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Polls show Biden leading Trump on election eve, but race tightening in key battlegrounds

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
·6-min read

Election Day 2020 is now just hours away. And if the final national and state polls are to be believed, former Vice President Joe Biden is maintaining a modest but distinct lead over President Trump, with national polling advantages as small as 3 points and as large as 12 points — and all of them outside the margins of error.

• Biden +10: A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Monday showed Biden with a 10-point lead (53 percent to 43 percent) over Trump among likely voters — a margin that’s more than three times as large as Hillary Clinton’s final polling advantage in 2016. The survey of 1,501 registered U.S. voters, conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

• Biden +10: According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, the former vice president had a 10-point lead (52 percent to 42 percent) over the president. The survey of 1,000 registered U.S. voters, conducted Oct. 28 to Oct. 31, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

• Biden +3: A Rasmussen Reports poll released Friday showed Biden with a 3-point advantage over Trump. The survey of 1,500 likely voters, conducted Oct. 27 to Oct. 29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

• Biden +8: A Fox News poll released over the weekend indicated Biden had an 8-point lead (52 percent to 44 percent) over Trump — slightly smaller than the 10-point advantage the former vice president had in the same Fox News poll last month. The survey of 1,318 registered voters, conducted Oct. 27 to Oct. 29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

• Biden +12: A CNN poll released last week showed Biden with a 12-point lead (54 percent to 42 percent) over Trump. The survey of 1,005 registered voters, conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

• Biden +4: A Hill/Harris X poll released late last week revealed that the Democratic nominee had a 4-point lead (46 percent to 42 percent) over the Republican incumbent. The survey of 2,824 registered voters, conducted Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

• Biden +11: An Economist/YouGov poll released last week showed Biden with an 11-point lead (54 percent to 43 percent) over Trump. The survey of 1,500 registered voters, conducted Oct. 25 to Oct. 27, has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

• Biden +5: An Emerson College poll released last week indicated that the former vice president had a 5-point lead (50 percent to 45 percent) over the president. The survey of 1,121 likely voters, conducted Oct. 25 to Oct. 26, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

• Biden +8: A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released last week showed Biden with an 8-point lead (52 percent to 44 percent) over Trump. The survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 27, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

• Biden +10: A Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week indicated that Biden had a 10-point lead (52 percent to 42 percent) over Trump. The survey of 825 likely voters, conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 27, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

(Photos: Yahoo News; Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Joe Biden and President Trump. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Mark Makela/Getty Images)

On average, Biden leads Trump nationally by about 7 percentage points. Four years ago, Clinton led Trump by 3.2 points right before the election. Clinton wound up winning the national popular vote by 2.1 points, 48.2 percent to 46.1 percent — even as a combined 77,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania put Trump over the top in the Electoral College.

Recent polls in those states and other key battlegrounds, including Florida, Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas, show a tightening race.

Battleground states

• In Michigan, an Emerson College poll released Sunday showed Biden with a 7-point lead (52 percent to 45 percent) over Trump, outside the survey’s 3.9-point margin of error. RealClearPolitics, which calculates the averages of multiple polls, put Biden’s lead at 5.1 points over Trump in Michigan.

• In Wisconsin, another Emerson College poll released Sunday indicated that the former vice president had an 8-point advantage (53 percent to 45 percent) over the president, again outside the survey’s 3.5 percent margin of error.

• In Pennsylvania, a state seen as a key battleground for both candidates, a Monmouth University poll showed Biden with a 7-point lead (51 percent to 44 percent) over Trump, while Rasmussen Reports put Biden’s edge at 4 points. Similarly, the RealClearPolitics average had Biden’s lead at 4.1 points over Trump in the Keystone State.

• In Florida, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Sunday reported that Biden had a 3-point lead (47 percent to 44 percent) over Trump in the Sunshine State, within the survey’s 3.2-point margin of error.

• In Arizona, an Emerson College poll released Sunday showed Biden with a slight 2-point edge (48 percent to 46 percent) over Trump — essentially a toss-up and well within its 3.6-point margin of error.

• In Nevada, a New York Times/Siena College poll released last week disclosed that Biden had a 6-point lead (49 percent to 43 percent) over Trump. But other surveys, including Emerson’s, suggested the race was much tighter.

• In Ohio, an Emerson College poll showed Biden clinging to a 1-point lead (49 percent to 48 percent) over Trump — an edge that is likewise statistically irrelevant, given the survey’s 3.4 percent margin of error.

• In North Carolina, an Emerson College poll indicated that the race is a dead heat, with Biden and Trump each polling at 47 percent.

• In Georgia, where both Trump and Biden held rallies on the final weekend before Election Day, an Emerson College poll found Trump leading Biden by less than a point, 49 percent to 48 percent. But a Monmouth University poll released Sunday showed Biden with a 4-point lead (50 percent to 46 percent) over Trump. The Peach State hasn’t gone blue since 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency.

• In Texas, which hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter 1976, an Emerson College poll found another dead heat, with Trump and Biden tied at 49 percent each.

Trump has largely dismissed public polls that show him trailing as “fake.”

“We are winning BIG in all of the polls that matter,” the president proclaimed on Twitter earlier this month.

Andrew Romano contributed reporting to this story.

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