The presidential race is tightening following the national party conventions, with former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 7 points, but down 5 points from a June poll, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of registered voters.
Biden leads Trump 50 percent to 43 percent, with 4 percent undecided. A June Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll showed Biden leading Trump by 12 points, 53 percent to 41 percent.
When third party candidates Howie Hawkins (Green Party) and Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) were offered as choices, Biden’s lead drops from 7 points to 5 points, with 47 percent backing Biden, 42 percent choosing Trump, third party candidates receiving 1 percent, and 7 percent undecided.
Concerns about election fairness
While a majority (60 percent) of registered voters say they will accept the outcome of the election as fair and accurate if their preferred candidate is not elected, a significant percentage of those polled are more skeptical. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) said they are not prepared to accept the outcome as fair and accurate if their candidate loses.
A majority (56 percent) said they are somewhat or very concerned that widespread mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud, while 43 percent said they were not very or not at all concerned.
Despite Biden’s lead in the poll, when registered voters were asked who they think will win the presidency when all the votes are counted, 44 percent of respondents said Trump, while 42 percent said Biden and 14 percent were undecided.
Voter expectations are also higher for Trump in the upcoming debates. When voters were asked who they thought will win the presidential debates, Trump led Biden 47 percent to 41 with 11 percent undecided.
President’s job approval
Trump’s job approval has improved in the Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll. Of those surveyed, 45 percent approve of the president’s performance, while 52 percent disapprove. That compares to Trump’s 40 percent approval rating vs. 58 percent disapproval in the June poll.
“Since June, Trump has begun to widen his lead among demographic groups that make up a significant percentage of Republican voters,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “These include white voters, older voters, and men.”
Trump widened his lead among white voters from +3 to +8, among older voters from +3 to +11, and among men from +3 to +12.
Trump’s favorability rating was 43 percent in the most recent poll compared to 53 percent of voters who had an unfavorable opinion. That compares to 47 percent of voters with a favorable opinion of Biden and 47 percent who have an unfavorable opinion.
Trump’s gains come during a time when voters overwhelmingly feel the country is on the wrong track at 62 percent, while just 30 percent say the country is going in the right direction.
Fewer than 1 in 3 voters (32 percent) say that the country is in an economic recovery while 18 percent say it has stagnated, 31 percent indicated recession, and 13 percent said the economy is in a depression.
A solid majority of respondents (57 percent) said peaceful protests across the country should continue even though violence has followed in some cities, while 36 percent said the protests should stop for now because of violence. The country is divided as to whether systemic racism is a factor in police shootings of Black people in the U.S. Some 41 percent said the police shootings reflected systemic racism in American society while 49 percent said that police shootings reflect case-by-case individual actions and misdeeds.
The nationwide Suffolk University/USA Today survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. The survey of 1,000 respondents was conducted August 28 – 31. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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