Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 11 points among registered voters in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, considered by many to be gold standard because it's jointly conducted by a Democratic and Republican pollster, Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies respectively.
At 53-42%, Biden is several points above the magic 50% threshold in the poll, which was conducted after Trump returned to the White House following his hospitalization for the coronavirus. But Biden's lead is also down a few points from the outlets' post-debate poll that found him leading by 14 points.
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Republicans still have a double-digit advantage on the issue of the economy but, significantly, 62% say the country is on the wrong track while just 29% say it's on the right track. Another 58% believe the country is worse off than it was four years ago compared to 38% who say it's better off.
Respondents also expressed serious reservations about Trump’s leadership, with 53% harboring a "major concern" that he will divide the country rather than unite it, and 49% having major concerns that he doesn't have the right temperament to be president. The good news is that every day Trump spends on the campaign will only remind voters of those concerns.
The caveat is, Trump's approval rating in the poll is 44% while he's only getting 42% of the vote, within the poll's margin of error. In other words, many of the same people who say they have concerns about Trump also approve of the job he's done more generally. In the poll, 50% say they're personally better off than they were four years ago.
But the demographic trends, particularly compared to 2016, all work against Trump. Even among the voting groups Trump is winning in, he's winning by far less than he did four years ago.
Here's Biden's advantage over Trump among key blocs in the survey compared to 2016 exit polls:
- Black voters: Biden +87 (91% to 4%); Clinton +81
- Women: Biden +26 (60% to 34%); Clinton +13
- Whites with college degrees: Biden +19 (57% to 38%); Trump +3
- Seniors: Biden +10 (54% to 44%); Trump +7
- Independents: Biden +7 (46% to 39%); Trump +4
And here's Trump's advantage over Biden in certain blocs compared to 2016:
- Men: Trump +5 (50% to 45%); Trump +11
- White voters: Trump +4 (50% to 46%); Trump +20
- Whites without college degrees: Trump +21 (59% to 38%); Trump +37
The pollsters said it was entirely possible the race could tighten in the final few weeks, but they added that these demographic trends among voters have been remarkably stable for much of the year.
"These are the trends we've been watching for 10 months," said Bill McInturff, the GOP pollster.