Trump, Biden Deadlocked in 4 Battleground States, New Survey Finds

August 26, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are all but dead-even in four key battleground states of Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida, according to a new survey of likely voters by Heritage Action.

“We asked voters who they plan to vote for between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Forty-eight percent answered Trump, 48 percent answered Biden,” Heritage Action said in a statement accompanying release of the survey’s results.

“Only 4 percent were undecided. In terms of favorability, both President Trump and Joe Biden were viewed unfavorably by 2 points. In each state, the race is a statistical tie,” the statement said.

The presidential preference results, particularly the low undecided number, suggest Biden’s strong lead nationwide in surveys earlier this year has disappeared.

Things remain much more fluid, however, when voters are asked about their party support preferences. That preference can be a key factor in deciding close congressional races.

“When we asked whether voters plan to support Republicans or Democrats in the upcoming election, the responses were split, with 43 percent supporting either side,” the statement said. “Fourteen percent remained undecided.”

If 14 percent of likely voters in the four states remain undecided through the rest of the summer and into the post-Labor Day campaign run-up to the Nov. 3 election, the Wednesday after voting could bring a huge package of upsets.

The survey interviewed 400 general election likely voters in each state, for a total of 1,600, with a margin of error of 2.45 percent on the full sample and 4.9 percent on the individual states.

The interviews were conducted Aug. 2–4, a three-day period in which violent riots, especially in Portland, Oregon, were continuing into a third month of near-nightly destruction and mayhem.

The riots appeared to have made a deep impression on virtually all of those interviewed for the survey.

When asked if the riots were the result of “years of injustice and inequality” or were being perpetrated by “people who hate America and want to tear down the government,” 49 percent overall agreed with the latter, compared to 42 percent choosing the former.

The same pattern held in the four battleground states, with the percentages being 50–43 in Arizona, 47–42 in Florida, 48–44 in Pennsylvania, and 50–41 in Wisconsin.

When asked specifically if they support “defunding the police,” the results overall and within each of the four states were overwhelmingly opposed. Overall, 79 percent were opposed, including 69 percent who said they are “strongly opposed,” compared to 16 percent who favored such action.

Opposition to defunding the police spanned all age groups, both genders, and the three major ethnicities, including 60 percent among blacks.

In the four states, 82 percent of Arizonans interviewed opposed defunding the police, along with 80 percent of Floridians, 76 percent of Pennsylvanians, and 78 percent of Wisconsinites.

Trump’s job approval ratings overall were strong, with his handling of the economy earning approval from 54 percent and disapproval from 43 percent, for a net 11+ for Trump.

The positive responses of each of the four states to Trump on the economy were also strong, with the approval/disapproval numbers for Arizona being 56–43, as well as 56–44 in Florida, 53–43 in Pennsylvania, and 53–44 in Wisconsin.

The percentages were much closer when respondents were asked their approval or disapproval of Trump overall, with 50 percent saying the former and 48 percent the latter.

Trump’s overall approval rating was on the plus side in Arizona (52–47) and Florida (53–47), but on the negative side in Pennsylvania (49–50) and Wisconsin (48–51).

Biden’s major policy positions don’t appear to be net positives for him, based on the results of a series of “push” questions asked of interviewees.

When told, for example, that “Joe Biden has proposed the single largest tax hike in American history, including raising taxes on the middle class by over $2,000 a year for the average family of four,” 53 percent of respondents said they were less likely to vote for the former vice president.

The survey also asked interviewees about their opinions on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), aka “AOC.”

The responses were nearly identical and strongly negative for both Pelosi and AOC, with 53 percent disapproving of the Speaker and 40 percent approving. For AOC, the numbers were 45–31, with 10 percent saying they had never heard of her.

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