QU Poll: Biden with steady lead over Trump in new national poll

August 22, 2017, PHOENIX, AZ U.S. President Donald J. Trump speaks to crowd of supporters at the. 2020, US President. (ID 116449600 © Joe Sohm | Dreamstime.com) | Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Hampton, New Hampshire, USA, on Feb. 9, 2020, during the presidential primary. (ID 172244181 © Andrew Cline | Dreamstime.com)

In the race for the White House, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump 52 – 42 percent among likely voters in a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Those numbers are unchanged from a September 2nd national poll when Biden led Trump 52 – 42 percent.

“Voters think Biden is smarter, more honest, more level headed, and cares more about Americans than the president. And that, in part, translates into a ten-point lead,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

Democrats back Biden 96 – 2 percent, independents back him 49 – 41 percent, and Republicans back Trump 91 – 7 percent.

Ninety-four percent of likely voters who selected a candidate for president say their minds are made up, while 5 percent say they might change their minds.


Looking ahead, 47 percent plan to vote in person on Election Day, while 34 percent plan to vote by mail/absentee ballot, and 15 percent plan to vote at an early voting location.

Among voters who say they plan to vote in person on Election Day, 57 percent support Trump while 35 percent support Biden. However, among voters who plan to vote by mail/absentee ballot, 68 percent back Biden while 26 percent support Trump. Among those who plan on voting at an early voting location, 65 percent support Biden, while 34 percent support Trump.


Just 30 percent of likely voters think the country will know the winner of the presidential election on Election Night, while 63 percent say they think we will not know.

“Don’t hold your breath on Election Night. Nearly two-thirds of likely voters don’t anticipate going to bed on November 3rd with the election settled,” added Malloy.

Sixty-six percent of likely voters say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned that a foreign government may try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, while 33 percent say they are either “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.”


Biden receives a mixed favorability rating, as 45 percent have a favorable opinion and 45 percent have an unfavorable opinion. President Trump has a negative favorability rating, as 41 percent have a favorable opinion and 55 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Likely voters give Biden better scores than Trump on six personal traits, as they say:

  • 49 – 43 percent that Biden is honest, and 59 – 35 percent that Trump is not honest;
  • 50 – 42 percent that Biden has good leadership skills, and 55 – 43 percent that Trump does not;
  • 58 – 36 percent that Biden cares about average Americans, and 53 – 45 percent that Trump does not;
  • 56 – 37 percent that Biden is level headed, and 61 – 36 percent that Trump is not level headed;
  • 65 – 30 percent that Biden is intelligent, and 52 – 44 percent that Trump is also intelligent;
  • A split 49 – 47 percent that Biden does not share their values, and 56 – 41 percent that Trump does not share their values.


Likely voters were asked who would do a better job handling five issues:

  • On handling the economy, Trump 49 percent, Biden 48 percent;
  • On handling the military, Biden 49 percent, Trump 46 percent;
  • On keeping you and your family safe, Biden 51 percent, Trump 44 percent;
  • On handling the response to the coronavirus, Biden 55 percent, Trump 39 percent;
  • On handling racial inequality, Biden 56 percent, Trump 36 percent.

“It’s a toss-up on who best can manage the economy, but a thumping for Trump on race and who would best handle the coronavirus,” added Malloy.


Likely voters give President Trump a negative 43 – 53 percent job approval rating, which is essentially unchanged from a negative 43 – 54 percent job approval on September 2nd. Likely voters give President Trump a mixed 49 – 48 percent approval for his handling of the economy. This is also essentially unchanged from a 49 – 49 percent approval for his handling of the economy earlier this month.


On his coronavirus response, voters give President Trump a negative 42 – 56 percent approval, similar to the 41 – 57 percent rating on September 2nd.

A majority of likely voters (57 percent) say they don’t think President Trump has been telling the truth about the coronavirus to the American people, while 37 percent think the president has been telling the truth.

“Was the president leveling with Americans in the early stages of the coronavirus? Likely voters say… not likely,” said Malloy.

Given a choice between President Trump and CDC scientists and asked who is trusted more on information about the coronavirus, likely voters say 70 – 21 percent that they trust CDC scientists more than President Trump.

Nearly eight out of ten (79 percent) of likely voters say they believe that masks or face coverings are effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, while 19 percent say they don’t. There are gaps among political parties, as Republicans say 60 – 36 percent mask and face coverings are effective, Democrats say 96 – 3 percent they are effective, and independents say 78 – 21 percent they are effective.


A majority of likely voters, 58 – 37 percent, say that climate change is a factor in making the wildfires on the West Coast more severe. Along party lines, Democrats say 93 – 4 percent that climate change is a factor, independents say 54 – 41 percent it’s a factor, and Republicans say 70 – 22 percent that climate change is not a factor in making the wildfires more severe.

1,302 likely voters nationwide were surveyed from September 17 – 21 with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than twenty states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.

Visit poll.qu.edu or www.facebook.com/quinnipiacpoll

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