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October National Poll: Biden with Five-Point Lead One Week Out

In the final Emerson College/NewsNation national poll before the November 3rd election, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump, 50% to 45%. Two percent (2%) of voters plan to vote for another candidate, and 2% are undecided. 


Voters were asked who they expect to win the Presidential election regardless of who they plan to vote for. There was a one-point expectation gap, with 42% expecting Trump to win, 41% expecting Biden to win, and 17% stating they are unsure at this point. 

Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling had this caveat, “this survey is measuring the popular vote and should not be used to project which candidate will win the electoral college.”

Biden has a lead among suburban voters, 54% to 40%, and urban voters, 55% to 42%, while Trump has a strong lead with rural voters, 59% to 34%. 

Biden has near-universal support among Democrats (99%), while 93% of Republicans are voting for Trump. Independents are breaking for Trump, 47% to 41%. 

Since June, the race has remained stable, with Biden consistently leading Trump by a margin ranging from two to five points, with Biden’s strongest number coming this month at 50%.

Seventy-five percent of voters say they made up their mind of who to support for president over one month ago, 11% say they made up their mind in the past month, 11% say in the past week, and 3% say they have not made up their mind yet. 

The majority (51%) of voters disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president, while 45% approve and 4% are neutral. Independent voters slightly approve of President Trump’s job, 49% approval to 46% disapproval.

The plurality (31%) of voters say the economy is the most important issue in deciding their vote for president, followed by COVID-19 response with 22%, social justice with 15%, healthcare with 11%, climate change with 9% and the supreme court with 3%. Eight percent (8%) said something else. 

Among Trump voters, a majority (53%) choose the economy as the most important issue.

Biden voters are more split, with COVID-19 ranking as the most important issue at 30%. Other Biden voters are split between healthcare (17%), climate change (16%), and social justice (16%) as the most important voting issue.




Caller ID

The October National Emerson College/NewsNation poll was conducted October 25-26, 2020. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=1,121, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race and region based on 2016 voter turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=403) and an online panel (n=718).

Key Takeaways
  • Biden holds strong at 50%, Trump is five-points behind at 45%
  • Voters are split on who they expect to win, with 42% saying Trump and 41% saying Biden
  • A plurality of voters, 31%, say the economy is the most important issue to them when deciding on a candidate
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This survey is measuring the popular vote and should not be used to project which candidate will win the electoral college.
Spencer KimballEmerson College Polling director
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Emerson Polling
emersonpolling@emerson.edu
+1 617.824.3491
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