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Trump vs. Biden Polls: Joe Has Finally Stopped the Bleeding

From dark skies to partly cloudy. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7 did not lead to the immediate polling “bounce” many Democrats hoped for, the intervening weeks have ended a long stretch of time during which nearly every general-election poll showed Donald Trump expanding his lead in national and most battleground-state polls. You cannot say Biden has roared back into the lead, but he has more or less stopped the bleeding and perhaps put at least a temporary halt to incessant Democratic hand-wringing.

In the RealClearPolitics polling averages for a head-to-head Biden-Trump contest, the 45th president now leads the 46th by one point (46.5 to 45.5 percent). That’s Trump’s smallest lead since January 9. In polling of the more relevant five-way contest including RFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West, Trump’s lead has dropped from 4.7 percent in late February to 2.4 percent today. While Trump still leads in the RCP polling averages of head-to-head matchups with the incumbent in all seven battleground states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) his advantage has dropped at least slightly in all of them in recent weeks and is down to under a single point in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

State polling continues to suggest that Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes is shorter through the Rust Belt than the Sun Belt. The most recent tracking polls from Bloomberg–Morning Consult show the incumbent leading by a point in Wisconsin and tied with Trump in both Michigan and Pennsylvania (in the same pollster’s latest survey, Trump leads by 7 percent in Georgia, 6 percent in North Carolina, 5 percent in Arizona, and 2 percent in Nevada).

One Biden indicator that is not showing any notable improvement, however, is his job-approval rating. In the RCP polling averages, presidential job approval has been oscillating in a narrow band between 39 percent and 41 percent since last October. It’s at 39.9 percent at present. Disapproval has been similarly stuck between 54 percent and 57 percent for the last five months. It’s at 56.6 percent now. These are not healthy numbers for a president running for reelection. But then again, according to another metric, Biden’s personal favorability ratio (40.4 percent favorable, 55.2 percent unfavorable) isn’t that different from Trump’s (42.7 percent favorable, 53.5 percent unfavorable), per RCP. By any standard, this remains a close and (thanks to relatively strong third-party and independent candidacies) unpredictable contest with seven months left before Election Day.

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Trump vs. Biden Polls: Joe Has Finally Stopped the Bleeding