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Biden widens lead over Trump after debate, virus diagnosis — CNN poll

Former vice president expands his advantage to 16 points in national survey, with 57% to the incumbent’s 41%

Supporters listen as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ends his speech at the Pittsburgh train station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 30, 2020, during a train campaign tour (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)
Supporters listen as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ends his speech at the Pittsburgh train station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 30, 2020, during a train campaign tour (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)

Former US vice president Joe Biden has gained support and is enjoying his widest lead yet over US President Donald Trump, in the wake of the first presidential debate and the president’s coronavirus diagnosis, according to a CNN/SSRS poll published Tuesday.

The survey indicated that with just 28 days to go before the US elections, Joe Biden was supported by 57 percent of Americans who are likely to vote, with the incumbent president trailing far behind at 41%.

CNN noted that the deciding factor in US elections is the electoral college — and thus the results in key swing states, rather than the popular vote. It stressed that Biden’s lead in swing states is smaller than the national average displayed in the survey.

However, most poll watchers agree that a popular vote win of five points or more would all but guarantee Biden an electoral college victory as well. Currently, poll analysis site FiveThirtyEight has Biden at an average 8.1-point lead nationally, while aggregator RealClearPolitics has him at 9.2 points.

The poll, conducted October 1-4 among 1,205 participants, found that Biden is more popular on some key issues for voters, including handling the coronavirus outbreak (59% prefer Biden, 38% Trump), health care (59% to 39%), racial inequality in the US (62% to 36%), Supreme Court nominations (57% to 41%) and crime and safety (50% to 48%).

Biden has also enjoyed a clear lead in approval ratings, with 52% having a positive view of the former vice president compared to 39% for the incumbent president.

Voters saw Biden as more likely to unite the country (61% to 33%), as more honest (58% to 38%), and as the one who has a clear plan for the country’s problems (55% to 39%). Biden is also seen as better able to keep Americans safe than Trump (55% to 43%).

The poll suggested that Biden’s numbers had improved since the debate, and identified it as a large part of the popularity boost: The majority of people who reported having watched the debate (57%) said Biden did the best job, with only 26% saying Trump did. Meanwhile 14% said that neither did well.

US President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, on September 29, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

When asked if they would take a low-cost coronavirus vaccine if it became available, just over half of respondents (51%) said they would take it, with 45% saying they would not.

The poll was conducted after the first presidential debate and mostly after the president’s coronavirus diagnosis was announced. It was conducted by an independent research company with a sample size of 1,205 adults interviewed via telephone with a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

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