The week in polls: Biden hits double-digit lead in national average, surges in Florida, Michigan
The first week of polls conducted primarily after President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 generally did not offer much to bolster the president's reelection hopes.
Biden continued to lead Trump in 10 of 11 swing states (though in Georgia and Ohio they are in a virtu tie) – and he expanded his lead in seven of those states, including big gains in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Nationally, Biden surged 2 percentage points to a more than 10-point lead, according to the USA TODAY average of averages, which is based on the polling averages calculated by RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight. By comparison, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's lead between the two polling averages was 6.2 points at this time four years ago.
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 52.1%, Trump 42.0% (Biden +10.1)
Last week: Biden 50.8%, Trump 42.7% (Biden +8.1)
Net change: Biden +2.0
- RCP: Biden 51.9%, Trump 42.1%
- FiveThirtyEight: Biden 52.2%, Trump 41.9%
At this point in 2016: Clinton +6.2
Should we believe the polls?:Polls show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump, but after 2016 ...
Swing state averages
Arizona: Biden +3.3
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 48.5%, Trump 45.2%
Last week: Biden 48.6%, Trump 45.3% (Biden +3.3)
Net change: None
Florida: Biden +4.0
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 48.5%, Trump 44.5%
Last week: Biden 47.9%, Trump 45.5%
Net change: Biden +1.6
Georgia: Biden +0.2
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 47.1%, Trump 46.9%
Last week: Biden 47.0%, Trump 46.5%
Net change: Trump +0.3
Michigan: Biden +7.3
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 50.5%, Trump 43.2%
Last week: Biden 49.7%, Trump 43.8%
Net change: Biden +1.4
Minnesota: Biden +9.3
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 50.4%, Trump 41.1%
Last week: Biden 50.3%, Trump 41.5%
Net change: Biden +0.5
Nevada: Biden +6.4
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 50.2%, Trump 43.8%
Last week: Biden 49.2%, Trump 43.5%
Net change: Biden +0.7
North Carolina: Biden +2.2
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 48.7%, Trump 46.5%
Last week: Biden 47.5%, Trump 46.5%
Net change: Biden +1.2
Ohio: Biden +0.7
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 47.0%, Trump 46.3%
Last week: Biden 48.1%, Trump 46.6%
Net change: Trump +0.8
Pennsylvania: Biden +7.2
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 51.0%, Trump 43.8%
Last week: Biden 50.4%, Trump 44.2%
Net change: Biden +1.0
Texas: Trump +3.0
USA TODAY average of averages: Trump 48.8%, Biden 45.8%
Last week: Trump 48.3%, Biden 45.5%
Net change: Trump +0.2
Wisconsin: Biden +6.3
USA TODAY average of averages: Biden 49.9%, Trump 43.6%
Last week: Biden 50.2%, Trump 44.1%
Net change: Biden +0.2
Colorado: Hickenlooper stays ahead of Gardner
Polling has been relatively sparse on the race between incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner and former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, but the surveys that have been done have consistently found Hickenlooper with a lead, though it has ranged from 5 to 18 percentage points since May.
A new poll from 9NEWS/Colorado Politics, conducted Oct. 1-6 by SurveyUSA, continued that trend, finding Hickenlooper with a 9-point lead (48%-39%) over Gardner among likely voters in the state.
Georgia: Two Senate run-offs possible
In Georgia, if no Senate candidate wins more than 50%, there will be a run-off election between the top two vote-getters. Because of a special election this year, both of Georgia's seats in the Senate are on the ballot. According to three polls this week, none of the candidates in either race has the support of more than 50% of the voters, which means both races could end up in a run-off.
In the special election, Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic candidate leads the pack with 41% of the vote, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Saturday, while the Republican vote is primarily split between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (24%) and Rep. Doug Collins (22%). In the other race, PPP found a virtual dead-heat between incumbent GOP Sen. David Perdue (43%) and his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff (44%).
A WSB-TV /Landmark Communications poll of 600 likely voters released Friday also found Perdue (47%) and Ossoff (46%in a virtual tie) and Warnock leading by 10-points in the special election. A University of Georgia survey found Perdue well ahead of Ossoff, 49%-41%, but still 1 point shy of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.
Montana: Poll finds Daines with big lead over Bullock
Former Gov. Steve Bullock has won three statewide elections in Montana, which Trump won by 20 points in 2016, but he is trailing far behind in his quest to do it a fourth time against incumbent GOP Sen. Steve Daines, according to an Emerson College poll conducted Oct. 5-7.
That poll found Daines up 9 points over Bullock, 52%-43%, among likely voters.
Election legitimacy doubts, fears of violence
A YouGov poll of 1,999 registered voters found that nearly half – 47% – disagree with the idea that the election "is likely to be fair and honest." And that slightly more than half – 51% – won't "generally agree on who is the legitimately elected president of the United States."
And 56% said they expect to see "an increase in violence as a result of the election."
Biden seen as more caring
Almost two in three (64%) Americans say Biden cares about those who lost their job, while just more than half (52%) say the same about Trump, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project.
Trump gets lowest rating yet on COVID response
Americans' approval of Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic has reached its lowest point in a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll since the outbreak first began to hit the U.S.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 6-8, after the president left the hospital where he had been treated for COVID-19 and returned to the White House. It found 38% approve and 59% disapprove of Trump's handling of the public health crisis.
Should we trust polls after the upset in 2016?
Though experts caution that polls should be viewed as a snapshot in time, they say there are multiple reasons they are unlikely to see the same volatility and unreliability they seemed to suffer from in 2016 – also noting that many national polls were not far off that year.
One big reason: there are few undecided voters this year. Another: while Clinton's lead was shrinking at this stage in 2016, Biden's is growing.
Contributing: Rebecca Morin and Ledyard King, USA TODAY; Meredith Newman, Delaware News Journal