Pennsylvania Republicans nervous going into the election homestretch: Tamala Edwards

The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses the final weeks of the 2020 election and Thursday's debate on "This Week."
9:59 | 10/25/20

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Transcript for Pennsylvania Republicans nervous going into the election homestretch: Tamala Edwards
L Do you lean trump or Biden? I lean trump. Why is that? We know what we've got. The administration has treated agriculture well. In spite of the fact that there were embargoes in place and the mess we got into with China. We have been compensated in other respects. That was Bob haselwood, a Kansas farmer. An undecided voter who I met on our cross country trip this summer. Bob texted me Friday to say I have made a decision and have already voted. It was a tough choice. This is the first time I checked the box for a Democrat in a presidential election. I feel we will become more divided if we have four more years of president trump. Let's talk about that and break down the round table with our political director Rick Klein, tam la Edwards, morning news anchor at WPVI here in Philadelphia and a former colleague at our ABC news Washington bureau, and ABC news political analyst Matthew dowd. Welcome to all of you. Great to see you, tam. Rick, I want to go back to Bob. He was undecided. He really was leaning trump. He has watched and watched and decided to vote for Joe Biden. You have this new ABC news/ipsos poll about trump and Biden's favorability which leans into that. There are fewer bobs out there. The undecideds are disappearing. It's in part because people know these candidates. Their perceptions just aren't changing. Go back to August, before the conventions, before the debates. Donald Trump was viewed more unfavorably by 23 points. That has barely changed. Joe Biden was minus three on that same measure. More unfavorable than favorable. Now he's plus one. People have a real sense of who they are. Unlike 2016 when both candidates were broadly disliked, Joe Biden has maintained that fundamental understanding. People understand who he is. They know who he is and they're relatively comfortable with him. That is a huge difference that tells me that 2020 is not 2016. Tam, of course, Pennsylvania is huge this year. It's unlikely either one could win without winning Pennsylvania. Four years ago Donald Trump carried the state by just 44,000 votes. With covid of course the early voting has already begun. Our early voting tells a lot of the story. 2.5 million people asked for an early ballot. 1.5 are already back in. 1 million of those are Democrats. What's interesting is some of the conversation about will your vote be counted has motivated Democrats to get those votes back in early. One thing to keep in mind, 80% of Republicans say they intend to vote on election day. If the president can turn out his base, we might see some of that come back. We talked about that a bit with Chris Christie. It really could be the Democrats would have voted anyway and have already voted and it won't be a bigger turn out. Matt, to you in Texas, besides early voting there are more signs that many minds have already been made up, certainly the people we've talked to. The latest quinnipiac poll shows that more than two thirds of likely voters decided who they'll vote for more than six months ago. What do they do in the coming days of the campaign? In every campaign, the last five or six or seven days of voting -- keep in mind, November 3rd is not election day. It's just the end of voting when two third of the people 7 million people in Texas have already voted in this election. Three quarters of the voters in Texas will have voted by the time we get to Friday in this race. There's not much you can do to change the fundamental dynamics as Rick was talking about. They haven't changed much in this race. You can't break through a new message in the last few days. The only things you remain to do is motivate people and persuasion is done at this point in presidential campaigns and do tactically to figure out who your voters are and how to turn them out. One thing I want to say about this race and that I don't think has been covered enough, Joe Biden has a better chance of winning Texas today than Donald Trump has of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Think about that. Joe Biden has a better chance of winning Texas than Donald Trump has of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That is a findmental difference in this race. Those are pretty extraordinary numbers. I want to go back to campaigning and what you do in the final days. Certainly it's about enthusiasm. 60 million people watched the debate this week. Did that make a difference with anybody? You've seen ads off those debates. The oil comments that Joe Biden made. Look, so much of this race is set. That's a huge audience. There are a lot of people that will vote on election day. Most of them had their minds made up already. There's a limit to what you can do. The comment about the oil industry, that to me was an unforced error by Joe Biden. It cuts against so much of the messaging he's tried to portray. There's another side to it too. There are a lot of voters who want to see climate change as an issue. Maybe that gave them extra motivation in the end. I think there's a limit to what anything can mean this late in the campaign. With candidates this well defined -- we're used to talking about October surprises. The real surprise is that huge numbers of people are voting. The lines are enormous. People are engaged in this campaign. Tamala, talk about in Pennsylvania especially. Those are pretty important issues. They are. I agree with Rick that it solidified. Somebody leaning trump, that oil comment pushed them forward. That wine mom, the suburban mom, they were pushed more towards Biden. Look at the ground game in the counties. Biden is going to places that should be for trump, but he thinks they're in his grasp. Cambria, Erie, Westmoreland, we see trump in those places. He should be looking to expand. One number that jumped out at me north Hampton county went for trump by 4 points this time. It's up for Biden by 12. Look at the ground game. That tellsou why Republicans are nervous. Matt, I want to turn back to you. We reported this morning that vice president pence's chief of staff has contracted the coronavirus. Coronavirus has been such a big issue in this campaign. No matter what president trump says, people are thinking about this issue. Do you think this damages the president with his chief of staff getting it and possibly more staffers on pence's staff and him still going out campaigning? I think it's a huge problem. I think covid and coronavirus and the inability and incompetence in its handling has been a problem in this campaign. I think it's less about a big impact on the race and more of an effect on Donald Trump's ability to drive-through another message that he has a handle on. Joe Biden has a 20-point advantage on who can better handle coronavirus. This is a fundamental problem for Donald Trump. Let me say one thing about oil and gas. I think many people are looking at this as an issue that it's like it was 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. Let me give you a stat. More people work in renewable energy industry in Texas than work in the oil and gas industry in Texas. I don't think this is near of a problem that many people think it is for Joe Biden's campaign. The world has changed. It's changed on energy and it's changed in places like Texas, Pennsylvania. More voters are with Joe Biden on this than opposed to Joe Biden on this. Rick, I want to -- some final thoughts here from the two of you. What will you be watching for as the early voting comes in? Let's fast forward nine days. Where will we be and what should people be paying attention to? That's when you see real votes on election day. Democrats are out voting in large numbers. There's places where Republicans are out voting as well. I'm keeping an eye on white noncollege educated voters. Once those real votes come in, taking a look at Florida, north Carolina, Georgia and Texas, that will give a sense of whether that trump base shows up. We know the Biden voters are out in force. If trump is going to win, he needs that vote on election day. I'll be looking at the lines and exhaustion. Are the lawyers getting involved and does it look like we'll elongate this election season? Did enough Democrats already get in? The main places they can challenge is the votes that come in three days after election day. If not a lot are coming in, if most people in lines are Republicans, who's to challenge? That will tell us a story on election day. We know your secretary has said they probably will get all the votes counted by November 6th. Let's hope so and let's hope it's even earlier. Thanks to all of you. Great to see you, tam.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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