Biden Leads Trump 49-41% Among Likely Voters Nationally

biden and trump
  • The New York Times / Siena College National Poll:
  • Voters Said Election Winner Should Appoint Ginsburg Replacement; Split on Whether Senate Should Act on Trump’s Nomination
  • Dems & Reps Agree This is Most Important Election of Their Lives
  • Strong Support for National Mask Requirement & a New $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package; Overwhelming Bipartisan Opposition to Distributing Coronavirus Vaccine Before Clinical Trials Are Complete

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. Just over five weeks until election day, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in the national popular vote 49-41 percent, largely due to a 51-30 percent Biden lead among independent voters, according to The New York Times/Siena College poll of likely voters released today. Trump has a 44-53 percent negative favorability rating. Biden’s favorability rating is 52-44 percent.

By 56-41 percent, voters said – sharply divided along partisan lines – the winner of the election should appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, rather than President Trump making the appointment – as he has – in advance of the election. However, voters are divided – also along party lines – with 48 percent opposing the Senate acting on the nomination and 47 percent supporting Senate action.

“While there is no national election for president – Trump lost the 2016 popular vote by two points – an eight-point lead for Biden could portend a bigger popular vote margin, especially if he can maintain his current 21-point lead with independents,” said Dr. Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute Director. “Biden leads by 12 to 19 points in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Trump leads by six in the south.”

“Trump and Biden are tied among men, and women favor Biden by 16 points, 53-37 percent,” Levy said. “While Trump has a modest seven-point lead among white voters, Biden leads by 74 and 28 points among Black and Latino voters, respectively. Trump’s 24-point lead among whites without a college degree outpaces Biden’s 16-point lead with college-educated whites.

“Biden’s favorability is net eight points positive, while Trump’s is net nine points negative. Similarly, Senator Kamala Harris’ favorability rating is net seven points positive and Vice President Mike Pence’s is net four points negative,” Levy said. “Trump’s job approval rating is also under water by four points. On all five of these questions, we see Republicans and Democrats as mirror images of each other and in each case, independents fall on the same side – but by a narrow amount – as the Democrats.”

Trump’s Appointing Supreme Court Nominee Counters Voters’ Wishes; Divided on Senate Action
“While the President nominated a new Justice to the Supreme Court yesterday, voters – by 15 points – would have preferred that the winner of the upcoming election make the appointment. Although 84 percent of Republicans support Trump making the appointment before the election, 95 percent of Democrats want the election winner to make the choice, as do independents, two-to-one,” Levy said.

“The same partisan divide exists on whether or not the Senate should act on a Trump nominee, with 84 percent of Republicans saying it should and 83 percent of Democrats saying it should not. Independents by a 52-43 percent margin side with Democrats saying the Senate shouldn’t act on the nomination,” Levy said.

Three-Quarters of Voters Say This Is the Most Important Election of Their Lifetimes
“While Democrats and Republicans couldn’t disagree more on the outcome they would like to see in the election, they do agree – as do independents – that this is the most important election of their lifetimes,” Levy said. “This view is shared by 87 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of independents. It is also shared by 77 percent of whites, 78 percent of Blacks and 80 percent of Latinos.”

Voters Support National Mask Mandate & a New $2T Coronavirus Stimulus Package
“Voters support a national mask mandate 67-31 percent, including support from 93 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents. Republicans oppose such a measure 60-40 percent,” Levy said. “By an even larger 72-23 percent margin, voters support a new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. That has the support of 92 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 57 percent of Republicans.

“By a large but smaller margin – and with a large partisan divide – voters say 63-34 percent that they would support reinstating lockdowns if public health experts recommended it during a second coronavirus wave,” Levy said. “There’s also a wide partisan divide on whether the worst of the pandemic is over, a view held by 43 percent, or the worst is yet to come, a view held by a plurality, 49 percent. Democrats and independents say the worst is yet to come, while 69 percent of Republicans say the worst is over.

“Voters say, 56-33 percent, that the federal government’s priority should be limiting the spread of the virus, even if it hurts the economy, rather than prioritizing restarting the economy, even if it increases public health risks,” Levy said. “We continue to see a large divide between Democrats and independents, who want the priority to be on the pandemic, on one side and Republicans, 66 percent of whom want the focus on the economy, on the other.”

Huge Bipartisan Majority Opposes Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Before End of Clinical Trials
“One area regarding the pandemic that unites voters from across the political spectrum is the issue of distributing the coronavirus vaccine prior to the completion of clinical trials, which gets a resounding ‘no’ from 81 percent of voters, including 88 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of independents and 75 percent of Republicans,” Levy said. “Regardless of when the announcement of an approved vaccine comes, voters want to be sure that the clinical trials are complete before distribution begins.”

Voters Say US Heading in Wrong Direction; Optimistic About Our Political System’s Future
“Voters say 56-35 percent the country is headed in the wrong direction. Democrats overwhelmingly say so, 88-8 percent, and independents agree 58-30 percent. While 68 percent of Republicans disagree, saying the U.S. is on the right track, 23 percent of Republicans say we’re headed in the wrong direction,” Levy said.

“Despite being pessimistic on the direction of the country, there is optimism among a majority of voters from each party that our nation’s political system can still address the country’s problems, rather than the country being too politically divided to solve its problems. That optimistic view is held by 52 percent of Democrats and independents and 62 percent of Republicans,” Levy said. “While a majority of white voters is optimistic on this question, a majority of Black voters is pessimistic, and Latinos are closely divided.”

Voters Strongly Support Roe v. Wade; Think it Likely Trump Appointee Will Lead Court to Overturn It
“By a 62-20 percent margin – including a plurality of Republicans, 47-33 percent – voters support the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Interestingly, there is no gender gap as Roe is supported by 61 percent of men and 63 percent of women,” Levy said. “Similarly, 60 percent of voters say abortion should be always or mostly legal, compared to 33 percent who say it should be always or mostly illegal.

“When asked whether the Supreme Court – assuming Trump selects the next justice – is likely or not to overturn Roe v. Wade, 52 percent said they thought it was either very or somewhat likely, compared to
38 percent who thought it was not too likely or not likely at all,” Levy said. “Eight in ten Democrats think Roe is likely to be overturned, as do a plurality, 48 percent, of independents. However, only 32 percent of Republicans think it’s likely while 57 percent think it unlikely.”

“A majority of voters, 56 percent, say they are less likely to support Trump if he appoints a Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade. That includes 84 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of independents and even 22 percent of Republicans,” Levy said. “Only 24 percent of voters, including 49 percent of Republicans, say that this makes them more likely to support Trump.”

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

  • “Voters of all stripes are looking for healing after the election. By a 71-17 percent margin, they say the winner of the election should prioritize healing the country’s divisions rather than prioritizing the fight to enact their agenda. Healing the country’s divisions is the choice of 81 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans. It’s also the choice of 79 percent of Blacks, 74 percent of Latinos and 70 percent of whites.”
  • “Voters support statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. 59-26 percent, with strong support from Democrats and independents and opposition from Republicans.”
  • “Obamacare is supported 57-38 percent. While it is opposed by 81 percent of Republicans, it is supported by 95 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents.”

This New York Times/Siena College survey was conducted September 22-24, 2020 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 950 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 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: For additional methodological information, click here.