Biden surges to 14-point lead over Trump after caustic first debate, poll finds
President Trump chastised Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask during the first presidential debate. USA TODAY
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s national lead against President Donald Trump jumped to a nearly two-to-one margin after Sept. 29’s chaotic presidential debate, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday.
The poll was conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, two days after the disorderly and caustic debate. The poll was completed just before the announcement that Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus and hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Biden now holds a 14-percentage-point lead against the president, with 53% of registered voters backing the Democratic nominee and 39% supporting Trump. The poll shows a 6-point jump for Biden from a Sept. 20 NBC/WSJ poll. Biden's biggest lead in the poll previously was in July at 11 points.
The biggest declines for Trump were among seniors and suburban women, who are now backing Biden 62%-35% and 58%-33%, respectively.
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Forty-nine percent of voters say Biden did a better job at Tuesday’s debate compared to 24% who said Trump performed better. Seventeen percent didn't think either candidate did better than the other.
Overall, 73% of those polled said the debates would have no influence on how they’d vote.
Among those who said Biden performed better, many cited Trump’s performance as poor and off-putting.
"Basically, last night was a snapshot of the last three and a half years. Not being able to say anything about white supremacists, being negative and being unpresidential," one respondent told NBC News.
"I just think it was the same old Trump," said another. "He was bullying."
A voter who thought Trump did better cited "Biden's inability to form any coherent response."
Forty-three percent of voters approve of Trump’s job as president, two points down from the last NBC News/WSJ poll. Fifty-five percent disapprove of the president’s job performance, including 50% who say they strongly disapprove.
Biden’s approval rating rose after the debate, with 43% approving to 41% disapproving, a slight improvement from the last NBC News/WSJ poll.
The poll is also the first NBC News/WSJ conducted since Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Thirty-five percent of voters supported Barrett’s nomination while 33% opposed it. Thirty percent said they did not yet have enough information to form an opinion.
Fifty percent of voters said they preferred the Senate wait to fill the Supreme Court seat until after the election, while 38% want the seat filled immediately.