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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Senate Races in Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona – North Carolina Governor – Trump Handling of Virus

Your Daily Polling Update for Thursday, August 13

TRUMP JOB APPROVAL: AVERAGE 44%

Up 1 from Tuesday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on six polls, ranging from 41% (Reuters) to 48% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would be 43%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 54% today (-2 from Tuesday), which is 10 points higher than his approval rating…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Among general election voters

NATIONWIDE

(Economist) Biden: +10
(CNBC) Biden: +6
(The Hill) Biden: +4
(Rasmussen) Biden: +6
(Politico) Biden: +9
Average: Biden +7

RON’S COMMENT: It’s still too early to judge the impact of the Harris selection for VP…. The Politico poll included Kanye West as a third candidate, and he drew 2% of the vote…. Looking at recent movement and internal data:

  • In the Economist poll, Biden’s lead slightly expanded over the last week from 9 to 10 points.
  • In the CNBC poll, Biden’s lead declined over the last two weeks from 9 to 6 points.
  • In The Hill poll, Biden’s lead went from 3 to 4 points over the past week.
  • In the Rasmussen poll, which often shows Trump doing better than other polls, Biden’s lead doubled over the last week from 3 to 6 points.
  • The Economist poll is slightly more recent than the others.
  • In the Economist poll:
    • Republicans break 86% for Trump, 8% for Biden and 2% other.
    • Democrats break 89% for Biden, 5% for Trump and 2% other.
    • Independents break 39% for Biden, 38% for Trump and 10% other.

IN THE STATES

States Trump carried in 2016: 
FLORIDA: Biden +6
MICHIGAN: Biden +5
WISCONSIN: Biden +4
PENNSYLVANIA (CNBC): Biden +4
PENNSYLVANIA (Emerson): Biden +9
ARIZONA (Emerson): Biden +4
ARIZONA (CNBC): Biden +1
NORTH CAROLINA (CNBC): Trump +1
NORTH CAROLINA (Emerson): Trump +2

State Clinton carried in 2016: 
MASSACHUSETTS: Biden +36

RON’S COMMENT: Good news for Biden––He’s holding leads in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Good news for Trump––Biden’s July lead in North Carolina has disappeared. The three most recent polls have Trump slightly ahead in the state by an average of 1.3 points.

SENATE ELECTIONS

Among voters in each state

MINNESOTA
Sen. Tina Smith (DFL) over Jason Lewis (R): +3 (48-45)

RON’S COMMENT: Will the Senate race in Minnesota be a tighter battle than observers expected?….  Democrat Smith was appointed to the seat after Al Franken (D) resigned in 2018; she won the special election that year, 53-42. Republican Lewis is a former one-term congressman from Minnesota’s 2nd CD. He was defeated for re-election in 2018 by Democrat Angie Craig…. There are two other candidates, both running on pro-cannabis platforms….Handicappers so far haven’t seen this as much of a contest; they rate the race solid or likely Democratic.

KANSAS
Roger Marshall (R) over Barbara Bollier (D): +2 (46-44)

RON’S COMMENT: This open seat is now held by Sen. Pat Roberts (R), who is retiring…. Republican Marshall is a congressman from the state’s 1st district. Democrat Bollier is a physician and state senator. Marshall recently defeated former Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach in the primary by a 40-26 margin…. Handicappers rate the race lean or likely Republican.

NORTH CAROLINA
(CNBC) Cal Cunningham (D) over Sen. Thom Tillis (R): +5 (48-43)
(Emerson) Cal Cunningham (D) over Sen. Thom Tillis (R): +2 (44-42)

COMMENT: Democrat Cunningham had been posting substantial 9 to 12 point leads in July. These two new polls have him ahead by narrower margins, averaging 3.5 points. Handicappers rate the race a tossup.

ARIZONA
(CNBC) Mark Kelly (D) over Sen. Martha McSally (R): +6 (49-43)
(Emerson) Mark Kelly (D) over Sen. Martha McSally (R): +11 (52-41)

RON’S COMMENT: The last four polls, including these two, show Kelly with an average lead of 7.3 points. Worth noting: The CNBC poll showed Kelly’s lead slipping to only 2 points two weeks ago, but now has him back up by 6. Handicappers rate the contest lean Democratic.

MICHIGAN
Sen. Gary Peters (D) over John James (R): +3 (48-45)

RON’S COMMENT: Incumbent Peters still leads, although his advantage in this poll is smaller than the two previous polls that had him 10 points ahead. Handicappers rate the contest lean Democratic.

GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION

Among voters in each state

NORTH CAROLINA
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) over Dan Forest (R): +6 (50-44)

COMMENT: Incumbent Cooper maintains the advantage, although this 6-point lead is tighter than the average of the three previous polls, 13.3 points. Handicappers rate the race lean or likely Democratic.

TRUMP’S RATING ON THE VIRUS

Among voters nationwide

(CNBC poll) Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing handling the coronavirus:

Approve: 42%
Disapprove: 58%

(Economist poll) Do you approve or disapprove of Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19 outbreak? 

Approve: 42%
Disapprove: 55%

(Politico poll) How would you rate each of the following on their handling of the coronavirus? President Donald Trump 

Excellent/good: 35%
Just fair/poor: 61%

RON’S COMMENT: These three polls find a majority of voters expressing negative views of the president’s handling of the coronavirus. In the Economist poll, 9% of Democrats, 37% of independents and 83% of Republicans give Trump positive marks; and, 87% of Democrats, 61% of independents and 15% of Republicans give Trump negative marks.

ECONOMY AND PERSONAL FINANCES

Among voters nationwide

Looking ahead to the next year, how do you feel about each of the following: 

U.S. economy
Confident and optimistic: 40%
Worried and uncertain: 60%

Your personal finances
Confident and optimistic: 57%
Worried and uncertain: 43%

Your wages rising
Confident and optimistic: 42%
Worried and uncertain: 58%

Your healthcare costs
Confident and optimistic: 39%
Worried and uncertain: 61%

RON’S COMMENT: Majorities of voters are worried and uncertain about the nation’s economy, their wages rising and their healthcare costs. However, 43% are worried about their overall personal finances.

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SOURCES
Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
PRESIDENTIAL NATIONAL: The Economist/YouGov, Aug. 9-11; CNBC/Change Research (D), Aug. 7-9; Rasmussen, Aug. 5-11: The Hill-HarrisX, Aug. 8-11; Politico/Morning Consult, Aug. 9-10
FLORIDA, WISCONSIN, PENNSYLVANIA, MICHIGAN, ARIZONA, NORTH CAROLINA: CNBC/Change Research (D), Aug. 7-9
PENNSYLVANIA, ARIZONA, NORTH CAROLINA: Emerson, Aug. 8-10
KANSAS: SurveyUSA, Aug. 5-9
MINNESOTA: Emerson, Aug. 8-10
ECONOMY AND PERSONAL FINANCES, TRUMP AND THE VIRUS: CNBC/Change Research (D), Aug. 7-9
TRUMP AND THE VIRUS: Politico/Morning Consult, Aug. 9-10: The Economist/YouGov, Aug. 9-11; CNBC/Change Research (D), Aug. 7-9

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 rfaucheux@certusinsights.com.

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
rfaucheux@certusinsights.com

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.