Today's Biden vs. Trump poll finds support for President Donald Trump hitting a new high, just a hair below his 2016 vote share. The race against former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have gotten much tighter since the Oct. 12 launch of IBD/TIPP's daily presidential poll. Republican voters have come home, while Democrats have strayed, but Biden retains an edge among independent voters, IBD/TIPP shows.
The latest Biden vs. Trump poll update shows the Democratic challenger leading the Republican incumbent by 2.5 points, 48.5%-46%, in a four-way presidential poll of likely voters. Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen has the support of 2.6%, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins 0.7%.
2020 Presidential Poll Trend: Four-Way Race
Since the IBD/TIPP 2020 Presidential Election Tracking Poll launched Oct. 12, Biden's support has slipped 3.4 points, from 51.9%. Trump poll numbers have gone the other way, rising 2.6 points to his new high-water mark of 46%. That's just one-tenth of a point below his 46.1% 2016 vote share. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.1 points.
Biden's lead peaked at 8.6 points in IBD/TIPP's Oct. 13 presidential poll. The race's tightest point came on Tuesday, Oct. 20, when Biden led by 2.3 points.
Biden's narrower support reflects Trump's gain, along with more voters who are undecided or decline to say whom they support.
Head-To-Head Biden Vs Trump Poll
In a head-to-head Biden vs. Trump poll, the Democratic nominee leads by 1.8 points, 48.7%-46.9%, his smallest lead to date.
Biden's support has slipped 4 points since Oct. 12 in the one-on-one matchup, while Trump's support is up 4.6 points.
Biden's head-to-head lead is slightly narrower because Trump sheds a bit more support to the Libertarian candidate in a four-way race.
2020 Presidential Poll: Party Breakdown
Joe Biden's lead among likely independent voters held at 45%-41% in IBD/TIPP's latest 2020 presidential poll update. Yet up until Tuesday's Biden vs. Trump poll, the Democratic nominee's lead among this swing group had ranged from 6 points to double digits.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is now having an easier time corralling Republicans than Biden is having in nailing down Democratic votes. Biden leads 91%-7% among Democrats. Trump leads 93%-5% among Republicans.
Trump Poll Comeback May Reflect Issue Focus
Recent presidential elections have been fought mainly over which candidate's economic policies are better. This year features a broader issue landscape, with a once-in-a-century pandemic, nationwide protests against racial injustice and a Supreme Court nomination that promises a major ideological shift.
The latest IBD/TIPP presidential poll finds that the single most-important issue for voters is the economy (named by 32% of likely voters), followed by the coronavirus response (19%), health care (13%), law and order (12%), race relations (9%) and the Supreme Court (6%).
There's a clear divide between Biden and Trump voters over which set of issues matter most, notes TIPP President Raghavan Mayur.
Voters selecting the economy as the top issue back Trump, 57%-17%. Trump also leads among voters most concerned about law and order (68%-14%) and the Supreme Court (58%-23%).
Biden leads among voters most concerned about the coronavirus response (70%-12%), health care (54%-21%) and race relations (74%-6%).
"The number of voters who think Trump issues (economy, law and order, and Supreme Court) are important exceeds those who think Biden issues are important (COVID, health care, and race relations)," Mayur said.
The IBD/TIPP presidential poll shows that voters' priorities have shifted over the past 10 days. Now Trump issues are the No. 1 issue for 50% of voters, while Biden issues are the top concern of 41% of voters. On Oct. 12, that split was 47% Trump issues and 44% Biden issues.
That shift "is propelling the change" in the Trump vs. Biden race, Mayur believes.
2016 Voters In 2020 Election
Still, the latest Biden vs. Trump poll continues to highlight what could be a big problem for the president: wayward 2016 Trump voters. Among people who voted for Trump in 2016, 7.5% say they now support Biden while 90% say they'll back him again. Biden does better among Hillary Clinton voters: Just 3% say they support Trump, while 94% back the former vice president.
In addition to faring better among 2016 Trump and Clinton voters, Biden gets more support than Trump among 2016 third-party voters (35%-30%) and nonvoters (59%-31%).
