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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Unemployment Benefits – Mandatory Masking – Senate Races – Virginia Schools

Your Daily Polling Update for Thursday, July 30


Same as Sunday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on seven polls, ranging from 40% (Reuters, Politico) to 48% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes it would be 44%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 55% today (same as Sunday), which is 12 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


(Economist) Biden over Trump: +9
(CNBC) Biden over Trump: +9
(Rasmussen) Biden over Trump: +6
(Harvard-Harris) Biden over Trump: +10
Average of last five polls: Biden +8.5

RON’S COMMENT: From the Economist poll:

  • Biden wins women by 14 points and men by 1 point.
  • Biden wins voters 18-28 by 31 points, those aged 30-44 by 14 points and those aged 45-64 by 6 points. Trump wins those over 65 by 9 points.
  • Trump wins Whites 48-42. Biden wins Blacks 81-5 and Hispanics 59-25.


New polls in states Trump carried in 2016: 
FLORIDA (CNBC): Biden +3
FLORIDA (Mason Dixon): Biden +4
MICHIGAN: Biden +4
ARIZONA: Biden +2
GEORGIA: Trump +1

New polls in states Clinton carried in 2016: 
MAINE: Biden +12
VIRGINIA: Biden +11

RON’S COMMENT: Good news for Biden––of the seven states Trump won in 2016, the former VP is leading in six of them and is competitive in the seventh. Not so good news for Biden––His 3- and 4-point leads in today’s Florida polls is down from an average lead of 8 points in the three previous polls. Biden’s lead is 4 points in today’s Michigan poll, but that is down from an average of 9 points in the three previous polls…. Also, there’s a wide variance in the two Pennsylvania polls (+2, +9). Let’s wait and see where this goes.


Among voters in each state

Sara Gideon (D) over Sen. Susan Collins (R): +5 (44-39)

COMMENT: Another poll showing incumbent Collins trailing. Handicappers rate the race a tossup.

Cal Cunningham (D) over Sen. Thom Tillis (R): +12 (52-40)

COMMENT: Incumbent Tillis hasn’t led a poll since mid-June. Since then, seven surveys have shown Democrat Cunningham with a lead. This poll’s 12-point margin is the best Cunningham has done in any public polling so far. Handicappers rate the race a tossup.

Mark Kelly (D) over Sen. Martha McSally (R): +2 (47-45)

RON’S COMMENT: Polls have consistently shown Democrat Kelly with a lead. However, this poll indicates a closer contest than other have polls have found. Is it an outlier or does it catch movement in McSally’s favor? Handicappers rate the contest tilt/lean Democratic.

GEORGIA (Special Election; Open Primary)
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R): 26%
Doug Collins (R): 20%
Matt Lieberman (D): 14%
Raphael Warnock (D): 9%
Ed Tarver (D): 5%

RON’S COMMENT: This poll shows incumbent Loeffler, who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), has gained on the field. Collins has slipped to second place and Warnock has sunk to fourth place. The open primary is Nov. 3 and a Jan. 5 runoff, if needed, will be among the top two finishers…. Handicappers rate the race lean Republican.

GEORGIA (Regular Election)
Sen. David Perdue (R) over Jon Ossoff (D): +7 (50-43)

COMMENT: Incumbent Perdue has slowly built up a lead that’s gone from 3 points in mid-June to 7 points now. Handicappers rate the race either a tossup or tilt/lean Republican.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) over Corky Messner (R): +19 (54-35)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) over Don Bolduc (R): +19 (54-35)

COMMENT: Incumbent Shaheen posts solid leads over both Republican challengers. Messner is a lawyer and former U.S. Army Ranger. Bolduc is a retired Special Forces brigadier general. Shaheen’s personal rating is 47% favorable/34% unfavorable/16% neutral. Neither Republican candidate is well known statewide. Handicappers rate the race safe or likely Democratic….  Earlier polls have shown Messner leading Bolduc for the GOP Senate nomination…. Note:  New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is posting a wide lead in his re-election bid.

Sen. Gary Peters (D) over John James (R): +4 (48-44)

RON’S COMMENT: Incumbent Peters still leads, although his margin in this poll shows shrinkage.


Among voters nationwide

This spring, the U.S. Congress passed a law to provide stimulus spending to combat the economic effects of COVID-19. In the law, the federal government provided additional money, up to $600 per week, to temporarily increase unemployment payments. The provision for increased unemployment payments expires at the end of the month. What do you think the Congress should do? 

  • Congress should renew the law and continue providing an extra $600 per week in increased unemployment payments: 34%
  • Congress should renew the law and continue providing an extra amount less than $600 per week in increased unemployment payments: 30%
  • Congress should let the law expire and end increased unemployment payments: 23%
  • Not sure: 13%

RON’S COMMENT: A majority of voters (53%) believe the $600 benefit should either be cut or ended––which is closer to the Republican position. Only about a third want to see the $600 benefit continued––which is closer to the Democratic position.


Among voters nationwide

Would you support or oppose a policy that made it mandatory to wear masks in public places? 

Support mandatory masking: 70%
Oppose mandatory masking: 26%

RON’S COMMENT: The national electorate is clear in its support for mandatory masking in public places. 92% of Biden’s voters and 46% of Trump’s voters support it…. This poll also shows that 77% of voters nationwide tie reopening of the economy to a likely rise in virus cases.


Among likely voters statewide

Excerpts from statewide poll report conducted by WRS:

  • “While making the decision to reopen local schools is a shared responsibility, we asked likely voters in Virginia who they would like to be most responsible in determining the range of options for them to consider in how schools reopen in the fall.
  • “Close to half (49%) of likely voters in Virginia believe local school boards and superintendents should be the most responsible for determining the range of options for returning to school this fall. No other leadership group was close.
  • “More than one in five Virginians (22%) want federal health officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to be responsible for providing options for reopening schools.
  • “Parents with preschool children (58%) are most likely to want their local school boards and superintendents to be most responsible for school reopening options.
  • “Parents of college-age children (21%) were least likely to want their local school boards and superintendents to take the lead, preferring the CDC, instead (32%).
  • “Virginians do not want national elected leaders making these decisions. Fewer than one in ten want Trump and his cabinet (8%) or Congress (1%) to be most responsible for reopening schools.
  • “Virginians don’t want leadership in Richmond to be most responsible for these decisions, either. Again, fewer than one in ten want Governor Northam and his cabinet (9%) or the state legislature (3%) to lead decision-making on reopening schools this fall.
  • “Despite preferring local control of decision-making, a plurality of Virginians disapprove of their local school system’s plan to return to school this fall (44%, vs. 34% approve).
  • “Virginia likely voters are significantly more likely to strongly disapprove (30%) of their local school’s plan to reopen than those who strongly approve (19%).
  • “Parents with young school-age children, in preschool (50%) or elementary school (50%), were most likely to approve of the options they were given for reopening in the fall. Parents with children in middle school (32%) or high school (27%) were significantly less likely to approve of their fall options.”


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
PRESIDENT NATIONAL: CNBC/Change Research (D), July 24-26; The Economist/YouGov, July 26-28; Rasmussen, July 22-28; Harvard-Harris, July 21-23
FL: CNBC/Change Research (D), July 24-26; Mason Dixon, July 20-23
NC: NBC News, July 24-26
GA: Monmouth, July 23-27
ME: Colby College, July 18-24
MA: MassINC, July 17-20
WA: King-TV/SurveyUSA, July 22-27
NH: UNH, July 16-28
PA: CNBC/Change Research (D), July 24-26; Franklin & Marshall, July 20-26
VA: VCU, July 11-19

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.