Get in Touch

September 2020: Biden Holds His Lead: Voters Split on Supreme Court Nominee Timetable

In the latest Emerson College/NewsNation national poll of likely voters, Vice President Joe Biden holds a four-point lead over President Trump, 48% to 44%. Four percent (4%) of voters plan to vote for someone else, and 4% are undecided. Of those who are still undecided, when forced to choose, 54% pick Trump, while 46% opt for Biden. 


Independent voters are breaking for Biden at 46%, while 39% favor Trump. Nine-percent (9%) of Independents are still undecided, compared to only 3% of Democrats and 2% of Republicans.

Biden leads Trump among those 18-29 (56% to 33%), those aged 30-44 (49% to 40%), and those 65 and older (52% to 44%). President Trump continues to lead the 45-64 age group, 56% to 40%.

Those that live in urban areas are breaking for Biden (53% to 37%), as are those who live in the suburbs (49% to 45). In rural areas of the country, voters are breaking for Trump, 56% to 36%.

Since the Emerson national poll in August, Biden’s lead has increased by two-points. Trump has also seen his approval rating drop 3 points since August, to 46% approval and 50% disapproval.


When asked how satisfied they are with the choices of candidates for this year’s presidential election, 86% of Republicans said they are satisfied with their choices, 57% are very satisfied and 29% are somewhat satisfied Among Democrats, 63% said they are satisfied, with 31% being very satisfied and 32% being somewhat satisfied. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats were at least somewhat dissatisfied, compared with only 8% of Republicans.


The plurality (45%) of Democrats plan to vote by mail, as compared to a majority (51%) of Republicans who plan to vote in person on election day. Independents are more split, as 43% plan to vote in person on election day, and 38% plan to vote by mail. 

Likely voters were asked how well they think Donald Trump represents the ideals and values of the Republican party, and 96% of Republicans thought he represents values and ideals very well (60%) or somewhat well (36%). Respondents were also asked how well they think Joe Biden represents the ideas and values of the Democratic Party. Ninety-percent (90%) of Democrats think he represents the party’s ideals and values very well (49%) or somewhat well (41%). 

When asked if they think the Senate should confirm a Supreme Court Justice replacement nominated by President Trump now or by whoever wins the presidential election: 48% said they should vote to confirm now and 46% said they should wait till after the January inauguration. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Republicans said they should vote now to confirm Trump’s nominee, and 82% of Democrats said they should wait till after the January inauguration. Independents were split: 45% said they should vote now to confirm Trump’s nominee, with 44% favoring to wait for the winner of the November election.

Regarding the political leanings of the Supreme Court, a plurality of voters (38%) believe the Court leans to the right. Twenty-five percent (25%) say it leans to the left, 24% are unsure on the issue; 13% believe the Court acts in a non-partisan way.

Voters are split on whether or not Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have retired during Barack Obama’s presidency; 34% say she should have, 34% say she should not have, and 33% are unsure. 

A majority (62%) of voters agree with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision made by the Supreme Court regarding a woman’s right to an abortion. Twenty-two percent (22%) of voters said they disagreed with the decision, and 17% were unsure.

A majority of voters (52%) think that the United States is handling coronavirus worse than other countries around the world. However, there is a huge divide between parties on this view; 77% of Democrats say the US is handling coronavirus worse than other countries, as compared to only 20% of Republicans who hold this view.. A majority of Republicans (56%) think the opposite - that the United States is handling coronavirus better than other countries. Independents are more split, but a majority (57%) believe the United States is handling it worse than other countries.

Similarly, while a majority (52%) of voters say that coronavirus is a major threat to public health in the United States, there is a divide on this issue depending on party affiliation. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats view coronavirus as a major threat, compared to only 35% of Republicans who hold this view. Fifty percent (50%) of independents view coronavirus as a major threat to public health. Thirty-two percent of Republicans say that coronavirus is either a minor threat, or not a threat at all, compared to only 4% of Democrats who hold a similar view. 


Additional Questions

  • Voters are split on who they expect to win in November with Trump at 50% and Biden at 50%.
  • Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters overall believe Trump has lived up to his campaign promise to Make America Great Again.
  • Joe Biden has a 46% favorable opinion and 42% unfavorable opinion among likely voters.
  • Donald Trump has a 42% favorable and 53% unfavorable opinion among likely voters.
  • When asked who voters thought was more of a wimp, 57% said Donald Trump and 43% said Joe Biden.
  • Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters plan to watch the first Presidential debate on September 29th, 16% said they did not plan to watch and 13% were undecided.
  • 60% of voters believe that a woman should be the nominee for the incoming Supreme Court Justice.


Caller ID

The September National Emerson College poll was conducted September 22-23, 2020. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=1000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, party affiliation, 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=292), SMS-to-web texting (n=244) and an online panel provided by MTurk (n=464).



Key Takeaways
  • Biden leads by 4 in the presidential election
  • A majority of voters think that the United States is handling coronavirus worse than other countries around the world
  • Republicans are more satisfied with choices of candidates for this year’s presidential election than Democrats
Media Gallery
Files
Related Bios
Spencer Kimball
Professor
View Full Bio>>
Contacts
Emerson Polling
emersonpolling@emerson.edu
+1 617.824.3491
Media