2020 Election Poll: Shades Of 2016?
In 2016, almost all presidential polls pointed to a Hillary Clinton victory over Donald Trump. The IBD/TIPP Poll was one of only two election polls credited with predicting President Trump's 2016 surprise showing. TIPP, IBD's polling partner, succeeded in picking up on the greater enthusiasm among Republicans for their candidate. Likewise, the IBD/TIPP Poll correctly predicted that President Obama would outperform expectations in 2012.
IBD/TIPP's latest Biden vs. Trump poll margin of +2.5 points for the Democrat makes it even more of an outlier than in 2016. The RealClearPolitics average of 2020 presidential polls shows that Biden's lead has grown from 6.6 points before the first debate and Trump's coronavirus case to 8.5 points currently.
The latest IBD/TIPP Trump vs. Biden poll has some similarities with the Trump vs. Clinton race. Republicans again seem more excited about their candidate. However, Biden's 4-point lead among independents in the IBD/TIPP 2020 election poll is one important contrast from 2016. Trump carried independents 43%-42% in 2016, according to a postelection Pew Research survey of verified voters.
Seniors and suburban voters helped lift Trump to victory in 2016. Yet the latest IBD/TIPP Trump vs. Biden poll shows the Democrat winning both groups, though his lead among seniors has slipped.
Unless Trump reverses his weakness among those groups, he'll need a somewhat different formula for winning in 2020. Yet events could still reshape the race. The Oct. 22 debate, a coronavirus resurgence as well as progress toward a medical breakthrough, the Supreme Court nomination fight and the fate of fiscal stimulus negotiations could all change minds during the last two weeks of the Trump vs. Biden race. The unprecedented level of mail-in voting, which brings the potential for disqualified ballots, is a wild card.
Trump's Electoral College victory in 2016 came despite losing the popular vote by 2.1% — not much smaller than his current 2.5-point deficit in the new IBD/TIPP presidential poll. No candidate has won the presidency with a bigger popular vote deficit since 1874, when Rutherford B. Hayes lost by 3%.
If state polls are correct, Biden may be cutting into Trump's 2016 advantage in red states like Texas and Ohio. That could make the popular vote even less of a predictor than it was in 2016.
Biden Vs Trump Poll: Suburbs Back Challenger
Urban voters prefer Biden by a 25-point margin, the IBD/TIPP 2020 election poll update finds. Rural voters back Trump by a 26-point margin. That's similar to 2016's divide.
Yet the suburbs may be the big difference this year. The IBD/TIPP presidential poll shows suburban voters back Biden vs. Trump, 51% to 43%. By comparison, exit polls from 2016 show Trump won the suburbs, 50%-45%.
That explains why Trump made a blunt appeal to suburban voters — particularly suburban women — while campaigning in Pennsylvania last week. "Suburban women, will you please like me? Please. Please. I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?"
Trump was referring to a fair-housing regulation adopted by President Obama's administration and later rolled back by Trump. The rule altered criteria for awarding federal funds to overcome historic patterns of segregation.
Seniors Are Key Swing Group In 2020 Presidential Poll
Senior citizens are another key group Trump carried in 2016 that have swung toward Biden, but the gap has narrowed. Seniors back the former vice president, 49%-46.5%, in IBD/TIPP's latest Biden vs. Trump poll, but his lead had been in double digits. Trump won among senior citizens in 2016, 53%-44%, Pew says.
Meanwhile, Biden is leading Trump among voters age 18-44, 54%-38%, in the IBD/TIPP presidential poll update. Trump leads 53%-43% among voters 45-64.
President Trump is trying to shore up support among seniors, who are far more susceptible to the coronavirus and who have been critical of his handling of the pandemic. After his release from the hospital, Trump pledged that he would provide free access to the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) antibody drug that he credits with restoring him to full health. The Trump administration also is getting ready to send out drug cards worth $200 to tens of millions of seniors.
More 2020 Election Poll Demographics
The IBD/TIPP 2020 election poll shows Trump winning among men, 52%-43.5%, a bit more narrowly than his 11-point advantage in 2016.
