The new Quinnipiac University poll (9/10-14; 1,183 ME likely voters; live interview) finds former Vice President Joe Biden posting a huge 21-point lead over President Trump, 59-38%. The data finds the President would even lose the 2nd Congressional District, which would provide him an important extra electoral vote. In ME-2, Mr. Trump would trail Mr. Biden, 53-44%. No other Maine survey has returned numbers as stark as these. Therefore, we can expect to see more polling being conducted here in order to confirm this trend or provide a different result.
Minnesota is again attracting more polling attention, this time from ABC News/Washington Post. While the Land of 10,000 Lakes has been polling much closer lately, the ABC/WP survey (9/8-13; 615 MN likely voters; live interview) finds former Vice President Joe Biden opening up a much larger 57-41% lead over President Trump. This is inconsistent with other recent data (five polls) that found the margin ranging from four to nine points.
It’s also seemingly at odds with ABC/WP’s own findings in next door Wisconsin. The survey there (9/8-13; 605 WI likely voters; live interview) gives Mr. Biden a six-point, 52-46% lead, which is consistent with other polling.
The New York Times/Siena College survey partnership is back after having a successful 2018 election cycle in predicting election outcomes. The FiveThirtyEight statistical organization rates the NYT/SC as one of the top six polling entities in the country with an A+ rating.
Looking at the Minnesota race where recent polling has suggested a tightening of the presidential contest within the state, NYT/Siena (9/8-10; 814 MN likely voters; live interview) sees Joe Biden holding a stronger lead over President Trump than other current data. Here, the Biden margin is 50-41 percent. Even with this spread, the volatility seen here suggests we will see further competition in the closing weeks.
The New York Times/Siena College polling series also looked at New Hampshire (9/8-11; 445 NH likely voters; live interview) where a tight race again appears to be unfolding that looks potentially similar to what we witnessed in 2016. In that election year, Hillary Clinton carried the state by just 2,738 votes (46.8 – 46.5%) from 744,296 ballots cast. According to the NYT/SC results, former Vice President Joe Biden maintains only a three-point, 45-42%, edge over President Trump.
The AARP organization commissioned a series of Democratic and Republican polling firms to test key states for the upcoming presidential and US Senate contests. Like other recent pollsters, the Benenson Strategy Group (D)/GS Strategy Group (R) pairing found tightening ballot test results in three key states: Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Testing 1,600 likely voters via live interviews during the August 30th thru September 5th period, the AARP team found Joe Biden leading in all three of the critical swing states, but in margins well within the polling error factor. The Biden leads were 1, 2, and 3 points in Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania, respectively.
Pollsters are active across the country in testing political campaigns and seem to be routinely delivering starkly different results for the same contests over a similar time frame. We have four such examples in Senate races.
Three different pollsters tested the Arizona Senate race between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D). While the three polling firms active during the first week of September all find Mr. Kelly leading, the point spread ranges from six all the way to 17 points. The high pollster for Kelly is Fox News (8/29-9/1; 772 AZ likely voters) and the six-point low is Democratic pollster Change Research (9/4-6; 470 AZ likely voters).
Four pollsters were testing Michigan in early September, and the spread here ranges from a one-point deficit for Republican businessman John James opposite Sen. Gary Peters (D) to a dozen percentage points. Here, the most favorable James pollster is the Republican Tarrance Group (9/1-3; 569 MI registered voters) and the strongest Sen. Peters’ survey comes from the London, England based Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 967 MI likely voters).
The Minnesota race between Sen. Tina Smith (D) and former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is attracting more attention. Three survey research firms were conducting polls in early September and found Sen. Smith’s advantage extending between two and eleven points. The high Smith poll came from Survey USA (9/4-7; 553 MN likely voters) and the best for Mr. Lewis is from Republican Harper Polling (8/30-9/1; 501 MN likely voters).
