WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday his poll numbers in some battleground states are better than what major surveys show, which have him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Poll numbers are very good. You don't see the real poll numbers," said Trump, speaking at his Las Vegas hotel before heading to Arizona for a pair of campaign rallies.
National polls typically show Biden with a lead of 7 to 8 percentage points lead over Trump, but with about half that margin in key battleground states that are likely to determine the outcome in the Electoral College.
"We're up in almost all of the states that we're talking about," according to the president, who said he is "doing fantastically" in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and that he is also leading in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The surveys that show him behind, contended Trump, are "suppression polls" that "are almost like a campaign contribution" to the Democratic National Committee.
According to an average of major polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, Trump trails Biden in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin while the two candidates are virtually tied in Florida and North Carolina.
Biden on Wednesday, after receiving a public health briefing, again criticized the president for holding large outdoor rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the previous night's rally in Omaha, Nebraska, left "hundreds of people, including older Americans and children, out in subfreezing temperatures for hours. Several folks ended up in the hospital."
Biden added that Trump "gets his photo op. Then he gets out. He leaves everyone else to suffer the consequences of his failure to make a responsible plan and he just doesn't care."
Americans are voting early for Tuesday's presidential election in unprecedented numbers, a product of strong feelings for or against the two main candidates and a desire to avoid large crowds at Election Day polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
About 75 million people have already voted six days ahead of the official Election Day, totaling more than half of the overall 2016 vote count, which was 138.8 million.
About two-thirds of America's early voters have mailed in their ballots, and the rest voted in person at polling places throughout the country.
Biden voted Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware, while Trump cast his ballot on Saturday at a library in West Palm Beach, Florida, near his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Voting experts say voter turnout for the contest between Republican Trump and Democratic challenger Biden could be the highest percentage of the electorate since 1908, when 65% of the country's eligible voters cast ballots.
Focus on Arizona
On Wednesday, both Trump and Biden's running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, campaigned in Arizona, a Southwestern state along the Mexican border that Trump won in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton. No Democratic presidential candidate has won there since 1996, but polls now show Biden narrowly ahead. The state has 11 of the 270 electoral votes that either Trump or Biden will need to claim the presidency and be inaugurated on January 20.
U.S. presidential elections are decided through an indirect form of democracy in the 538-member Electoral College, not the national popular vote.
Vice President Mike Pence was holding rallies Wednesday in two key Midwest states, Wisconsin and Michigan, both of which Trump captured four years ago.
Ken Bredemeier in Washington contributed to this report.