Biden Holds Lead Over Trump as Conventions Fail to Reshape Polls

Democratic nominee Joe Biden retains his lead over President Donald Trump in national polls two months before the election, with neither candidate seeing a bounce in surveys after their party conventions last month.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, both the Republican and Democratic gatherings in August were almost entirely virtual, and the race remains largely where it was three weeks ago, with Biden ahead by at least a half-dozen points in national surveys.

Two polls released Wednesday showed the former vice president holding a sizable lead. Biden led Trump by 10 percentage points in a Quinnipiac University survey of likely voters and by 8 percentage points in a CNN poll of registered voters.

In the Quinnipiac survey, Biden leads Trump 52% to 42%. It was conducted Aug. 28 -31 — after both nominating conventions had ended — and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. This was Quinnipiac’s first survey of likely voters in the 2020 general election cycle, so there are no previous numbers to compare.

CNN’s poll, conducted Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, found support for Biden among registered voters at 51%, with 43% backing Trump, a difference that was similar to a CNN poll conducted before the conventions. It had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

A Grinnell College national poll that came out earlier Wednesday had Biden leading Trump by 8 percentage points.

And polls by Fox News had Biden out in front in three states crucial to Trump’s re-election. In Arizona, the Democratic nominee leads the Republican incumbent 49% to 40%. In North Carolina, Biden leads 50% to 46%, and he is ahead 50% to 42% in Wisconsin. In all three surveys, Biden was bolstered by strong support among women and suburban voters.

At the same time, according to a Monmouth University poll, Trump has gained on Biden in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that, along with Wisconsin and Michigan, gave him the path to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden, who was born in the state and often speaks of its importance in his life, is currently leading by 4 percentage points among all registered voters but among likely voters, he is down significantly from the 13 percentage point lead he held six weeks ago. When pollsters looked at only likely voters, the margin tightened to 1 to 3 percentage points, depending on expected turnout.

Democrats used the four days of their convention to present Trump as a corrupt and divisive leader who had failed to protect the country from the coronavirus pandemic. Trump concluded the Republican National Convention with an acceptance speech on the White House South Lawn in which he tried to shift the campaign’s narrative with ominous visions of violent protests in American cities and a Biden administration handing the country over to socialists.

‘Only So Many Opinions’

Television ratings for both conventions, devoid of the usual boisterous crowds, balloons and bunting, declined from 2016. David Lublin, the chair of the Department of Government at American University’s School of Public Affairs, said they probably didn’t sway a lot of voters.

“They weren’t watched by that many Americans and many of the Americans who watched are the more politically interested who tend to already have an opinion anyway,” he said. “Despite all the drama, or sometimes lack of drama, there were only so many opinions to be changed.”

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