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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Big Debate Audience – Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin – Tuesday Trivia

Your Daily Polling Update for Tuesday, September 29


Same as yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on six polls, ranging from 43% (Reuters) to 46% (NYT, Emerson, Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would still be 45%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 53% today (same as yesterday)…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.


Among general election voters

Nationwide Popular Vote

(Monmouth) Biden +6 (50-44-4)
(Harvard-Harris) Biden +4 (52-48)
Average of today’s polls: Biden +5
Average of last five polls: Biden +6.6 (this may be our pre-debate benchmark)

RON’S COMMENT: These two polls show a tightening of the national race…. The Harvard-Harris poll finds a 2-point Biden lead among likely voters and a 4-point Biden lead when leaners are added. A month ago they had Biden up by 6…. Biden leads by 6 in the Monmouth poll among registered voters, and the lead tightens to 5 points when they use their likely voter screen. Coming out of the convention, Biden led in their poll by 9 points…. In the Monmouth poll::

  • Biden is 47% favorable and 46% unfavorable.
  • Trump is 42% favorable and 51% unfavorable.
  • Currently, 13% of the electorate has an unfavorable view of both candidates. That’s down from 22% in August. Biden wins this group by 15 points. On Election Day 2016, Trump won voters who had an unfavorable view of both candidates by 17 points.
  • 49% of voters think confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice should be put on hold until after the election and 47% think it’s OK for the U.S. Senate to consider a nominee at the very end of a president’s term. Also, 46% approve and 51% disapprove of Trump trying to fill the seat before the election.
  • 49% of the electorate think Amy Coney Barrett is more of a conservative and 5% think she is more of a moderate.
  • 74% plan to watch tonight’s presidential debate.
  • 55% say Trump’s statement about a peaceful transition of power bothers them while 44% are not bothered.

In the States

States Trump carried in 2016
FLORIDA (Susquehanna): Biden +3
OHIO (Axios): Biden +4
NORTH CAROLINA (Meredith College): Even
WISCONSIN (Susquehanna): Biden +2
WISCONSIN (Trafalgar-R): Biden +3

States Clinton carried in 2016
NEVADA (BUSR): Biden +5

RON’S COMMENT: If these Pennsylvania polls showing 9-point leads are accurate, it’s cause for celebration at Biden headquarters. Even the 5-point lead is not bad for them…. The Florida numbers are also encouraging for Biden––any lead in Florida is a good lead for him…. These two Wisconsin polls, however, show a tightening race. The two previous Wisconsin polls gave Biden an average lead of 9.5 points. Let’s watch this one…. The Ohio polling is based on interviewing throughout the month of September by Survey Monkey. BTW: Losing Ohio would be a fatal blow to Trump’s chances. He won the state last time by 8 points.


Among voters in each state

Sen. Tina Smith (D) over Jason Lewis (R): +8 (49-41)

RON’S COMMENT: Incumbent Smith still has a clear margin. The four most recent polls give her an 8.5-point average advantage. Handicappers rate the race safe or likely Democratic.


Among voters nationwide

Which comes closer to your view … ?

  • The winner of the presidential election needs to prioritize healing the country’s divisions: 71%
  • The winner of the presidential election needs to prioritize fighting to enact their agenda: 17%
  • Don’t know: 12%

COMMENT: 7 in 10 voters want the next administration to prioritize healing divisions over fighting for an agenda. 81% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans prefer healing. This public mood is likely helping Biden.


Among voters nationwide

The electorate is:

  • Certainly going to vote: 89% (6 points higher than at this time in 2016)
  • Probably going to vote: 5% (2 points lower than at this time in 2016)
  • 50-50 or less: 6% (3 points lower than at this point in 2016)

COMMENT: Here’s some empirical evidence indicating a higher election turnout this year. Those who say they will “certainly” vote is up 6 points from this time in 2016 and up 5 points from September 2012.


True or False: The first debates in a general election for president were held in 1860 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

(See answer below)


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL: Monmouth, Sept. 24-27; Harvard-Harris, Sept. 22-24
CERTAINTY TO VOTE: Washington Post/ABC, Sept. 21–24
HEALING OR FIGHTING: NYT/Siena College, Sep. 22–24Subscription note: If you ever stop receiving Lunchtime Politics, check your spam or junk folders. Sometimes, for mysterious reasons, the newsletter may re-route to there. Please know that we will never take you off our subscriber list unless you ask us to do so.

Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics publishes daily, Monday thru Friday, between now and the Nov. 3 election. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron


False. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were held during the 1858 U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois––and not during the 1860 presidential election, as many people mistakenly believe.
The first presidential debate in a general election was held in 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux, Chief Analyst at Certus Insights. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2020 Ronald A. Faucheux

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Ron Faucheux

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.