NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results & Analysis: October 2020

Biden Up by 11 Points Nationally

Former Vice President Joe Biden (54%) leads President Donald Trump (43%) by double digits among likely voters nationally including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who already voted. Biden (52%) was ahead of Trump (43%) by 9 points among likely voters in mid-September.

National Presidential Tossup
If November's election for president were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are: [If undecided: If you had to decide today, are you leaning more towards:][If already voted: Whom did you support in the presidential election?]
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Likely Voters. Interviews conducted Oct. 8th – Oct. 13th, 2020, n=896 MOE +/- 3.8%
  • Biden has the advantage among Blacks likely to vote, Latinos, white voters with a college degree, women overall, and likely voters in cities and their suburbs.

  • Trump runs strongly among likely voters who are white evangelical Christians, live in rural areas, and those white voters without a college degree.

  • Trump’s advantage over Biden among likely voters who are white without a college degree has decreased 19 points since last month.

  • Whites who are likely to vote, white women without a college degree, voters age 30 to 44, men, and likely voters in small towns divide.

  • Five percent of voters are persuadable, that is, voters who are undecided or who support a candidate but might vote differently.

80% of likely voters with a candidate preference strongly support their choice of candidate. Among Trump’s supporters, 87% express a firm commitment to him. This compares with 74% of Biden’s backers who strongly support him.

“‘It is what it is’ continues to trail ‘here’s the deal’ in the popular vote by a wide margin,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Trump needs to change the trajectory of this race and he needs to do it soon.”

President Trump’s job approval rating stands at 41% among Americans, little changed from September. This includes 28% of Americans who strongly approve of how Trump is doing his job. 53% of Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance, including 43% who strongly disapprove.

Americans divide about President Trump’s handling of the economy. 47% approve, and 46% disapprove. Previously, President Trump received a 49% approval rating on the economy with 45% reporting that they disapproved of his approach. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is underwater. 38% of Americans approve of how he has dealt with the pandemic, and nearly six in ten (59%) disapprove. This is similar to September’s findings when 40% approved of how Trump was handling the issue, and 56% disapproved.

Likely voters divide about whether Trump or Biden would better handle the economy. Majorities of likely voters consider Biden to be the candidate who can better handle coronavirus and race relations.

Candidate Who Would Better Handle the Issues

Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Likely Voters. Interviews conducted Oct. 8th – Oct. 13th, 2020, n=896 MOE +/- 3.8%

A slim majority of Americans (51%), including 52% of likely voters, consider the Trump Presidency to be a failure. 44% view it as a success. At least a majority of Republicans, whites without a college education – especially white men without a college degree – men overall, white evangelical Christians, and those living in rural areas consider the Trump Administration to be a success.

 

Other Findings

Dissecting the Debates

A majority of Americans (51%) think the Biden/Harris campaign benefitted more from their performances in the debates than the Trump/Pence campaign (33%). Republicans (72%) and white evangelical Christians (56%) are the only demographic groups where majorities say the Trump/Pence campaign received the bigger boost.

Voter Intimidation and Interference

Nearly two in three Americans (65%) think there will be many or some attempts to intimidate or prevent legitimate voters from voting this year. This includes 37% who say there will be many attempts made to obstruct the vote. 27% believe there will be only a few or no attempts made to intimidate or prevent voters from casting their ballot.

A majority of Americans (58%) are very confident or confident that the United States Postal Service will deliver election-related mail to voters and election officials in a timely way this year; more than four in ten (41%) are not. There is a wide partisan divide. Confidence in the USPS has slightly increased. Last month, 52% of Americans reported confidence in the USPS to deliver election-related mail in a timely manner. 46%, at that time, had little to no confidence in them to do so.

How do likely voters plan to cast their ballot? A plurality (45%) say they will vote in-person on Election Day. 21% report they will vote at an early voting location, and 32% say they will vote by mail or absentee. Last month, 48% of likely voters reported they would vote in-person on Election Day. 14% said they would vote at an early voting location, and 35% reported they would vote by mail or absentee ballot.

Nearly two in three Trump supporters (65%) say they will vote in-person on Election Day. A plurality of Biden’s backers (43%) report they will cast their ballot by mail or absentee.

Trump has a 27-point lead among likely voters who plan to vote on Election Day. Biden leads by 35 points among those who plan to cast a ballot at an early voter location and by 50 points among those who expect to vote by mail or absentee. Biden (78%) also leads Trump (21%) among those who have already voted.

Information About Coronavirus and President Trump’s Health

Americans continue to perceive the coronavirus as a real threat. 69% of Americans, compared with 71% in August, have this view. 28%, though, think the coronavirus is being blown out of proportion. While most Americans perceive a gravity in the situation, only 34% of residents, relatively unchanged from 33% last month, have a great deal or good amount of trust in the information about the virus they receive from President Trump. Americans also lack trust in the information they receive from the White House about President Trump’s health. 39% of Americans have a great deal or good amount of trust in that information while 59% have not very much or no trust at all in the narrative provided by the White House.

Many Americans (65%), down from 74% in August, think it is a good idea to pass a national mandate to require people to wear a mask in public places. 32%, up from 24%, say it is a bad idea. 90% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 36% of Republicans support a national mandate to require the wearing of masks.

Coronavirus as a Threat

Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted Oct. 8th – Oct. 13th, 2020, n=1397 MOE +/- 3.1%

Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court

A plurality of Americans (44%) support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. 38% oppose it, and 17% are unsure. Most Republicans (91%) support the nomination, and 71% of Democrats oppose it. There is little consensus among independents.

36% of Americans think Barrett should be confirmed immediately. 28% think the Senate should confirm her nomination but wait until after the election, and 29% report Judge Barrett should not be confirmed at all.