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Business News/ News / World/  President Trump trails Joe Biden by 10 points nationally in final days of electi

President Trump trails Joe Biden by 10 points nationally in final days of electi


Biden leads, 52% to 42%, among registered voters in national WSJ/NBC News poll; race in battleground states is narrowing


President Trump trails by 10 percentage points among voters nationally in the final days of his re-election campaign, facing substantial public anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic but with broad approval of his management of the economy, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Mr. Trump, 52% to 42%, in the poll’s final reading of voter opinion before Election Day, essentially unchanged from Mr. Biden’s 11-point advantage in mid-October. In particular, women and seniors have turned against the president, the poll finds, with both groups favoring Mr. Biden by double-digit margins.

However, the survey finds the race tightening when the landscape is narrowed to a set of 12 battleground states. Mr. Biden holds a 6-point lead across those states, 51% to 45%, compared with a 10-point lead last month.

Mr. Biden’s advantage in swing states is within the poll’s margin of error and corresponds with the many swing-state surveys that show close races and a potential path for Mr. Trump to build an Electoral College majority without winning the national popular vote, as he did in 2016.

“This election is probably the most competitive 10-point race I’ve seen," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt. Mr. Trump’s support remains strong among his base of largely working-class, white voters, who are plentiful in the swing states.

While Mr. Biden holds large leads among people who have voted early or plan to, Mr. Trump holds a big lead among those who say they will vote on Election Day, the poll finds. Mr. Trump’s hopes for victory rest in large part on efforts by the Republican National Committee to register swing-state voters who back Mr. Trump, and whose presence will be seen more on Election Day than in early balloting, Mr. McInturff said.

“The RNC has spent how many millions of dollars, and the only thing they’ve focused on is turnout of noncollege, white voters, especially in about six states," he said. Mr. McInturff said the party’s efforts raised the potential that Mr. Trump has changed the electorate in his favor, much like former President George W. Bush did in 2004 by drawing more religious conservatives to the polls.

Mr. Horwitt said that Mr. Trump is facing an electorate that holds negative views of his overall job performance. In the 41 Journal/NBC News surveys that measured views of how Mr. Trump has handled his office, he said, “there was not a single poll that produced a result where more Americans approved than disapproved of his performance as president."

The 2020 campaign is approaching its end amid near-record voter interest and disquiet over the coronavirus pandemic that on Friday reached a high for new cases. Some 83% of voters rate themselves at the highest levels of interest in the campaign, a share unseen since just before former President Barack Obama’s first election in 2008.

Asked which issue was most important to their decision in the election—the economy or coronavirus—voters were divided almost evenly, a sign of how much the pandemic has upended expectations as they stood at the start of the election season.

Some 41% of voters named the economy as the most important issue, while 38% cited coronavirus—a 3-point gap that narrowed from 8 points last month. And in a sign of substantial concern about the virus, 55% said the worst of the pandemic was yet to come.

One of Mr. Trump’s strongest advantages is that 55% of voters approve of his handling of the economy, 14 points more than who disapprove. One of his top challenges is that 57% disapprove of his management of the pandemic, 17 points more than who approve.

Mr. Trump is contending with significant opposition from two large voter groups: Women, who outnumber men in the electorate, and seniors.

The president trails Mr. Biden by 20 percentage points among women in the new survey, 57% to 37%, while leading among men by one point, 48% to 47%. If the election outcome matched those results, the 2020 campaign would show one of the largest gender gaps on record.

Among seniors in the national survey, Mr. Trump trails by 23 points, 58% to 35%, a substantial reversal from his winning margin among those voters in 2016, measured at between 7 and 10 points in various surveys of the electorate.

Seniors are a closely watched group, in large part because most swing states have larger shares of them than the national average. Maine, for example, which gave Mr. Trump an electoral vote in 2016, has the nation’s largest share of residents aged 65 or older, while Florida, the largest swing state, has the second-largest share of seniors.

Mr. Trump’s hopes for an Electoral College majority turn in large measure on the fact that he is viewed more favorably in battleground states than among voters nationally.

In the 12 state battlegrounds, for example, Mr. Trump leads by 21 points among white men, compared with a 12-point lead among that group nationally. Among seniors, Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden by 11 points in battleground states, compared with the 23-point deficit nationally.

Mr. Trump’s strength among white men in battleground states, especially working-class men without college degrees, remains an important and potentially decisive factor in the race. “Any other incumbent president who was down 10 points, we would not be talking about his possibility of winning. We would not be so cautious and not be so open to the idea that there’s a way to win this campaign," Mr. McInturff said.

Nationally, Mr. Trump remains a polarizing figure. More voters in the new survey viewed him unfavorably than favorably, with “very positive" and “very negative" views tying or close to record highs. By a narrow margin, more voters view Mr. Biden in a positive than a negative light.

The Journal/NBC News survey presents the results among all registered voters, whereas the poll at this point in prior election years sifted out a small share of voters deemed unlikely to cast ballots and reported results only among likely voters.

Journal/NBC News polling experts have determined that the work they have done in past years to define a set of likely voters may not apply to this election. Many states have changed voting laws, with some mailing ballots to every registered voter for the first time. The impact of these changes cannot be assessed until after the election. In addition, early voting and other gauges of voter interest point to unusually high turnout. For those reasons, the poll is presenting the broadest profile of potential voters rather than trying to determine which voters are likeliest to vote.

The Journal/NBC News poll interviewed 1,000 registered voters nationally from Oct. 29-31. The margin of error for that sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The poll also included interviews with 833 registered voters in swing states. The margin of error for that sample is 3.4 percentage points. The swing states included were Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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