NewsNation/Emerson poll: Biden has slight lead over President Trump


(NewsNation Now) — In our new NewsNation/Emerson College national poll of likely voters, former Vice President Joe Biden holds a slight lead over President Trump.

48% of likely voters polled plan to vote for Biden; 44% polled plan to vote for Trump. That’s an increase of two points for Biden from our last poll in August. Of those still undecided, when forced to choose, 54% pick Trump while 46% opt for Biden.

The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points, so the race is close, based on the poll.

Biden now leads the president among 18-29-year-old voters by 56 to 33%, among those aged 30 to 44 by 49 to 40%, and those aged 65 and older by 52 to 44%. The president prevails among those aged 45 to 64 years old by 56 to 40%.

There is a 53 to 37% lead for Biden in urban areas, and a smaller lead—49 to 45%—for him in the suburbs, while the president holds a 20-point lead—56 to 36—in rural areas.

When we asked how satisfied they are with the choice of presidential candidates they have, 86% of Republicans said they are satisfied. Among Democrats, that number was 63%.

And voters polled were split exactly on who they expect to win the Nov. 3 election, with 50% saying the incumbent, and 50% saying his challenger.

And on the issues, the poll offers some interesting results:


On the pandemic front, 77% of Democrats polled believe the country is handling the coronavirus worse than other nations around the world. Only 20% of Republicans polled share that view. 56% of Republicans think the U.S. is doing better than other countries.

67% of Democrats see the coronavirus as a major threat; just 35% of Republicans feel the same way. Only 4% of Democrats see the virus as a minor threat or no threat at all, while 32% of Republicans polled hold that view.

Supreme Court

On the Supreme Court, our poll found 38% believe it leans to the right, 25% to the left, and 24% are unsure. But just 13% believe the court acts in a non-partisan way.

And on that point, 62% of likely voters polled said they agree with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision regarding a woman’s right to an abortion. 22% disagreed.

Voting by mail

45% of Democrats polled said they plan to vote by mail, compared to 51% of Republicans who said they plan to vote in person.

Watching the debate

While the president campaigned in two states Thursday, Biden was at home preparing for the debate next Tuesday. Our poll says 71% of likely voters plan to watch it.

How the NewsNation/Emerson poll was conducted

The September National Emerson College/NewsNation poll was conducted Sept. 22-23. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n-=1000, with a credibility interval similar to the poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. Data was collected using an interactive voice response system of landlines (n=292), SMS-to-web texting (n=244) and an online panel provided by MTurk(n=464).

The perception of political polling took a hit after polls in 2016 overestimated support for Hillary Clinton.  As a result, much of the country was surprised when Donald Trump won the election. 

Read more on the poll here.

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