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Here's how Biden passed Trump last month in the 2020 money race

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden smiles at supporters during a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 29, 2020.Gerry Broome / AP file

WASHINGTON — The month of August has often played a pivotal role in our modern presidential contests.

Think 2004 (when John Kerry’s disastrous August put him in hole from which he never climbed out) or 2008 (hello, Sarah Palin).

Well, three weeks after it ended, we know Joe Biden clearly won August — at least on the financial front.

Not only did Team Biden (the campaign + the DNC + joint fundraising accounts) emerge with $141 million more in the bank per last month’s filing than Team Trump did (the campaign + the RNC + joint fundraising accounts), $466 million to $325 million.

They did it after starting in a nearly $200 million cash-on-hand hole when Biden essentially wrapped up the Democratic nomination at the end of the March — that’s when the pandemic was beginning in this country.

Here’s a cash on hand comparison by month that NBC’s Ben Kamisar put together for us, per FEC filings and campaign releases:

As of March 31

  • Team Trump: $244 million
  • Team Biden: $62 million
  • Difference: Trump +$182 million

As of June 30

  • Team Trump: $296 million
  • Team Biden: $238 million
  • Difference: Trump +$58 million

As of July 31

  • Team Trump: $300 million
  • Team Biden: $294 million
  • Difference: Trump +$6 million

As of Aug. 31

  • Team Biden: $466 million
  • Team Trump: $325 million
  • Difference: Biden +$141 million

So Biden and the Democrats went from a cash-on-hand deficit of $182 million after March, to an advantage of $141 million after August.

That’s some kind of swing.

Biden improves his standing with younger voters

Biden passing Trump in the money race isn’t the only notable change for the Democrat since the summer. He’s also improved his numbers among young voters, per the latest NBC News and Quibi analysis of young voters from the NBC News/WSJ polls.

“Voters under 40 now view Joe Biden more favorably than they did earlier this year, and they're now even more likely to choose him over Trump,” one of us writes.

“The September data [from the NBC/WSJ poll] show that 38 percent of voters who are either members of Generation Z (ages 18-23) or millennials (ages 24-39) have positive views of Biden, compared with 40 percent who have negative views.”

“The numbers come one week after NBC News and Quibi released a comprehensive analysis of about 2,000 younger voters reached by pollsters at Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies from January to August. In that group, just 28 percent of young voters had positive views of Biden, while 41 percent had negative views.”

Trump’s best state poll numbers in weeks

Two new WaPo/ABC polls of Florida and Arizona represent President Trump’s best state numbers in weeks.

In Arizona, Trump is up among likely voters, 49 percent to 48 percent, though that’s well within the poll’s margin of error. (Among registered voters, it’s Biden 49 percent, Trump 47 percent.)

And in Florida, it’s Trump 51 percent among likely voters to Biden’s 47 percent. (Among registered voters, it’s Biden 48 percent to Trump 47 percent.)

But caveat: This notable difference between LVs and RVs isn’t what we’re seeing in other surveys this presidential season — with turnout expected to be sky-high.

Another caveat: This is the first Arizona poll in quite a while that’s had Trump ahead. So take that into consideration.

As CNN’s Harry Enten tweets, “Honestly think these are the best polls Trump has had in 6 months? Of course, we've had a lot of polls in these states & these are... well they're unique.”

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

6,927,827: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 36,527 more than yesterday morning.)

202,063: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 945 more than yesterday morning.)

96.61 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

More than 36,500: The number of Latinos who have died of the virus, according to CDC data analyzed by the Washington Post.

10 points: The jump in younger voters’ positive ratings for Joe Biden in our September poll, according to a new analysis from NBC and Quibi comparing the latest results to merged data from January-August.

359 to 57: The House vote last night on a spending bill that will fund the government through December 11.

$6 million: The amount in contracts that DHS has awarded since September 2018 to a consulting firm where acting secretary Chad Wolf’s wife is an executive.

As many as 100,000: The number of ballots that could be rejected in Pennsylvania due to the state’s requirement that all mail ballots arrive with a “secrecy envelope,” according to one official’s projections.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Did someone say “Shenanigans?"

President Trump continued attacking the integrity of mail in ballots during his rally in Pennsylvania last night

“They have these fake ballots. Millions and millions of ballots. By the way when you -- when, not if, when you see shenanigans please report it to your authorities, okay? The real authorities. They're watching. And the authorities are watching. But please report it.”

But in Pennsylvania, there are concerns over hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes being counted. Based on the state Supreme Court’s ruling last week, “naked ballots” in Pennsylvania – ballots sent in without a secrecy envelope – can be rejected. And Philadelphia city commissioner Lisa Deely said that based on the error rate in prior elections, she believes this ruling can lead to more than 100,000 mail-in ballots being rejected.

President Trump won Pennsylvania by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.

On the campaign trail today

Joe Biden stumps in Charlotte, N.C. And one of us moderates a VA-Senate debate between incumbent Mark Warner and GOP challenger Daniel Gade.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

Today’s Ad Watch take a look at some rough new GOP ads in Georgia that hem tight to the crime/rioting message Republicans are pushing in the hopes to win back suburban voters.

This recent spot from Republican Sen. David Perdue uses footage of the recent ambush of Los Angeles police officers before tying Democrat Jon Ossoff to the “Defund the Police” movement.

And this one from the NRCC in Georgia’s 6th District hits Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath on a part of the House Democrats’ coronavirus aid plan. The ad says the bill would “release criminals from prison — murderers, rapists” and that her support for it proves McBath can’t “protect our neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile, recent ads from the Democrats in those races center on health care, the issue that helped Democrats flip the House in 2018. That year, Republicans leaned heavily on the security argument down the stretch, warning that the Democrats’ immigration policies would make the nation unsafe. But ultimately, the health care message won out. It looks like we’ll see if anything’s changed in November.

The Lid: Are you ready for some football?

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at how Americans are viewing the return of college football during a pandemic.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

United States of Care (USofCare) has released its 2020 Voter Action Guide ahead of the election.

Cindy McCain has endorsed Joe Biden.

A consensus is growing in the White House to hold a Supreme Court confirmation vote before the November election.

Would Biden expand the Supreme Court if Republicans jam through the new nominee? He’s punting on the question for now.

Activists are taking aim at Trump’s TPS policies, which could affect hundreds of thousands of immigrants.

The UK is facing a new round of coronavirus restrictions.

The New York Times does a deep dive into how the 2020 race is playing out in Milwaukee’s suburbs.