Latest USA Voting Intention
(October 10)

October 14, 2020
Approval Rating | Donald Trump | Electoral Process | Joe Biden | Kamala Harris | Mike Pence | Postal Voting | US Presidential Election 2020 | Voting Intention
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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest weekly national voting intention poll in the US finds Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 8% in the race for the Presidency, the same result as last week. Donald Trump’s release from hospital, his return to campaigning, and the Vice Presidential debate appear to have had no immediate impact on the race. At this stage, 49% of voters think they will vote for Joe Biden––a decrease of one percentage point from last week­­––whereas support for Donald Trump has also dropped by one point to 41%. The proportion of undecided voters rose by one point to 7%, although all of these changes lie within the margin of error of the poll. Altogether, our latest results are as follows:

Joseph R. Biden (Democrat) 49% (-1)

Donald J. Trump (Republican) 41% (-1)

Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) 1% (–)

Howie Hawkins (Green) 1% (–)

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

Don’t Know 7% (+1)

Likelihood to vote declined compared to last week, when a total of 73% of respondents said they would certainly vote or had already voted. Currently, 56% say they are certain they will vote, while an additional 14% say they have already voted, adding up to a total of 70% (three points lower than last week). 79% of likely Donald Trump voters say they will certainly vote or have already voted, while 83% of likely Joe Biden voters say they are certain to vote or have already voted. Over a fifth (22%) of those who say they will vote for Joe Biden say they have already voted, compared to just 9% of likely Donald Trump voters.

The Debates

This week’s national poll was conducted shortly following the Vice Presidential Debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. 62% said that they watched the debate, while 38% did not watch the debate.

A fifth (20%) of the public believed Mike Pence and Kamala Harris each delivered a 10 out of 10 performance at the debate. Overall, 41% said the Vice President’s performance was 8 out of 10 or better, while 48% considered Kamala Harris’ performance to be 8 out of 10 or higher. Likely Trump voters were somewhat more likely to highly rate Mike Pence’s performance than likely Biden voters with respect to Kamala Harris’ performance.

Donald Trump’s admission into hospital and the respective ages of both the Presidential candidates has raised questions of whether the Vice Presidential candidates may have to take over Presidential duties at some stage during the next four years. Altogether, 53% of those who watched the debates picked, based on what they saw, Kamala Harris as the candidate who is best prepared to serve as President in the future. 40%, meanwhile, picked Mike Pence. 57% of female respondents picked Kamala Harris, whereas just 37% chose Mike Pence. Half (50%) of male respondents believe Kamala Harris is best prepared, while 43% think Mike Pence is.

The Commission on Presidential Debates cancelled the second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden after the President declined to engage in a virtual debate. However, a clear majority (55%) approved of the decision of the Committee on Presidential Debates to switch the next Presidential debate to a virtual format. Significantly, likely Donald Trump voters were evenly split on whether they approved (35%) or disapproved (37%) of the Committee’s decision, despite the President saying that he was “not going to waste my time on a virtual debate.” Ultimately, a substantial proportion of the President’s usually loyal base may have been disappointed with his decision to withdraw.

The Presidential Debate in Nashville on October 22nd is likely to be the final meeting between the candidates. At this stage, 60% say they will watch the remaining Presidential Debates, while around a quarter (24%) will not. 16% don’t know.

Meanwhile, following a suggestion made by Tim Kennedy earlier this month that podcaster Joe Rogan should moderate an additional 4-hour debate, 40% of respondents said they would be supportive. 19% said they would oppose such an addition.

Likely Trump voters were more likely to be supportive (52%) than likely Biden voters (35%), but both groups are more supportive than opposed to the idea.

The Enthusiasm Gap

The proportion of likely Donald Trump voters who say they feel “very enthusiastic” about voting for the incumbent President rose by one point from 56% to 57%, Meanwhile, the proportion of likely Joe Biden voters who say they feel “very enthusiastic” about voting for the Democratic candidate also increased slightly by one point to 49%. The “enthusiasm gap” therefore remains at the same level as last week.

