“This survey is measuring the popular vote and should not be used to project which candidate will win the electoral college,” Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling cautioned.
In the survey of likely voters, respondents were asked who they would cast their ballot for. 50% said Joe Biden, 45% said Donald Trump, 2% said someone else, and 2% remain undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Voters were asked who they expect to win the presidential election, regardless of which candidate they plan to vote for. 42% expect Trump to win, with 41% expecting Biden to win, and 17% uncertain.
Biden leads among suburban voters polled 54% to 40% and urban voters polled, 55% to 42%. Trump maintains a strong lead with rural voters 59% to 34%.
Emerson College notes the race has remained stable in polling since June, with Biden consistently leading Trump by a margin ranging from two to five points. Biden’s strongest number came in October’s poll at 50%.
In the September NewsNation/Emerson College national poll, Biden had a slight lead over Trump with 48% planning to vote for the former VP and 44% planning to vote for the president.
A majority of voters polled (51%) disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president. 45% approve, and 4% say they are neutral.
Most important issues
On the issues, 31% of respondents said the economy was the most important issue in deciding which candidate would receive their vote, followed by COVID-19 response (22%), social justice (15%) and healthcare (11%), with climate change at 9% and the Supreme Court with 3%. 8% said something else.
Among Trump voters polled, 53% chose the economy as the most important issue. Biden voters were more split, with COVID-19 response leading as the most important issue at 30%, followed by healthcare (17%), social justice (16%) and climate change (16%).
When it comes to voting in the November election, 45% polled said they have already voted. Nearly 22% say they intend to vote early by mail or in person, and 33% intend to vote in person on Election Day.
How the NewsNation/Emerson poll was conducted
The October National Emerson College/NewsNation poll was conducted October 25-26, 2020. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=1,121, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race and region based on 2016 voter turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=403) and an online panel (n=718).
The perception of political polling took a hit after polls in 2016 overestimated support for Hillary Clinton. As a result, much of the country was surprised when Donald Trump won the election.