Polling Average Shows Tightening Presidential Race, Biden’s 2020 Lead Now Narrower Than Clinton’s In 2016

WILDWOOD, NJ - JULY 03: Girls walk past President Trump 2020 and Joe Biden 2020 sweatshirts displayed for sale on the boardwalk on July 3, 2020 in Wildwood, New Jersey. New Jersey beaches have reopened for the July 4th holiday as some coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, along with casinos, amusement rides and water parks at limited capacity. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Mark Makela/Getty Images

Former Vice President-turned-2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden is finding himself with a narrowing lead over President Donald Trump in the latest polls, and Trump, not Biden, appears to have gotten a “bounce” from the Democratic National Convention.

Although Biden remains ahead, the race, CNBC reports Wednesday, is now tightening even in battleground states, where Biden’s lead is lagging behind Hillary Clinton’s at this point in the 2016 presidential cycle.

The shift seems to stem from a change in voter priorities, from the novel coronavirus, which dominated headlines across the country for the first six months of 2020, to ongoing riots in many major cities, some of which have now spread to traditionally suburban areas, like Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“In Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, 66% of likely voters said they have serious concerns about Covid-19, the survey released Wednesday found. The share fell from 69% in a poll taken two weeks earlier,” CNBC says. “The share of respondents who said they have ‘very serious’ concerns about the coronavirus dropped to 45% from 49%.”

Trump is also receiving higher marks for his recent job performance: “48% of voters in the states said they approve of the job Trump is doing, while 52% disapprove. Two weeks ago, 46% of respondents said they approved of the job Trump is doing, versus 54% who disapproved.”

Just weeks ago, Biden was comfortably ahead of Trump in most battleground states, but the latest polls show that Biden and Trump are now easily within the margin of error in places like Arizona and Florida – two states expected to be crucial to a 2020 presidential win in the Electoral College.

Arizona: Biden 49%, Trump 47%

Florida: Biden 49%, Trump 46%

Michigan: Biden 50%, Trump 44%

North Carolina: Biden 48%, Trump 47%

Pennsylvania: Biden 49%, Trump 46%

Wisconsin: Biden 49%, Trump 44%

In Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Trump is actually performing better at this point in the campaign than he was in 2016 when he was facing off against Hillary Clinton, largely considered – at least by the Democratic establishment – to be a strong candidate.

In Pennsylvania, Clinton lead by 4 more points in 2016 than Biden is now. In Michigan, she led by just under 4 points, and in Wisconsin – a state that went on to spell doom for Clinton’s campaign – she was performing nearly 5 points better than Biden at this time in 2016. Biden is outperforming Clinton only in Florida.

Polling, of course, has changed somewhat since 2016, and pollsters are recording more “quiet” voters who might have been overlooked in Trump’s contest against Clinton. The White House, though, has insisted that the polling does not reflect the nation’s true feelings and that Trump has “silent” support from voters who are either afraid to speak to pollsters or are avoiding being counted altogether.

Most presidential candidates receive a polling “bounce” following their official nomination, but Biden did not, according to POLITICO: “A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed virtually no change in Biden’s image ratings, which remain split evenly between voters who view him positively and negatively.”

Yahoo/YouGov and Reuters/Ipsos reported similar results. CNN noted a slight bump in favorability for Biden.

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