Biden maintains lead over Trump in 2020 swing states, new CNBC/Change Research poll says

Key Points
  • Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump in a poll of swing states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll. 
  • Respondents disapprove of how Trump is managing the coronavirus and prefer Biden to handle the pandemic, as the outbreak rages in the South and West.
  • Biden has held a steady lead in polls in the last month after Trump led in the swing states in March and April. 
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about his plans for tackling climate change during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, July 14, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters

Former Vice President Joe Biden is holding on to his lead over President Donald Trump in six 2020 swing states as voters give the president low marks on how he has handled a range of issues, according to a new CNBC/Change Research poll.

Biden holds an edge over Trump in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while the rivals are virtually tied in North Carolina, the survey released Wednesday found. Biden leads Trump by 49% to 43% among all respondents in the six states, while Libertarian and Green Party candidates Jo Jorgensen and Howie Hawkins get 4% and 1% of support, respectively. Nationally, Biden leads Trump 51% to 41%.

Here's how Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and the Republican Trump matched up in individual states: 

  • Arizona: Biden 51%, Trump 45% 
  • Florida: Biden 50%, Trump 43% 
  • Michigan: Biden 48%, Trump 42% 
  • North Carolina: Biden 47%, Trump 46% 
  • Pennsylvania: Biden 50%, Trump 42% 
  • Wisconsin: Biden 48%, Trump 42% 

Recent versions of the poll, taken every two weeks, show a race that has momentarily swung in Biden's favor as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the United States. It marks a shift from CNBC/Change Research surveys taken in March and April, which showed Trump leading Biden in most of the swing states. 

The poll released Wednesday surveyed 4,332 likely voters across the six states from Friday to Sunday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. 

The poll underscores dissatisfaction with how Trump is managing his presidency — even in six states that he won in 2016. The battlegrounds, which include coronavirus hot spots Arizona and Florida, will likely once again determine who wins the White House this year. 

Across the six states, a majority of voters approves of how Trump is handling only one issue: the stock market. Here are the marks likely voters gave Trump on how he is managing seven key issues:

  • The coronavirus: 43% approve, 57% disapprove (in Florida, the current epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, only 40% of respondents approve of the job Trump is doing)
  • The economy: 48% approve, 52% disapprove (nationally, Trump is at 46% approval and 54% disapproval on the economy)
  • Helping your pocketbook: 47% approve, 53% disapprove 
  • The stock market: 51% approve, 49% disapprove 
  • Immigration: 45% approve, 55% disapprove 
  • Ensuring economic relief for Covid-19 goes to those who need it most, rather than the wealthy and well-connected: 47% approve, 53% disapprove 
  • Making America respected around the globe: 45% approve, 55% disapprove 

The negative views on Trump's job performance come as he has played down the roiling health and economic crises caused by spikes in coronavirus case across the South and West. The U.S. seven-day average of new infections topped 60,000 for the first time on Monday.

What investors need to know about Biden's economic vision
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As the president urges states to kickstart their economies as swiftly as possible, the outbreak has forced them to reconsider their reopening plans. California on Monday ordered the closure of all bars, dine-in restaurants and a range of other indoor activities as the case count in the most populous U.S. state surges. 

 In the six swing states, voters trust Biden more than Trump to address several key issues. On handling the coronavirus, 54% responded that Biden and Democrats would do a better job, while 46% chose Trump and the GOP. 

Majorities of 55% and 53%, respectively, said Biden and Democrats would do a better job of making health care more affordable and putting the middle class first. Voters were evenly split on who would better handle the economy. 

— Graphic by CNBC's John Schoen

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