Latest USA Voting Intention
(31 August – 1 September)

September 1, 2020
Approval Rating | Coronavirus | Donald Trump | Joe Biden | The Economy | US Presidential Election 2020 | Voting Intention
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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest weekly voting intention poll for the US Presidential Election finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 8%, which represents a 2% decrease in Biden’s lead compared to last week.[1] These results suggest that Trump may have benefited from a slight increase in support following last week’s Republican National Convention. Although 49% of voters continue to believe they will vote for Biden, Trump increased his support by 2% to 41% as the proportion of undecided voters dropped from 9% to 7%. Altogether, our latest results are as follows:

Joseph R. Biden (Democrat) 49% (–)

Donald J. Trump (Republican) 41% (+2)

Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) 2% (–)

Howie Hawkins (Green) 1% (–)

Other (Another Third Party / Write In) 1% (–)

Don’t Know 7% (-2)

Likelihood to vote remained the same as last week: 64% of respondents will certainly vote. Nonetheless, 79% of likely Trump voters say they are certain to vote compared to 76% of likely Biden voters, which is a slight shift since last week, when 75% of likely Trump voters and 76% of likely Biden voters said they were certain they vote. It is important to note, however, that these changes are barely beyond the margin of error of this poll.

The Enthusiasm Gap

The proportion of likely Trump voters who say they feel “very enthusiastic” about voting for Trump increased for the second successive week, with the proportion rising from 62% last week to 65% this week. In our polling two weeks ago, 56% of likely Trump voters were “very enthusiastic” about voting for him, which highlights that enthusiasm for voting for Trump has risen significantly in the last fortnight. Meanwhile, the proportion of likely Biden voters who say they feel “very enthusiastic” about voting for Biden has remained at 51% this week. Thus, the enthusiasm gap between the two candidates currently stands at 14%.

At this moment, 51% of likely Biden voters say they will vote for the Democratic candidate primarily because they support him rather than because they oppose Trump (49%). Nevertheless, the level of enthusiasm for voting for Biden’s candidacy has dropped since last week, when 56% of likely Biden voters said they were voting for Biden primarily because they support the former Vice President. It remains to be seen what impact Biden’s return to the campaign trail will have in regard to enthusiasm for his campaign.

The same proportion of Trump supporters this week (81%) as last week and a fortnight ago say they are voting for Trump primarily because they support him, rather than because they oppose Biden. Across several weeks, the overwhelming majority of Trump’s likely voters have highlighted that their support for the incumbent President derives from supporting Trump rather than from opposing Biden. 

At this stage, 36% believe that Biden is more likely to win the election in November, while 35% think Trump is more likely to win, a difference which lies within the margin of error of this poll.The gap has narrowed slightly compared to last week, when 37% considered that Biden was more likely to win, whereas 34% thought Trump was more likely to win. A fortnight ago, 40% thought Biden was most likely to win and 31% believed Trump was most likely to win. Overall, as November 3 draws closer, the US public are increasingly divided on who they believe will win as Biden’s momentum appears to be dwindling.

Despite the President’s voting intention gains this week, his approval rating declined by 4%, and it now stands at net -7% approval. Our poll found that 41% approve and 48% disapprove of the President’s overall job performance since taking office. Although 7% those who voted for Trump in 2016 say that they disapprove of his job performance, this figure is down from 10% last week. On the other hand, 8% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 now say that they approve of the President’s overall job performance, compared to 13% last week

Trump’s approval rating is lower than our last several polls, when it had stabilised around the -5% to -3% level. Nevertheless, the President’s approval rating remains higher than in June, when it stood at -11%.

Coronavirus and Economic Recovery

The President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be a key reason why he continues to trail Biden in our poll. A clear majority (61%) of the US public believe that the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic has so far spread within the United States could have been avoided, while 39% think this spread was inevitable. Notably, 38% of those likely to vote for Trump in 2020 say the spread of the pandemic could have been avoided, while the overwhelming majority (78%) of Biden voters hold this view.

Although the public generally considers the President’s management of the public health crisis to have been inadequate, the public is evenly divided on whether the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic were avoidable. 44% of respondents believe that President Donald Trump is to blame for the damage to the US economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while 42% believe the President is not to blame. Our latest result mirrors recent findings: a week ago, an equal proportion considered that the President was to blame (44%) or not to blame (44%), while two weeks ago 45% considered him at fault in comparison to 42% who said he was not to blame.

A slight plurality (41%) continue to believe that Biden is more likely to lead a strong economic recovery rather than Trump (38%). Although this result is the same as last week, Biden’s lead in relation to this question is 4% lower than a fortnight ago.

Overall, Biden continues to hold a considerable 8% lead over Trump in this week’s poll, although Trump has closed the gap by 2% in the wake of the Republican National Convention. In contrast to last week, likely Trump voters are now more certain than likely Biden voters that they will vote. Enthusiasm for Biden’s candidacy has also dropped somewhat, whereas Trump continues to maintain strong enthusiasm amongst his voter base. Our weekly polling will continue to monitor how voting intention evolves as Election Day approaches.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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[1] Data were weighted to the profile of adults (18+) in the United States. Data were weighted by age, gender, region, ethnicity/race, education level and 2016 Presidential Election Vote. Targets for each weighting were derived from the official estimates of the United States Census and the results of the 2016 Presidential Election.

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