Biden Continues to Lead across All Battleground States According to CNBC/Change Research “States of Play” Poll

Latest CNBC/Change Research Poll Shows Race Tightening in Pennsylvania and North Carolina with Less Than Two Weeks to Election

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., October 21, 2020 – Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden is maintaining his lead in six key battleground states as President Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest point since late August, according to the latest CNBC and Change Research joint “States of Play” poll.

The poll, conducted October 16-October 19, shows Biden leading (50% vs. 46%) across all six major battleground states (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), a position he has maintained since mid-summer. The race, however, is beginning to change in some states. Biden led Trump by 8 points in Pennsylvania back in July, but the President has since closed the gap to just 2 points (Biden 49% vs. Trump 47%). In North Carolina, Trump was leading Biden by 1 point in mid-August, but Biden has since maintained a narrow but steady lead of 3 points since September (Biden 50% vs. Trump 47%). The gap in Michigan is widening with Biden now leading the President (51% vs. 44%), a state Trump led by 8 points back in March.

Additionally, Trump’s job approval among likely battleground voters hit its lowest since the “States of Play” poll release in late August (46% approve, 54% disapprove) while beliefs on how he has handled the economy has been steady the last two weeks (49% approve, 51% disapprove). When asked who would do a better job recovering from a recession, 51% of likely battleground voters say Biden/Democrats and 49% say Trump/Republicans.

CNBC and Change Research polled more than 2,900 likely general election voters from the six previously noted battleground states, as well as over 2,700 likely general election voters nationally, to determine economic sentiment amongst voters. Additional key findings from the most recent CNBC/Change Research “States of Play” poll include:

  • With two weeks until Election Day, 38% of battleground likely voters say that they have already voted.
  • When asked when respondents believe we will know who won the presidential election, 29% of likely battleground voters say we will know on election night, 44% say within a week, 23% say more than a week and 4% say never.
  • Nearly half of likely battleground voters (49%) are concerned Trump will only accept the results of the presidential election if he wins versus the 37% who say they are concerned Biden wouldn’t accept losing results.
  • 66% of likely battleground voters say the economy is struggling and more financial relief from Washington is needed, while 34% of voters say the economy is recovering and no more financial relief is needed.
  • Likely battleground voters are split when asked who they blame for the failure to pass new a COVID-19 relief package.
    • 45% say they blame Trump/Congressional Republicans
    • 44% say they blame Pelosi/Congressional Democrats
  • The majority of likely voters in the battleground say that instead of filling the Supreme Court vacancy, the top priority for the U.S. Senate right now should be providing more economic relief and funds for combatting COVID-19 (62% COVID-19 relief, 38% SCOTUS).
  • 55% of likely battleground voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of COVID-19, the highest since mid-September
    • A 53% majority of likely battleground voters also continue to say that Biden and Democrats would do a better job handling COVID-19.
  • 49% of likely battleground voters are favorable towards the Affordable Care Act, while 43% are unfavorable
  • When asked how they felt about health care costs over the next year, 48% of likely battleground voters said they were confident/optimistic, up 3 points since the last poll, while 52% responded worried/uncertain.
  • 55% of likely battleground voters believe Biden and the Democrats would do a better job protecting pre-existing conditions and 45% said Trump and the Republicans would do a better job. And, 53% of likely battleground voters think Biden and the Democrats would do a better job making health care more affordable while 47% said Trump and the Republicans would do a better job.
  • 68% of likely battleground voters have serious concerns about COVID-19, down 4 points since the last poll
    • When asked about the impact of COVID-19, 40% of likely battleground voters say things are getting better, while 48% believe things are getting worse, up 15 points since the beginning of September.
    • 76% of likely battleground voters said they know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, up 2 points since the last poll and 16 points since mid-July.
  • When asked how likely you are to get a vaccine for COVID-19 when one becomes available, 40% of likely battleground voters responded yes, up from 36% in late September, but still down from a high of 50% in May.

CNBC Washington D.C. Correspondent Eamon Javers and Reporter Kayla Tausche will reveal the results of the CNBC/Change Research “States of Play Poll” today, Wednesday, October 21 throughout CNBC’s Business Day programming with additional coverage on-air tomorrow, Thursday, October 22.

For more information on the survey including the full results and methodology and in-depth articles, go to:


Between October 16-19, 2020, Change Research surveyed 2,711 likely general election voters nationally and 2,949 likely general election voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The margin of error as traditionally calculated among the national sample is ±1.88% and among the battleground sample is ±1.8%. Change Research reaches voters via targeted online ads that point people to an online survey instrument. Its Dynamic Online Sampling establishes and continuously rebalances advertising targets across region, age, gender, race, and partisanship to dynamically deliver large samples that accurately reflect the demographics of a population. In the national survey and the survey of battleground states, post-stratification was done on gender, age, region, education, race, and 2016 presidential vote.

For additional methodological information, visit

For more information contact:


Jennifer Dauble


Change Research

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