Poll: Trump Gains After Debate as Race Swings 3 Points President’s Way

DULUTH, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Duluth International Airport on September 30, 2020 in Duluth, Minnesota. The rally is Trump's first after last night's Presidential Debate. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

A poll released on Friday shows that the presidential race has swung several points in President Donald Trump’s direction after the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

The first significant national poll conducted post-debate, by Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP, shows the race has sharply tightened after the chaotic first debate earlier this week. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrat presidential nominee, has seen his lead cut down to just 2.6 percent in the wake of the debate.

Nationally, Biden only leads Trump by 2.6 percent—48.6 percent to 45.9 percent—in this survey, conducted entirely post-debate on Wednesday and Thursday, September 30 and October 1.

“Biden leads President Trump, 48.6% to 45.9%,” IBD’s Jed Graham wrote. “Another 1.5% say they’ll vote for another candidate, while 4% are not sure who they’ll support. Biden holds a 48%-38.5% lead among likely independent voters and 92%-4% among Democrats. Trump leads 93%-5.5% among Republicans.”

This post-debate poll represents a three-point swing Trump’s way after the debate—and an even more profound swing in the president’s direction since earlier in September.

“The race has tightened somewhat since early September, when an IBD/TIPP poll of registered voters showed Biden with an eight-point edge, 49%-41%,” Graham wrote. “An IBD/TIPP poll of likely voters released on Sept. 21 showed Biden with a 5.6-point lead, 49.5%-43.9%.”

While the poll showed Biden got better reviews from respondents for overall debate performance, more voters shifted to Trump after the debate than shifted to Biden. The two candidates split on who performed better on individual topics, with Trump winning with the economy and Supreme Court and Biden winning the others.

“Registered voters who watched or listened to Tuesday’s debate thought Biden did better, 44%-33%. Independents saw Biden as the winner, 43%-20%,” Graham wrote. “Biden was seen as more likable, 54%-34%. Still, voters gave Trump an edge in debating the Supreme Court (45%-40%) and the economy (47%-44%). Biden won over voters on other topics: Covid 19 (49%-40%); race (49%-40%); and election integrity (48%-38%). Biden was seen as looking more presidential (51%-37%) and having a better command of the issues (46%-43%). But Trump was seen as mentally sharper (47%-42%). After the debate, 19% of registered voters who watched said they switched their vote, with 11% backing Trump and 8% shifting to Biden. Nearly everyone who said they switched to Trump had voted for him in 2016. Half those who switched to Biden had voted for Clinton in 2016. The others included Trump voters, nonvoters and third-party voters.”

The poll has a fairly large sample size, and a smaller margin of error—3.5 percent—meaning that Biden’s lead is inside that margin of error. “The new IBD/TIPP election poll reflects an online survey of 1,221 registered voters, including 1,021 likely voters, from Sept. 30-Oct. 1,” Graham wrote. “The credibility interval is +/- 3.3 percentage points for the registered-voter sample and 3.5 percentage points for the likely voter sample. The weighted likely voter sample reflects 411 Democrats, 403 Republicans and 201 independent voters.”

The poll was conducted before the news dropped late Thursday evening that Trump and first lady Melania Trump have contracted coronavirus. The president and first lady are currently quarantining in the White House residence with the virus, showing according to White House officials mild symptoms but doing fine for now.

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