'There's a stability in this race that did not exist in 2016': Matt Dowd

The Powerhouse Roundtable breaks down the latest news on "This Week."
8:04 | 09/06/20

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Transcript for 'There's a stability in this race that did not exist in 2016': Matt Dowd
I heard from so many voters across the country this week, now let's hear from our powerhouse roundtable. ABC news political analyst Matthew dowd. ABC news deputy political director, Maryalice parks and an old friend, Boston globe editor, Greg Moore. It's great to have you here and the roundtable in person, socially distant, on a beautiful, have windy morning. Not a problem for you, Matt dowd. I'm going start with you. I'm going to take that as a compliment. That is a compliment for you. I heard from so many people this morning, but it turned to that article in "The atlantic." And the outrage over that and as you see, some believe it, some don't. Some want those anonymous sources to come forward. What's amazing to me, we had two major conventions, it's almost like they never happened with the news of the week. My take on it is, it's very much in line with Donald Trump and things he's said, as you noted, very credible journalists, it sounds like Donald Trump, the use of the words and all that. I think actually what it's going to do it makes it harder -- it may not reduce Donald Trump's margin or it may not increase Joe Biden's margin but it will make it much harder for trump to overcome. We're at the foothills of the rockies. It's like someone put a 50-pound more weight in backpack and Donald Trump still has to get up the side of the mountain and this makes it much harder to get up that mountain that Joe Biden has now as a margin. Greg, do you agree with that, I mean so many stories just pass over in 24 hours, and no one remembers them, is this one that you think will resonate and could make a difference? I think it could make a difference. You know, a lot of the people who fight the wars in America are from trump's base, right now, they don't believe it, you know, because they've been conditioned to accept these kind of stories as being fake news, but if the sources come forward and they're credible, I think it could really put a dent in his armor in a way that some of the other revelations have not been able to do. And Maryalice, I was surprised, the announcement from the white house was so swift, the denial from the white house so swift, and of course, Joe Biden immediately seized on this. Yeah, Joe Biden said it was personal for him. He was quick to talk about his son, beau Biden, who served in Iraq. Clearly, Democrats see an opening here. They're going all-in on this story. I think that partly think that this strikes at the president's brand, he wants to see himself as the one on the campaign trail talking about fully instating military budget, and I think it's important to remember that this comes after a long summer, you know just a few months ago we had military members saying that they were really frustrated with reports that Russia has boubtties on soldiers' heads, that he didn't talk with Putin about that. So, you know, military members in Washington tell me at least that they're already really anxious that he could use them in ways that they don't think are appropriate. And I heard that a lot from some of the veterans I was talking to here as well. Matt, let's just turn to the race in general. We saw a slew of post-convention polls, showing Joe Biden still leading nationally. Leading or tied in the battleground states that trump won in 2016. How much stock do you think we should put in the polls? I think we're all weary of them. We remember 2016, but now less than two months out. To me, one, we have to wait until election day, as we had done better in 2016 and not gone out of the way of saying Donald Trump had little chance. To me there's a much different place in this race a stable in this ration that didn't exist in 2016. Joe Biden since he's basically clinched the nomination after -- almost clinched it, has had roughly a seven, eight-point lead in this race. The number I tell people to look at, is the president's job approval, this is not an open race like 2016. Donald Trump and his image matters more than anything else in this race, way more than Joe Biden. And presidents usually always get on the ballot with their job approval number. If the president is at 51%, he gets 51% of the vote. As Barack Obama and George W. Bush did. On so the idea that president bush can somehow taint Joe Biden and that will cause him to be re-elected he has to improve his image if this race is going to One thing they're trying to do, Maryalice, is trying to get out there on the campaign trail. Joe Biden was out there this week and Donald Trump continues to hold these rallies, very different campaign looks. Talk about that a little bit and that difference. And whether Biden needs to get out there more. Sure, the pace is really picking up now. Joe Biden had by our count fewer than 20 in-person events all summer but he has three coming up just this week. The president, too, the pace really picking up with his family, they have a lot of events coming up in the next few weeks. These events are really different. We see the message in that imagery. You know, we saw the president in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, those are states where the governors have put out mask mandates, and the president is not enforcing that. He's mocking the idea of people wearing masks. There's no social distancing at his events. He's trying to say we're moving beyond the pandemic, we're rounding this corner. That's totally different than Joe Biden. Joe Biden's events are small and controlled. His message is -- the government needs to do more. The unemployment is twice as much as in March. He's talking about opening schools, he's talking about job safety during the pandemic. He's saying we're not through the thick of this yet. And Greg, I have to say that on my trip across the country, even in states where there was mask mandates, or as close to that as you can get, not a lot of people wearing masks. I'd say about half and half. So is the issue of covid, do people just want to get over that? No, I don't think they just want to get over it. There are two schools of the ideological differences between these two candidates, the never maskers, the folks who are with trump, who say there's nothing to worry about, versus the people who want to take precautions and follow science and I don't think it's that people want to hurry up and get this over with, I think they're making a trade-off, you know, 8% of unemployment, versus 190,000 deaths, that's been the question and I think that's what it's going to come down to on November 3rd. Also, Greg, there seems to be -- I don't want to vote for trump among Democrats and independents more than I want to vote for Biden, even if you want to press them. He's not Donald Trump. It's the enthusiasm gap. There seems to be an enthusiasm gap, although there's some enthusiasm going out to vote against Donald Trump. How does Biden handle that? I think it comes down to the debates. I think the debates are going to be the thing that gets the democratic base excited. If he can perform up to the level that they saw during the acceptance speech for the democratic nomination, I think that's considered his best speech, ever. He has to show that kind of fire and that kind of intensity and he's got to be able to parry with trump who's going to mean, tough and nasty. Okay, we're going to come

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

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