WASHINGTON – Joe Biden’s national lead over President Donald Trump nearly doubled after Tuesday’s presidential debate. According to a new poll by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, voters said by a 2-1 lead that Biden has the better temperament to be president.
The poll was conducted in the two days following the unruly and insulting debate on September 29, but before Trump tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.
The Democratic candidate is now 14 points ahead of Trump, 53 percent to 39 percent, among registered voters ̵
This 14-point advantage is Biden’s biggest lead in the NBC News / WSJ poll throughout the 2020 presidential campaign; Its previous high was 11 points in July.
“The clear loser in the debate was Donald Trump,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.
“And at least in the short term, this has damaged his reputation against Joe Biden,” added Horwitt.
However, McInturff, the GOP pollster, warns that the poll could be a “shock to the system” immediately following debate. (For example, Democrats in this survey have a 9-point advantage in identifying parties over 5-6 point advantages in previous surveys.)
As a result, McInturff believes the race could return to the stable 8-9 point lead where it essentially took place in the past few months – which is still a difficult place for an incumbent four weeks before election day.
The biggest declines for Trump in the poll are seniors (who now support Biden by a 62-35 percent lead) and suburban women (58-33 percent).
And men 50 and older switched from a 13-point advantage for Trump in the NBC News / WSJ poll prior to the debate to a 1-point advantage for Biden in this final poll.
Forty-nine percent of voters say Biden did a better job in Tuesday’s debate, which was marked by insults, interruptions, falsehoods and personal assault – most, if not all, of the president.
That’s compared to 24 percent who say Trump performed better.
Another 17 percent say neither did a better job in the debate.
Additionally, 19 percent of voters say they are more likely to support Biden after the debate, while 6 percent say they are more likely to support Trump.
The vast majority – 73 percent – say the debate made no difference in the way they would vote.
Among the 49 percent who say Biden did a better job, many voters cited Trump’s performance when asked what they thought was important in the debate.
“Last night was basically a snapshot of the past three and a half years. I can’t say anything about white supremacists, I’m negative and not presidential, ”said one interviewee.
“I just think it was the same old Trump,” said another voter who thought Biden did a better job. “He bullied.”
Even among the 24 percent who say Trump did the better job, the responses were just as related to the president’s performance as they were to Biden’s.
“I would say Donald Trump admits that he does not support white supremacists and asks the white supremacists to withdraw from the moderator, so to speak. The other important thing was Joe Biden’s inability to form a coherent response, “said one voter who believed Trump did a better job.
“It’s Trump’s debate, not Biden’s debate,” said the democratic pollster Peter Hart, summarizing these voters’ responses.
Biden’s temperament advantage for the presidency
The new NBC News / WSJ poll also shows that Biden has a whopping 32-point advantage where the candidate has the better temperament of being president. 58 percent of voters vote for Biden, while 26 percent vote for Trump.
This leeway is greater than Biden’s advantages over Trump in dealing with racial relations (29 points), in healthcare (19 points) and in the coronavirus (17 points).
Trump maintains his lead over Biden in better handling the economy, but that margin fell from 10 points before the debate (48 to 38 percent) to 7 points in the new poll (48 to 41 percent), despite that change within the Margin of error.
Trump’s approval rating is 43 percent
Forty-three percent of registered voters approve of President Trump’s job performance in the new poll, which is 2 points below the latest NBC News / WSJ poll.
Fifty-five percent disapprove of Trump’s work, including 50 percent who say they strongly disapprove of it.
Trump’s favor also declined in the survey – from 41 percent positive / 52 percent negative before the debate (-11) to 39 percent positive / 55 percent negative now (-16).
Conversely, the survey shows that Biden’s rating of favorability is increasing – from 43 percent positive / 45 percent negative (-2) to 43 percent positive / 41 percent negative after the debate (+2).
First figures in Trump’s election to the Supreme Court
Finally, the poll asked voters about the election of the president to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.
35 percent of registered voters say they support Barrett’s nomination, while 33 percent are against. Another 30 percent say they don’t know enough information about them.
These results are similar to the first NBC / WSJ numbers on the 2018 Trump Supreme Court election of Brett Kavanaugh, which the US Senate upheld with a narrow 50-48 vote.
In a separate question, 50 percent of voters said they would prefer the Senate to wait to occupy the Supreme Court seat until a winner of the upcoming presidential contest is determined, while 38 percent would like to vote before the election.
The NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll was conducted September 30 through October 30. 1 out of 800 registered voters – more than half of whom were reached by mobile phone – and an error rate of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points.