North Carolinians are regularly polled, and the beginning of September is no exception. Again, brandishing wide ranges, seven surveys and/or iterations within such were conducted during the same time frame, and the margin stretches between an even race for Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Senator Cal Cunningham (D) to a ten-point spread. The even poll came from Monmouth University’s (8/29-9/1; 401 NC likely voters) low turnout model (but the high turnout model suggested only a two-point difference), while the high spike came for Mr. Cunningham from Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 951 NC likely voters).
A number of polls were conducted over the Labor Day period and we generally see a closing of the presidential race. In Florida, NBC News/Marist College (8/31-9/6; 1,047 FL registered voters; 766 likely voters; live interview) discovers President Trump forging ahead to record a one-point, 48-47%, edge among registered voters, while he and former Vice President Joe Biden are tied at 48% among likely voters.
Turning to another swing state, Michigan, the Glengariff Group (9/1-3; 600 MI likely voters) finds Mr. Biden leading 47-42%, which is a closer spread than seen in most current surveys. The latest three polls from the international research firm Redfield & Wilton Strategies, Hodas & Associates, and Morning Consult, all of which conducted studies between August 11th and September 3rd, projected Mr. Biden to leads of 11, 11, and 10 points, respectively.
A pair of new Pennsylvania surveys also see the contest closing. Redfield & Wilton Strategies, the London, England based firm (8/30-9/3; 1,053 PA likely voters; online), found a five-point spread, with Mr. Biden up 47-42%. Local Pennsylvania research firm Susquehanna Polling & Research (8/26-9/4; 498 PA likely voters; live interview) sees the margin between the two national candidates dropping to two points, 44-42%, again in Mr. Biden’s favor.
Still closing, but in a reversed manner, We Ask America (9/1-3; 500 MO likely voters; live interview) projects that President Trump’s Missouri advantage over Mr. Biden is dropping to five percentage points, 49-45%. This, while the same sampling universe detects an expanding margin for Gov. Mike Parson (R) in his election battle with State Auditor Nicole Galloway. That contest is breaking 54-41% in Mr. Parson’s favor.
As is seemingly typical in North Carolina campaign years, polling in the Tar Heel State appears inconsistent. Again, we see two pollsters simultaneously in the field arriving at much different results. Fox News released their latest NC survey (8/29-9/1; 722 NC likely voters) that projects Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham leading Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, 48-42%. Conversely, East Carolina University, in the field during the same period (8/29-30; 1,101 NC likely voters), forecasts a 44-44% tie in the Senate race.
Presidential numbers are also diverse. Fox finds Joe Biden leading President Trump, 50-46%, while ECU sees a 49-47% Trump edge. The result diversity is another indication that the North Carolina presidential race is a toss-up, and that Mr. Cunningham likely enjoys a slight lead in the Senate campaign. Both races, however, should be considered within the polling margin of error.
Public Policy Polling again surveyed the Michigan electorate and this time found an unusual pattern. While other pollsters are seeing the Senate race again tighten, PPP’s latest survey (8/28-29; 897 MI voters) finds Sen. Gary Peters (D) leading manufacturing company business owner John James, 47-39%, but the same sample favors Joe Biden over President Trump by just a 48-44% split. Recently, Mr. James has been faring better than President Trump in the Michigan ballot test polls.
Last October, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the entire series schedule for both the presidential and vice-presidential forums and the details have only slightly changed. Because of the COVID crowd restrictions, the University of Notre Dame declined to host the first forum, which has been re-located to Case Western University in Cleveland but remains on Tuesday, September 29th. The lone Vice Presidential debate then follows on Wednesday, October 7th. We return to the presidential debate series on Thursday, October 15th, with the finale a week later on October 22nd.
The Vice Presidential forum will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The October 15th session is scheduled for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and will be a town hall format. The final session, on October 22nd, will originate from Belmont University in Nashville. All of the forums will consume 90 minutes and begin at 9 pm Eastern time. Aside from the Miami town hall, the debate format will cover specific topics over pre-determined time segments. The chosen moderator will choose the topics, but the subjects will be publicly released several days before each session commences.
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