President Trump is drawing his weakest voter support of the year in his re-election race following Tuesday’s contentious debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, leads the president, 53% to 39%, among registered voters in the new poll, which was conducted in the two days following the debate but before news emerged that Mr. Trump had tested positive for Covid-19. Mr. Biden’s 14-point lead compares with an 8-point advantage last month and 11 points in July, which was his largest of the campaign at that time.
The survey finds something rare in Journal/NBC News polling: evidence that an individual news event—the debate—is having a material effect on Mr. Trump’s political standing, at least for now. Significant events in the past, such as Mr. Trump’s impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate, had only hardened views of the president, not shifted them.
Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who directed the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt, cautioned that the poll was conducted during an unsettled moment after the caustic presidential debate—“a shock to the system,” he called it—and could reflect a temporary reassessment of views. “The public can be taking a moment to say, ‘What did I just see, and how do I feel about it?'” he said. Mr. Trump could regain ground, Mr. McInturff said, given that “he has a history of bouncing back to some set point.”
Preference for president WSJ/NBC News telephone polls, most recently of800 registered voters conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1,2020; margin of error +/- 3.5 pct. pts.Note: No data for May.
For now, though, the poll represents a number of flashing caution signs for the president. His support has never before fallen below 40% on the ballot against Mr. Biden. Women, who outnumber men in the electorate, favor Mr. Biden in the survey by 27 percentage points, 60% to 33%, compared with 20 points last month. At the same time, support for Mr. Trump has softened among some of his most loyal groups, such as white, working-class men.