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What New Polls Say Ahead of Conventions

Biden still leads, but race appears to be tightening
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2020 7:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the Democratic convention this week and the Republican convention next week, Election 2020 is about to enter crunch time. Three new polls show that Joe Biden still leads President Trump, though one of those polls in particular shows the race tightening substantially. Details:

  • Tighter: The network Trump loves to hate has good news for the president. A new CNN poll shows Biden and Kamala Harris up 50% to 46% over Trump and Mike Pence among registered voters, which is within the margin of error. That's a big decline from Biden's 14-point lead in June in the same poll. What's more, Biden is up just 49% to 48% in 15 battleground states, and Biden's 9-point lead among independents in June has vanished.

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  • A bigger lead: While CNN has Biden up just 4 points, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows him ahead by double digits among registered voters, 53% to 41%. That's down from a 15-point lead last month but up from 10 points in May. For context, the Post notes that only 2 points separated them in late March. ABC points out that the percentage of Biden supporters who are enthusiastic is up to 48% from 28% in March. But Trump still has Biden beat in that category, with his figure at 65%.
  • A 'warning' for Dems: A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll has Biden up 50% to 41% among registered voters, the same as last month. More than half of Biden supporters, 58%, say their vote is more anti-Trump than pro-Biden, which could be a troubling sign on enthusiasm for Democrats. And the Journal notes that while Biden's positive rating rose 5 points, it's still a lackluster 39%. “This poll is a warning for Democrats and the Biden team that there is still a lot of work to be done,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who worked on the survey.
  • Overall: The Real Clear Politics average has Biden up 7.5 points, down from 10 earlier in the summer.
  • Big picture: In an analysis at Politico, Steven Shepard assesses the numbers (including the CNN survey). "While Biden’s lead has shrunk modestly, Trump has not yet closed the gap enough to markedly improve his underdog odds of winning reelection," he writes. "Any advantage he holds on the states that make up an Electoral College majority—which allowed him to win the presidency four years ago despite receiving 2.9 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton—is insufficient to overcome his current deficit."
(Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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