COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a steady double-digit lead over Republican opponent President Donald Trump, as the latest poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows the former vice president with a commanding 11-point national lead.
NBC/WSJ’s poll, released Thursday, gives Biden a 53%-42% lead over Trump. The poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters Oct. 9-12, and its margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.
For most polls, you can read the margin of error (MoE) like this: If the poll were to be done again 100 times, in 95 of those times the results would be within “X” percentage points of the original.
So let’s say a national poll of a sampling of registered voters, with an MoE of +/- 3, has:
You can be 95% certain that a hypothetical poll of all registered U.S. voters would yield results between these extremes:
Less than three weeks before Election Day, Thursday’s poll results show Biden maintaining a lead he has had since NBC/WSJ began polling the two candidates head-to-head in April. The 11-point advantage is down from 14 points last week, but even the thinnest lead Biden has had in the poll is seven.
“The president may have recovered from COVID-19, but there is no experimental cocktail that can cure his standing with voters,” Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt told NBC News. Horwitt’s firm, Hart Research Associates, conducted Thursday’s poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff and his colleagues at Public Opinion Strategies.
Biden’s national lead does not necessarily ensure victory, however, as the president is elected not by popular vote but with a majority of votes from the Electoral College. In 2016, Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton 304-227 in the Electoral College even though Clinton earned nearly 3 million more popular votes.
The final NBC/WSJ poll of 2016 had Clinton’s lead at 5 points, and she won the popular vote by more than 2 points.
The latest model from The New York Times on Thursday, however, says that if the polls are as off as they were in 2016, Biden would still earn a comfortable Electoral College victory, 319-219.
The latest polls of Ohio, which Trump won by 8 points in 2016, show the race for the state’s 18 electoral votes is a tossup. The winner of Ohio has ascended to the presidency in every election since 1964.
Voters say country on wrong track
Thursday’s poll also asked voters their opinions on the direction the country is going, and the results do not look good for Trump.
Sixty-two percent of voters believe the country is on the wrong track, and 58% say America is worse off than it was four years ago. However, 50% of voters said they are personally better off than they were before Trump took office, compared to 34% who say they aren’t.
Still, a majority, 53%, also say they have “major concerns” Trump will divide the country instead of uniting it. And 49% say Trump has the wrong temperament to be president.
Biden’s national lead has held stable in the poll during this election cycle because of key voting subgroups like women, voters of color, seniors and independents, McInturff, the GOP pollster, told NBC News.
Biden holds advantages among:
- Black voters, 91% to 4%
- Latino voters, 62% to 26%
- Women, 60% to 34%
- Voters 18-34, 57% to 34%
- White voters with college degrees, 57% to 38%
- Seniors, 54% to 44%
- Independents, 46% to 39%
However, Trump has the edge over Biden in three key voting groups that are especially prevalent in northern battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin:
- Men, 50% to 45%
- White voters, 50% to 46%
- White voters without college degrees, 59% to 38%
President Trump could still shrink Biden’s lead in the final 19 days, pollsters say. The economy ranks as voters’ top issue, and Republicans have a 13-point advantage of Democrats regarding which party better handles it.
Democrats, meanwhile, lead by 17 points on the coronavirus and by 18 points on health care.
“There are signs that the race could still tighten,” Horwitt, the Democratic pollster, said.