August 17, 2020
A CNN poll released Sunday found that President Donald Trump has significantly cut into presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s lead ahead of the Democratic Party’s convention this week.
What are the details?
The poll, which surveyed 1,108 registered voters, showed Biden narrowly holding onto a 50%-46% lead over Trump — with a margin of error of +/- 4% — a huge change from the poll’s previous tally in June that showed Biden with a sizable 14-point edge.
What’s more: The results were even tighter across 15 battleground states, with Biden leading by just one percentage point, 49%-48%.
Trump’s approval rating improved markedly in the new poll, as well, closing the approve/disapprove margin by seven points since the last tally.
It is a rare piece of good polling for the president, who has struggled to rebound after criticisms of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests over racial injustice appeared to have damaged his re-election prospects.
After June’s poll results, the Trump campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to CNN arguing the poll was “designed to manufacture an anti-Trump narrative and misinform and mislead actual voters.”
But it wasn’t just the CNN poll, actually conducted by SSRS, that showed Biden with a double-digit lead. A New York Times/Siena College poll released the same month showed the former vice president with a 14-point lead over Trump as well.
Another poll released Sunday, this one sponsored by ABC News/Washington Post and conducted by Langer Research Associates, showed Biden’s lead over Trump still hovering in the double digits, 54%-44%, among likely voters.
The dueling results demonstrate the challenge with polls; they are often better at identifying trends than clarifying the actual state of things. And of course, there are always outliers.
The Democratic Party is scheduled to begin its national convention Monday, during which it will formally nominate Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), to lead the party in the general election. The Republican Party’s convention will take place next week.
This story has been updated.