New National Poll Shows Presidential Race Tightening

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A new Emerson poll conducted just days after the Republican National Convention has Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden by just two points, 49% to 47%. The same poll conducted in July, by comparison, showed Trump trailing Biden by four points, bolstering Republican claims of momentum after a successful convention. Overall, Biden currently leads Trump by 6.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics National Average. 

A particular bright spot for the Trump campaign in the Emerson poll is his support among African-Americans. Trump wins the backing of 19 percent of black voters in the survey. He won just 8 percent of black voters on Election Day in 2016. The RNC featured numerous African-American speakers like former pro-football players Herschel Walker, Jack Brewer and Burgess Owens, as well as Georgia Democrat Vernon Jones, +all testifying to Trump’s character and policies as reasons for their support. 

Another encouraging sign for Trump: his approval rating is up to 49 percent in the current survey, an increase of 4 percentage points since the previous survey in late July, while his disapproval is down to 47 percent. This the first survey to show Trump with a net positive approval rating since early May. 

‘The Republican convention gave Trump his most positive week of news coverage which likely attributes to his bounce in this month’s poll and increasing job approval,”said Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling.

But there are worrisome numbers for the incumbent in the poll as well. Trump is trailing Joe Biden among indpendent voters, 50 to 42. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton among this group of voters – which comprised 31 percent of the electorate – by four percentage points, 46 to 42. 

Those who voted for a third party candidate in 2016 are breaking for Biden by a substantial margin, 59 to 18 percent. And new voters are also leaning in favor of  Biden, 51 to 44 percent. 

The Emerson poll was conducted August 30-31, 2020 among 1,567 likely voters with a margin of error of +/-2.4 percent.

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