Women favor the Democrat by 53%-41% in the latest Biden vs. Trump poll update, a bit narrower than Trump's 15-point deficit among women in 2016.
White voters favor Trump by 12 points, but they backed him by a 15-point margin in 2016, the IBD/TIPP 2020 presidential poll update finds.
Black voters back Biden, 88%-9%, in today's presidential poll update. That's slightly narrower than Clinton's 85-point advantage in 2016. Meanwhile, Trump trails Biden among Hispanics, 30%-64% in the latest IBD/TIPP 2020 election poll. In 2016, Trump lost among Hispanic voters, 28%-66%.
More data on the income, religion and education of voters in the Biden vs. Trump poll can be found at the main IBD/TIPP tracking poll page.
Biden Vs Trump Poll: Investors Break With Trump
Self-described investors, with at least $10,000 in household-owned stocks or mutual funds, favor Biden, 52%-43%. The final 2016 IBD/TIPP presidential poll showed Trump winning the group, 48%-42%.
Yet the latest Trump vs. Biden poll update shows the president now leads among noninvestors, 49%-45%. Earlier IBD/TIPP presidential poll updates showed Biden dominating that group. Relatedly, IBD/TIPP now shows Trump with a 16-point advantage among voters with incomes of $30,000-$50,000, a group Biden had led by a double-digit margin.
Regardless of their own voting preferences, investors seem to be warming to a Biden presidency and potential Democratic sweep. That would likely mean higher corporate taxes and higher taxes on investment gains. Yet this month's stock market rally has come as a Biden victory had looked likely. Wall Street may be more hopeful that an extended court fight over the election's outcome may be avoided. The 2000 recount coincided with a stock market pullback of nearly 10%, though that was during the 2000-2002 bear market. Investors also are assuming that a Democratic boost in federal spending will offset any near-term downside from tax hikes and more regulation.
So far, Wall Street seems to be ignoring Trump's warning that stocks would face a reckoning under Biden. Trump tweeted last week, "Remember, Stock Market at an All Time High, and going up. 401k's at RECORD. With Sleepy Joe comes Tax Increases, jobs losses and DEPRESSION like never seen before!!! VOTE!!!"
Biden Vs Trump Poll: Whose Voters Are More Committed?
How secure is Joe Biden's advantage over Donald Trump? A number of questions in the IBD/TIPP Trump vs. Biden poll try to tease that out.
President Trump has a clear advantage when it comes to voters' intensity of support. Among those who intend to vote for Trump, 75% back him strongly, vs. 69% among intended Biden voters.
The IBD/TIPP presidential poll finds that 11% of likely voters say they're at least somewhat likely to change their mind before Election Day. Among Trump backers, 12% say they may change their mind, while 11% of Biden voters are still up for grabs.
Despite Biden's 2020 election poll lead, just 39% of voters expect him to win, while 38% think Trump will prevail. Meanwhile, 49% think most of their neighbors will vote for Trump, and just 36% think their neighbors will mostly back Biden. The big difference comes from rural areas, where 74% say their neighbors back Trump.
So far, 42% of Biden voters say they've already voted, vs. 14% of Trump voters. Only 34% of Biden supporters plan to vote on Election Day, but 65% of Trump backers plan to do so.
IBD/TIPP 2020 Election Poll Details
The daily update of the IBD/TIPP 2020 election poll reflects a survey of 1,162 registered and 1,016 likely voters, from Oct. 16 through Oct. 120. The weighted party split of likely voters includes 375 Democrats, 340 Republicans and 289 independents.
The Biden vs. Trump poll likely voter sample has a credibility interval of +/- 3.2 percentage points. IBD's polling partner TechnoMetrica applies a multimodal approach using "traditional" telephone methodology, with live interviewers supplemented by online surveys. Each day approximately 200 interviews with registered voters are conducted, of which 125 are from telephone and 75 from online. In the telephone sample, roughly 65% of interviews come from a cellphone sample and 35% from a landline sample.
Please follow Jed Graham on Twitter @IBD_JGraham for coverage of economic policy and financial markets.