the ± 4-point margin of error. RealClearPolitics' national polling average has Biden up 9.8 points (51.9 to 42.1 percent) and the FiveThirtyEight average recorded Biden leading by 10.4 points (52.2 to 41.9 percent). Some key swing states are a little bit tighter, but FiveThirtyEight also has Biden at 86 in 100 odds to win the Electoral College.

Optimists in Trump's inner circle note Trump's unique ability to command attention, argue that the polls are undercounting Trump voters, and point to Trump's come-from-behind victory in 2016. "If we believe public media polls, then we would be talking about Hillary Clinton's re-election right now," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told AP.

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"This year's campaign, other Republicans worry, may instead resemble 1980 or 2008: a close race until, at the end, it decidedly wasn't," AP reports. "Some Trump allies say their best bet is to hope that the results look close election night, before some of the mail-in ballots are counted, allowing Trump to declare victory and have the results thrown to the courts."

"He's in trouble, there's no question," former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer told AP. "By every traditional measuring stick, this looks like a Biden landslide." On Monday, Biden is campaigning in Ohio, a state Trump won easily in 2016. But, of course, nothing has been very conventional this year — or for the previous four years. And Democrats, habitually nervous, are not taking this for granted. "While the state of the race looks promising," AP reports, "Democrats know that three weeks add up to an eternity in the age of Trump."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.