Speed Reads

DNC 2020

Biden enters convention with a moderately shrinking lead over Trump, polls find

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden enters his virtual nominating convention ahead of President Trump, but the race has tightened either a little bit or a lot in three polls released Sunday and Monday morning. The most dramatic shift was in CNN's poll, which had Biden leading Trump by just 4 percentage points among registered voters, 50 percent to 46 percent, down from a 14-point lead in June. In 15 battleground states, CNN and SSRS found, Biden is ahead by just 1 point, 49 percent to 48 percent.

Biden maintained a wider lead in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday and a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll on Sunday. In the Washington Post/ABC poll, Biden has a 12-point advantage among both registered voters and voting-age adults, 53 percent to 41 percent. Biden led by 15 points in the same poll in July. The WSJ/NBC recorded Biden with a 9-point lead, 50 percent to 49 percent, versus his 11-point lead last month. FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an 8.4-point lead in its polling average, 51.3 percent to 42.9; RealClearPolitics has Biden up 7.5 points, 49.8 percent to 42.3 percent.

In all three polls, voters were largely motivated by support for or opposition to Trump, and the percentage of voters paying attention to the election was historically high. Trump polls badly on his response to the COVID-19 pandemic but narrowly leads Biden on the economy and crime. Biden leads on all other issues. Trump's job approval rating ranged from 42 percent (CNN/SSRS) to 44 percent (WSJ/NBC). Biden's choice of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate got high marks in the polls.

The CNN/SSRS poll, which has swung wildly this year, was conducted Aug. 12-15 among 987 registered voters contacted by phone, and its margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points, or ±5.4 points for the 15 battleground states. The Washington Post/ABC News poll contacted 1,001 adults including 868 registered voters by phone Aug. 12-15 and its margin of error was ±4 points for registered voters. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll involved 900 registered voters contacted Aug. 9-12, and its margin of error is ±3.27 points.