Polling for today is same old same old.
Biden is down slightly, .1%.
ABD/TIPP has Biden at a 4.5% lead now, so it seems like their 2% poll was perhaps a bit of an aberration. Still below the average though.
Time has a poll in Kansas showing Trump up by 7 in Kansas... which is pretty bad. Trump won the state by 21% in 2016. Really shouldn't be close. Similarly they have him up by 8 in South Carolina, another state that should really be a double digit lead.
Washington post has Biden up by 11 in Virginia. Clinton won by 5. We're seeing a similar shift in red and blue states. Morning consult has Biden up by 16 in Colorado, where Clinton won by 5.
Morning consult has Biden up by 7 in Florida, continuing a trend of good results there.
There are a few bright spots for Trump though. Morning consult has him up by 1 in Arizona, the first time in a while he's been shown to be ahead there. Rasmussen and Trafalgar show leads in North Carolina and Michigan respectively. The latter two pollsters have already been discussed, so take their results as you will.
Compared to 2016, this is around the time Hillary started declining, but we're not seeing that this time around. It's hard to see what would change the election. The Hunter Biden story didn't seem to do it. It's hard to imagine they're sitting on anything bigger, because if they were, they'd surely have released it before people already voted. About 1/3 of people who will vote have done so already, and more of Biden's supporters have already done so. The more people vote early, the less anything can change.
The biggest opportunity for Trump is tonight. The debate and its format presents opportunities. Trump won't be mic'd during Biden's time, but this means that Trump can potentially be interrupting and distracting Biden when we can't hear it, making him seem flummoxed for no reason (unless the cameras show both candidates which they probably should). Alternatively, the image of Trump yelling when nobody can hear him may be even worse then when he can. Or, maybe Trump will actually just shut up when it's not his time to speak.
Trump will undoubtedly bring up Hunter Biden, and we'll see how Biden handles it. He might attack Giuliani's credibility, which is a bit easier today than a few days ago, he might try to ignore it as though it's too ridiculous to respond to, he might try to lump it together with other conspiracy theories Trump deals in. I still don't think the story is a huge deal, but Biden has a chance to respond and could either add gas to it, or smother it. Personally, I think the best option is to bring it up proactively. It's going to come up, so might as well take the opportunity and frame it as you want.
It's hard to see Biden make a gaffe big enough to sway things, because he really hasn't so far. The worst thing he said was the "you ain't black comment". Which was dumb but not really didn't make much of an impact. Other than that, he really hasn't done much to give credence to the narrative the Trump campaign has been trying to run with. He's actually been pretty sharp.
And the comparison of the two speaking uninterrupted may help Biden. Biden can and does give specific policy details... often way more detail than anyone wants. Trump gives rants. In the first debate, Biden couldn't speak interrupted, and fell to Trump's level. Biden could potentially rise to the level of "Presidential" and Trump really can't get there.
We'll see what happens. All signs point to this debate changing nothing and Biden winning, but in 2020 nothing can be taken for granted.