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Biden leads Trump by 8 points in WSJ/NBC News poll

By The SATimes News Service

Washington: In a year dominated by coronavirus, racial unrest and general tumult,  the race for the White House has remained remarkably stable, with former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining his lead over President Trump, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.

Some 51% of registered voters nationally say they would vote for Biden if the election were held today, while 43% back Trump’s reelection. That 8-point lead remains largely unchanged from a month ago, when Biden had a 9-point advantage, and compares with an 11-point Biden lead in July.

The survey of 1,000 voters was taken Sept. 13-16, before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday added a volatile, new element that could reshape voter priorities. In addition, the three presidential debates are an unpredictable factor in the final weeks of the campaign.

For now, however, most voters say they are settled in their choices. More than 70% say the debates won’t matter much to them, including 44% who say they will not matter at all to their choice.

Fifty-two percent say they plan to vote early, a level bound to test officials in many states that have never processed such high volumes of mailed ballots or early in-person votes.

Voters continue to see Trump as better suited than Biden to manage the economy, 48% to 38%, despite a pandemic that has left millions unemployed.

The president is also bringing together his core constituency, drawing in more establishment Republicans, or those who say they support the party itself more than they support Trump. He also has a more enthusiastic voter base, the poll shows.

On the other hand, Biden now has a 22-point lead over Trump, 51% to 29%, on who is better to manage coronavirus outbreak. Trump has faced sustained criticism for playing down the threat while pushing to reopen the economy.

Overall, the president’s job approval rating is at 45%, up 3 percentage points from July, while 53% disapprove.

Trump is winning male voters overall but by a smaller percentage than Biden is winning women. He is also drawing a smaller share of the white vote than he did in 2016, as recorded by exit polls.

Trump has increasingly turned to a law-and-order message, citing protests in cities over racial-justice issues, citing Biden as too weak to respond to the disorder. But he has only a slight advantage over Biden on who is better to deal with crime and violence, 43% to 41%.

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