Biden Leads Trump Nationally, Falls Behind in Battleground States

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks to the press in Philadelphia on March 10. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(CN) — Though Democratic Party front-runner Joe Biden leads Trump by 5 points nationwide, President Donald Trump remains ahead in the battleground states, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

To conduct the CNN poll, research firm SSRS called 1,112 U.S. adults — 1,001 of whom were registered voters — at their landlines and cell phones between May 7 and May 10 to determine respondents’ opinion of Trump and his challengers.

Of all the 1,001 U.S. adults registered to vote, 51% said they would be “more likely to vote” for Biden over Trump if the election were held today, while only 46% endorsed the Republican incumbent over the former vice president.

This is a significantly slimmer nationwide lead than Biden enjoyed when SSRS asked the same question in early April, when the pollsters found that 53% were more likely to vote Biden, an 11-point lead over Trump’s 42%.

But the 583 adults from battleground states were more skeptical of a Biden presidency. Of these respondents, 52% favored Trump, while Biden lagged 7 points behind at 45%.

This disparity is greater than that subset’s margin of sampling error, which sits at plus-or-minus 5.3 percentage points. The survey’s methodology does not specify whether these 583 adults were all registered voters, however, or if this number includes the polled U.S. adults not registered to vote.

According to the poll, 95% of Democrats back Biden and 95% of Republicans support Trump, and the key difference is made in the middle: 50% of registered independents — in any state, battleground or otherwise — said they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, compared to the 46% of registered independents who would cast a ballot for Biden.

Researchers defined the battleground states as those 15 that were decided by 8 points or fewer in the 2016 general election, namely Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Callers also asked about how the total sample — U.S. adults, registered and unregistered — felt about the candidates. Of all adults surveyed, 43% said they had a favorable opinion of Trump, while 55% expressed an unfavorable opinion of the president.

Biden enjoyed a 45% favorability rating, though 46% said they viewed him unfavorably. More were undecided on Biden, 5%, than on Trump, about whom only 2% said they had no opinion.

The margin of sampling error for questions posed to all respondents is plus-or-minus 3.7%.

During the calls, the pollsters asked respondents about a number of other presidential candidates, whose names were read to respondents in random order: Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Gretchen Whitmer and Justin Amash, who seeks the Libertarian Party’s vote,

Notably, the survey did not ask respondents about former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in early April.

According to 49% of respondents, 73-year-old Trump “has the stamina and sharpness to be president,” a quality only 46% of those polled attributed to the 77-year-old Biden, whose age and mental aptitude is frequently the target of critics’ mockery.

But researchers also asked about other characteristics — whether the candidate would unite the country, was honest and trustworthy, cared more “about people like you,” was able to effectively management government and could be trusted in a crisis — and Biden won each of these contests, by as much as a 15-point margin and only as little as a 6-point lead.

The CNN-SSRS poll also asked registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents what they would like to see in a pick for vice president. Experience as an executive, racial and ethnic diversity, experience as a legislator and ideological balance topped respondents’ lists of what was most important for Biden’s VP to exhibit in the Oval Office.

The Republican and Democratic front-runners’ April fundraising efforts nearly tied at close to $61 million apiece.

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