Electoral Process

Overall, just 36% now intend to cast their vote in person on Election Day, which is 4% lower than a week ago. Currently, 20% intend to vote (or have already voted) in person prior to Election Day, the same result as last week. Meanwhile, 38% will vote by mail (or have done already), an increase of one point compared to last week, and within the margin of error of this poll. 5% are yet to decide by what means they will vote, an increase of 1% since last week.

The proportion of likely Donald Trump voters who will vote in person on Election Day has declined by a further two points to 53%. The proportion of Joe Biden voters who will vote in person on Election Day has declined by four points to 26%. A majority (51%) of likely Joe Biden voters now say they will vote by mail, compared to less than a quarter (24%) of likely Donald Trump voters.

At this stage, 69% of those who intend to vote by mail have received a ballot, an increase of sixteen points since last week. 40% of those who will vote by mail have sent a completed and signed ballot to their county’s Board of Elections, while a further 29% have received their ballot and are yet to complete it or send it to their county’s Board of Elections.Less than a fifth (18%) have requested their ballot but have not yet received it in the mail. Significantly, 13% of those who intend to vote by mail have not yet requested their ballot, despite the proximity to absentee ballot deadlines.

Due to the logistical complexity of mail-in ballots and the discrepancy in how likely Donald Trump voters and likely Joe Biden voters intend to vote, it is very possible that the election result will not be known for some time after the Election Day on November 3rd. A majority (53%) of likely Joe Biden voters and almost half (49%) of likely Donald Trump voters believe that their favoured candidate should wait to see how the situation develops, even if it does appear that they are losing or that they have lost the election. Only around a fifth (18-20%) say Joe Biden or Donald Trump should concede the election in these circumstances. Donald Trump voters (25%) are only somewhat more likely to favour their candidate calling for a recount of votes than voters for Joe Biden (19%).

However, a majority (51%) of all respondents disagree that Donald Trump will concede the election if it appears that he has lost narrowly. Only 21% think Donald Trump will concede, while 20% neither agree nor disagree. A plurality (45%) of likely Donald Trump supporters disagree that he will concede, while a strong majority (65%) of Joe Biden voters also hold this view.

A significantly lower proportion (33%) of respondents disagree that Joe Biden will concede the election if it appears that he has lost narrowly. 40% of likely Donald Trump voters disagree that Joe Biden will concede, while just 31% of likely Joe Biden voters disagree. 29% agree that Joe Biden will concede if it appears that he has lost, and 28% neither agree nor disagree.

With the election less than a month away, an increasing proportion of respondents believe that Joe Biden is more likely to win. 39% now say Joe Biden is more likely to emerge as the winner, a rise of three points since last week, whereas only 31% now think Donald Trump will win, a decrease of two points. A further 14% say the candidates are equally likely to win, while 17% don’t know.

Key Policy Areas

At this stage, 60% of Americans say the economy or healthcare are the key policy areas which is most likely to determine how they will vote next month. Around a third (34%) say that the economy is the policy area which is most likely to determine how they vote in the November Presidential Election, while healthcare is the most important electoral issue for 26%.

While respondents were equally divided on this measurable last week, a clear plurality (42%) now believe that Joe Biden is more likely to lead a strong economic recovery (an increase of three points compared to last week), while 37% consider that Donald Trump is (a decrease of two points compared to last week).

The Democratic nominee also holds a strong lead as the candidate to do the most to end the coronavirus pandemic. 43% of respondents continue to say Joe Biden will do the most to see an end to the crisis, against 32% saying President Trump will do so. 11%, meanwhile, said the two candidates are equally likely to do the most to end the pandemic.

Overall, Joe Biden’s national lead remains stable with three weeks left until Election Day. The former Vice President’s solid lead is likely based on the fact that voters view him as the candidate who can deliver on the central issue: the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, Donald Trump’s return to in-person rallies around the country may provide a boost to his campaign.

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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