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LUNCHTIME POLITICS Special Friday Edition: Early Reading on Harris – Mississippi, North Carolina – Voters Say Feds Didn’t Take Virus Seriously

Your Daily Polling Update for Friday, August 14


Same as yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on six polls, ranging from 41% (Reuters, Politico) to 47% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would still be 44%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 55% today (+1 from yesterday), which is 11 points higher than his approval rating…. See the trend in Trump’s job approval average since the beginning of 2020 at approval trend.

Among general election voters 


(Fox News) Biden over Trump: +7 (49-42)
(PBS/NPR) Biden over Trump: +11 (53-42)
Average of last seven polls: Biden +7.7

RON’S COMMENT: Two more polls showing Biden clearly ahead. The Fox News survey finds that:

  • Trump’s personal rating is 43% favorable/55% unfavorable.
  • Biden’s personal rating is 53% favorable/43% unfavorable.
  • 47% of voters believe Biden is a strong leader, 44% say so about Trump.
  • Poll report on voter interest: “Some 62% are extremely interested in the election––and among just those voters, Biden’s lead expands to 55-41 percent. He’s helped by more of his backers (71%) than Trump’s (61%) being extremely interested.”
    • However, the PBS/NPR poll shows that a greater proportion of Trump’s voters (76%) “strongly” support their candidate than do Biden’s voters (64%).
  • Poll report on issue preference: Biden is “seen as better to handle race relations (by 19 points), health care (+15), coronavirus (+14 points), relations with China (+11), nominating the next Supreme Court justice (+10), immigration (+7), and policing and criminal justice (+6). There’s one exception: more trust Trump on the economy, by 3 points.”
  • Fed reaction to virus: 13% of voters believe the federal government overreacted to the coronavirus, 29% believe it reacted appropriately and 54% believe it didn’t take it seriously.


State Trump carried in 2016: 

RON’S COMMENT: Yesterday, we reported two polls showing Trump with small leads in North Carolina. Today’s Republican-affiliated poll also shows a tight race, but with Biden leading.


Among voters nationwide

Based on what you know, do you approve or disapprove of Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate? 

Strongly approve: 55%
Somewhat approve: 30%
Somewhat disapprove: 5%
Strongly disapprove: 3%

Strongly approve: 21%
Somewhat approve: 23%
Somewhat disapprove: 10%
Strongly disapprove: 17%

RON’S COMMENT: Democrats overwhelmingly express some degree of approval for the Harris selection. However, independents––who are often swing voters in elections––are not so sure. A total of 44% of them approve of her pick and a large segment, 28%, have no opinion yet…. In addition: 79% of all Blacks say the Harris VP selection makes them feel “proud,” compared to 53% of all Hispanics and 50% of all women…. Despite an initially favorable reaction to Biden’s pick, it’s still an open question whether Harris will help the ticket.


Among voters in each state

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) over Mike Espy (D): +5 (47-42-3)

RON’S COMMENT: Democrat Espy’s campaign has released a Garin-Hart-Yang poll that shows Republican incumbent Hyde-Smith ahead by only 5 points. In retaliation, Hyde-Smith’s campaign then released a Tarrance Group poll which shows her leading by a much wider 20 points. The Democratic poll was conducted more recently, July 30-August 9, while the Republican poll was conducted June 22-25…. Did the race change that much in a month and a half? Or is one of these partisan polls just wrong?…. Let’s wait for the next round…. In 2018, Hyde-Smith defeated Espy, a former congressman and Agriculture secretary, by nearly 8 points in a special election runoff…. Handicappers rate the race safe Republican.

Cal Cunningham (D) over Sen. Thom Tillis (R): +3 (41-38)

COMMENT: Yesterday, we reported two polls showing Democrat Cunningham leading, on average, by 3.5 points. This Republican-affiliated poll confirms that finding. Handicappers rate the race a tossup.


Among voters in each state

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) over Dan Forest (R): +10 (49-39)

COMMENT: Yesterday, we had a poll showing Cooper ahead by 6 points. Today’s poll shows a bigger margin. Handicappers rate the race lean or likely Democratic.


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Fox News, Aug. 9-12; NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, Aug. 3-11
HARRIS: Politico/Morning Consult, Aug. 12
NORTH CAROLINA: Civitas/Harper (R), Aug. 6-10
MISSISSIPPI: Garin-Hart-Yang (D), July 30-Aug. 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

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.