The New York Times / Siena College Battleground Polls: Georgia, Iowa, Texas

mail vote covid
  • Georgia: Trump 45% – Biden 45% | Perdue 41% – Ossoff 38%
  • Iowa: Biden 45% – Trump 42% | Greenfield 42% – Ernst 40%
  • Texas: Trump 46% – Biden 43% | Cornyn 43% – Hegar 37%

Loudonville, NY. With 40 days until election day, three states President Donald Trump won in 2016 are all running neck-and-neck. In Texas, Trump leads former Vice President Joe Biden 46-43 percent. In Iowa, Biden leads Trump 45-42 percent. And in Georgia, the two are tied with 45 percent support for each, according to The New York Times/Siena College polls of likely voters in those states released today. In the battle for the U.S. Senate, Republican incumbents David Purdue from Georgia and John Cornyn from Texas hold small leads over their Democratic challengers, while Democrat Therese Greenfield holds a narrow two-point edge over Iowa incumbent Republican Joni Ernst.

“Trump carried Georgia by five points and Texas and Iowa by nine points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. It’s clear that all of three of these states are in play in 2020,” said Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute. “A theme repeated in these three states – and seen in several other recent The New York Times/Siena College battleground state polls – is each candidate holding about nine in ten voters of their party, while independents in all three states are closely divided.

Georgia Voters Evenly Divided Between Trump & Biden; Wide Racial Divide
“While Trump won Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes in 2016 by five points, this traditionally red state – only carried by two Democrats, southerners Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, in the last 50 years – is very much up for grabs,” Levy said. “Each candidate is holding a unified 94 percent of his party, while independents are divided within a point.

“White Georgians support Trump 68-27 percent, while Blacks overwhelmingly back Biden 83-4 percent. However, unlike in several other states – such as Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin – where Biden has a large lead with white voters with a college degree and Trump holds a double-digit lead with white voters without a college degree, in Georgia, Trump has a large lead with white college-educated voters and a massive lead with less educated whites,” Levy said.

“In the regularly scheduled Senate race for the full six-year term, incumbent Republican David Perdue is clinging to a three-point edge, 41-38 percent, over Democrat Jon Ossoff, with a significant 16 percent of voters undecided and another five percent favoring the Libertarian party candidate,” Levy said. “In the special Senate election, for the seat held by Republican Kelly Loeffler, it appears, given the size of the field, it will be very difficult for anyone to obtain the 50 percent needed to win outright. Instead, it seems likely that Georgians will have a runoff between the top two – and the race for those spots is close.”

Iowans Give Biden a Narrow 3-Point Lead, While Ernst Trails Challenger Greenfield by Two Points
“In a state that Trump carried solidly in 2016 – 51-42 percent – he finds himself trailing Biden, albeit by only three points,” Levy said. “Biden, with 95 percent support among Democrats, is doing a slightly better job of holding his base, as Trump has the support of 87 percent of Republicans. Independents give a small four-point edge to Biden.

“Trump leads by eight points with men and Biden leads by 14 points with women. Biden leads by 12 points among whites with a college degree, while Trump only edges Biden by three points among whites without a college degree,” Levy said.

“Six years ago, Ernst won her seat handily – by eight points – but she’s facing a much tighter election this year. Greenfield does a better job holding on to Democrats – 87-2 percent – than Ernst does with Republicans – 80-11 percent – and independents are dead even 35-35 percent,” Levy said. “In this battle of two women candidates, women voters favor Greenfield by 14 points, while men favor Ernst by 11 points.”

Trump & Biden Tied in Texas; Cornyn Leads Democrat Hegar by Six Points
“Trump carried Texas – like every Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Regan in 1980 – four years ago by a comfortable 52-43 percent. This year, Trump is going to have to fight to prevent becoming the first Republican since Gerald Ford to not carry the Lone Star State,” Levy said. “They both hold 90+ percent of their own party and independent lean toward Biden by four points.

“Trump has the support of nearly two-thirds of white Texans – including 56 percent of whites with a college degree – while Biden is crushing Trump among Black voters, and he has a substantial 57-32 percent lead among Latinos,” Levy said. “Men favor Trump by 16 points and women favor Biden by a narrower eight points.

“In the Senate race Cornyn – with a six-point lead – is in a much closer race than he faced six years ago, when he won with 62 percent of the vote. Both candidates are doing about the same holding on to the voters from their party and independents lean toward Cornyn by four points,” Levy said.

Voters in All 3 States Say Pandemic Law and Order is a More Important Issue than the Pandemic

“A clear majority of voters in all three states say that addressing law and order is a more important issue than addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Texans say so by 22 points, while Georgians and Iowans say so by eight- to ten-point margins,” Levy said. “Republicans are stronger in their view that law and order is the more important issue in all three state than are Democrats with their view that the pandemic is more important. Independents side with the Republicans on this issue but by a much narrower margin.”

Racism in Criminal Justice Is Bigger Problem than Riots in American Cities Say Voters in All 3 States

“By seven points in Iowa, 10 points in Texas and 19 points in Georgia, voters say that racism in the criminal justice system is a bigger problem facing the country than riots in American cities. Democrats overwhelmingly say racism. Republicans strongly say riots, although a sizeable minority of Republicans say racism. And while independents in Iowa side with racism as the bigger problem by seven points, independents in Georgia and Texas say so by more than 20 points,” Levy said.

Odds & Ends from Siena College Poll Director Dr. Don Levy:

  • “In Texas, 29 percent say they plan to vote in person on election day, 52 percent will vote in person early and only 15 percent plan to vote by mail – and there’s little difference between Democrats, Republicans and independents on how and when they plan to vote. Nearly three-quarters of Georgians plan to vote in person – with comparable percentages voting on election day and voting in advance – with 23 percent, far more Democrats than Republicans, saying they will vote by mail. More than four in ten Iowans – 60 percent of Democrats, 28 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of independents – plan to vote by mail.”
  • “A majority of voters in all three states – 56 percent in Iowa, 52 percent in Georgia and 50 percent in Texas – says that they dislike the way Trump ‘speaks without common decency or respect for others,’ rather than the way the majority of Republicans who like that Trump ‘speaks his mind and tells it like it is.’ Independents side with Democrats in disliking the way Trump speaks by 12 points in Georgia and 26 points in both Texas and Iowa.”

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Georgia was conducted September 16-21, 2020 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 523 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points. The survey of Iowa was conducted September 16-22, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 501 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points. The survey of Texas was conducted September 16-22, 2020 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 653 likely voters, with a margin of error of
+/- 4.3 percentage points. Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones. The data was weighted by party, age, race/ethnicity, education, region, gender and voter likelihood, a computed score that combines voter history, stated voter likelihood and modeled turnout by respondent. Polling support for this project provided by Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College, M. Davis and Co., Reconnaissance Market Research, and The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social, and cultural research. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Don Levy at 518-944-0482. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: www.Siena.edu/SCRI/SNY. For additional methodological information, click here.

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