Among potential voters, 54% support Biden and 42% support Trump. Biden holds the lead in every CNN poll in matchup since 2019 and has a statistically significant advantage in every high-quality national poll since the spring.
The poll shows no indication that Trump’s four-year re-election campaign has garnered significant new supporters since his narrow victory in the 2016 election.
With no significant changes in the landscape in the last days of the race, Trump’s chances of closing the gap depend largely on the arrival of Election Day. The poll found that among those who have already voted (64% Biden to 34% Trump) or who plan to vote earlier but have not yet done so at the time of their interview (63% Biden to 33% Trump), Biden holds almost two-thirds support. Trump leads 59% to 36%, however, among those who say they intend to vote on Election Day.
The demographic gaps that have defined the nation’s politics over the past four years remain in place. Women break abruptly for Biden, 61% to 37%. Among men, it is almost equivalent, 48% for Trump and 47% for Biden. Voters of color support the Democrats with a margin of almost 50 points, 71% to 24%, while white voters divide 50% for Trump to 48% for Biden.
These near-even numbers between male and white voters cover significant differences in education between whites and between races between the sexes. Women of color (77% Biden to 21% Trump) and white women (54% Biden to 45% Trump) both took vacations for Biden, as did men of color (64% Biden to 28% Trump). Whites, however, favor Trump by 56% to 41%.
Those who have college degrees prefer Biden by 30 points, while those who do not have degrees share evenly. Between the white voters, the difference is bigger. White voters with college degrees prefer Biden 58% to 40%. Those white voters who do not have a four-year degree are mirrors, breaking 58% for Trump to 40% for Biden. Among these white voters with degrees, the gender gap is relatively small, but it is yawning 38 points between white women without points (49% Biden to 49% Trump) and white men without points (68% Trump to 30% for Biden ).
And the elderly, who moved in the direction of the Democrats in the 2018 election, are firmly in Biden’s corner in this poll. Overall, 55% of potential voters aged 65 and over support Democrats, 44% support Trump. Biden also leads with a large margin among voters under the age of 35 (68% of Biden to 30% of Trump), while voters between the ages of 35 and 64 share evenly between the two candidates (48% behind each candidate). .
The President’s approval rating in the poll is 42% approving to 55% rejecting all adults. Among potential voters, it is similar for 42% to approve and 56% to reject it. The numbers have almost run out in the last year, with the approval number ranging between 40% and 45% in all but one of CNN ‘s 12 polls since October 2019. The numbers are now also almost different from Trump’s first approval rating in the CNN poll in 2017, when 44% were approved and 53% rejected.
Only about 4 in 10 Americans say things are going well in the country right now (39%). This percentage has dropped only twice as low in the re-election years since 1980: in 1992 (35% doing well) and in 1980 (32% doing well).
All the evidence points to an election that is a referendum on an unpopular President, and a fairly large number of supporters of both candidates make their decisions based on their feelings for Trump. Among Biden supporters, 48% said they voted more against Trump than for Biden, while 48% said they were in favor of Biden than against the president. While this is still a big vote against Trump, this is a change in favor of Biden compared to earlier in the round. On the other hand, almost 8 out of 10 Trump supporters (79%) say that their votes support the President and not against Biden (17%).
However, the messages of the Trump campaign in the last weeks of the campaign were incessantly negative for Biden. The poll shows that there is little difference in the perceptions of the former vice president. Democrats’ ratings in the poll remain largely positive: 55% of potential voters have a positive view and 42% a negative, roughly the same as in early October. Trump’s numbers are as negative as they were earlier this month: 57% have a negative opinion of him, while 41% have a positive opinion.
In 2016, voters who had negative views on both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton abruptly broke in Trump’s favor, according to exit polls. But this group of voters is smaller with this year’s candidates, from 18% in the CNN exit poll in 2016 to 4% now. The majority has a positive view of Biden, but not of Trump (51%), while only 37% have a positive view of Trump but not of Biden.
Biden has advantages over Trump, as the candidate is more likely to unite the country (60% Biden to 34% Trump), who is more honest and trustworthy (54% to 37%), who cares about people like you (54% to 40%) and who will keep Americans safe from harm (52% to 45%). Voters are likely to be divided, however, over which candidate has the stamina and clarity to be president (47% say Trump, 46% Biden), a focus for Trump, who has beaten Biden in his age throughout the campaign.
Voters are more likely to consider a candidate’s position on issues that are important to their vote than the candidate’s leadership and personal qualities. But the subset focusing on personal qualities breaks sharply in Biden (71% support Biden, 27% Trump), while those who say the issues are more critical are in favor of Trump (54% Trump to 43% Biden).
Overall, however, Biden is more often seen as a candidate with a clear plan to solve the country’s problems, 54% say Biden, 41% Trump. And the former vice president has an advantage over Trump as more credible in dealing with racial inequalities (60% Biden to 36% Trump), the coronavirus outbreak (57% to 39%), healthcare (57% to 41%), crime and security (52% to 46%) and Supreme Court nominations (51% to 44%). However, Trump has regained the edge in managing the economy (51% Trump to 46% Biden).
Overall, a majority of potential voters see Biden’s policy proposals as likely to move the country in the right direction (53%), while most say Trump’s proposals point in the wrong direction (53%).
And all this is evolving in the context of a root Koran virus pandemic. Eight months after many countries closed to slow the spread of the virus, 50% of Americans say the worst of this epidemic has not yet come. Only half say they are comfortable returning to their normal routines. In addition, 40% say the economy is still in recession due to the virus, while only 29% say the economy is starting to recover.
In all these measures of where the country is in the fight against the coronavirus, Biden voters and Trump voters have completely opposite views. Among Biden supporters, 77% say the worst of the pandemic is ahead, while 78% of Trump voters believe they are behind us. More than 8 in 10 Trump supporters (84%) say they are comfortable returning to their normal routines today, while 76% of Biden voters are not. And 64% of Biden supporters say the economy is still deteriorating, while 62% of Trump voters believe it is on the rise.
The CNN Poll was conducted by the SSRS from October 23 to October 26 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults reached by landlines or cell phones by a live researcher, including 886 potential voters. Results for the complete sample have a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. is plus or minus 3.8 points for results among potential voters.
CORRECTION: This story corrected the margin of error for the overall results and the results among potential voters.