The Day in Polls: Polling calm before the final debate.

If you, as a poll lover, spent your weekend indoors on a beautiful fall day, working and waiting for polls — I’m speaking only hypothetically — I’m sorry to report that you were not rewarded for your patience. There weren’t many polls, and those we did receive didn’t change our understanding of the race.

Why didn’t we get anything? You can blame the second presidential debate. It was supposed to be last week — instead, we had the dueling town halls Thursday — so most pollsters would have wanted to wrap up their surveys on Wednesday or start anew on Friday. A poll that started on Friday wouldn’t be done until early this week.

What we did get. To repeat, not much. The main event: YouGov/CBS polls of Arizona and Wisconsin. These were relatively solid results for President Trump compared with our averages, with Joe Biden ahead by just three in Arizona and by five in Wisconsin.

That said, one thing to note about CBS/YouGov polls is their stability: I don’t believe they’ve ever had Mr. Biden ahead by more than three in Arizona or six in Wisconsin. The results Sunday are right about at those highs, even though they’re worse than the average of other polls. So while I don’t think they count as great results for Mr. Biden, they also don’t really count as evidence of a shift in the race.

The weeks ahead. As dull as the weekend was in the world of polling, I expect things to heat up in the days ahead. With many pollsters beginning surveys on Friday, we’ll probably see a steady increase in the number of polls early this week, peaking right ahead of the debate Thursday.

Then you can expect another lull, as we wait for pollsters to wrap up the surveys that began immediately after that debate. Then the fun begins: a big wave of final polls from just about every pollster, starting maybe a week from Tuesday right up until the election. That ought to give us a clear picture of the race heading into election night.

Oddly, the calendar (we’re 16 days away from the election) could cut against the value of this week’s surveys. If you’re a pollster, would you rather have your final Pennsylvania poll this week, or the week before the election? You’re probably not doing both.

Early this week: NYT/Siena in Georgia and the U.S. We’ll have more to say about timing soon, but probably not on Monday.

Today was a mostly quiet day in the world of polling, but with results from some pollsters we don’t usually comment on much. So what did we get?

It was a somewhat curious batch of polls. If you didn’t look closely, you might view it as one of the president’s best polling days in weeks, at least at the state level. But it turned out that many of the state results Friday were from the pollsters who tend to give President Trump his best results.

A better day for President Trump? An even race in Florida? Up one in Michigan? Down just five in Pennsylvania? Those are poll results President Trump would be thrilled to have right now, as most polls show him at a significant disadvantage nationwide and in the critical battleground states. But for the most part, these aren’t a relatively favorable set of poll results for him — they’re simply results from a relatively favorable set of polling firms.

Trafalgar Group showed Mr. Trump up by one point in Michigan, but Trafalgar lands pretty consistently about six points to the right of the national average. It’s the clearest partisan tilt of any polling firm this cycle.

HarrisX doesn’t lean quite as far to the right as Trafalgar, but it has been about four points to the right of the national average since the first debate. Over that period, it has had two national polls showing Joe Biden up just five and seven points. In that context, its polls showing Mr. Biden up by 11 in Michigan, five in Pennsylvania and tied in Florida seem pretty standard — and that Michigan result would be great for Mr. Biden by any standard.

Even if they were accurate. Just pretend for a second that these better polls for the president were dead-on. Even then, Mr. Biden is ahead.

Another strong day for Biden nationwide. We’re getting pretty used to national polls showing Mr. Biden up by at least 10 points. All but one national poll fell into that category Friday. That one exception — an IBD/TIPP poll showing a six-point Biden lead — was a bit closer than we’ve seen in a while, but it’s a three-point improvement from an earlier survey by the firm.

Still, of all the polls Friday, this IBD/TIPP poll was the one that could be most easily taken as a sign of a somewhat tighter race, as the poll was also conducted relatively recently, from Oct. 11-15. But it’s still just one poll — and a fairly unusual one that has tended to be better for the president than most national polls. It’s an odd mix of telephone and online samples, and it’s not very transparent about its approach.

And there happened to be another recent national poll that was just as recent: Biden +10 from Ipsos.

A close race in Alaska. We released this at 1 p.m. sharp today; I did not have to eat my hat.

Next week. Georgia and a national poll. We’ll try to squeeze at least another survey in before the debate on Thursday, but we’ll see how productive we are over the next few days.

State of the race at the end of the day. Not much different than where we started. And the election is a day nearer.

Trump holds six-point lead. In the Senate contest, the Republican Dan Sullivan is up by eight.

We’ve talked a lot recently about how the polls have lagged behind the news. Events were moving so fast that by the time the polls had measured the state of public opinion after something like a debate, the news had already moved on to the next big thing, like the president’s coronavirus diagnosis.

Now the news has slowed a bit and the polls are finally caught up. Just before Thursday night’s dueling town halls, we were left with an unmistakable picture: The president trails badly, even though his negative news cycles, like the first debate or his coronavirus hospitalization, are well in the rearview mirror.

Nothing good for Trump nationwide. We got a lot of national polls on Thursday, perhaps in part because some had been scheduled to be released ahead of the now-canceled second debate. Whatever the reason, they weren’t good for the president. Not at all.

Most obviously, the polls show Joe Biden ahead by more than 10 points — that’s about the same as our average. President Trump’s best result is, what, down by just eight points? That would have been an above-average result for Mr. Biden just a few weeks ago, and now it counts as good news for the president. It’s a stark reminder of how much the race has changed in just a short period.

Less obvious: There’s no sign that things are getting better for President Trump. There’s no hint of tightening. No way to credibly construe the numbers as much better for the president than the average, or better than the prior edition of these polls. You could note that the venerable NBC/WSJ poll shows Mr. Biden up 11 points, down from its previous survey after the first debate, when it had the lead at 14. But that previous result looked as if it was running pretty hot for Mr. Biden, and it’s a lot easier to interpret the new result as expected movement back toward the overall average, rather than as an actual shift toward Mr. Trump.

The trend line and the clock. If you’re a fan of the president, you had some reason to be cautiously optimistic that the polls might trend your way this week. It’s hard to sustain a 10- point lead in this polarized era, and the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings had the potential to finally offer a positive news cycle.

Instead, we’ve gone yet another week without much evidence that the president’s standing has improved. Mr. Trump doesn’t have many opportunities left.

What happened in state polling. Again, I’d advise you to scan the far right column of the poll table, which shows how much a poll result is different from the 2016 election result. Today, you’ll see lots of +8D and +9D — consistent with Mr. Biden’s national lead.

That said, the state polls were still a bit better for the president than his national numbers. That’s been something of a trend in the last few weeks, and it’s hard to say why. It could be something about the demographic makeup of the well-polled battleground states. It could reflect the robust campaigning in those states, including relentless television advertisements. Or it could just be because the pollsters are different.

Medium-blue Arizona. The polls in Arizona have been pretty split over the last month or so, with some showing a very competitive race, and others showing Mr. Biden far ahead. But Thursday, there was a rare consensus in the state from two pollsters who seemed to differ by a lot last month. OH Predictive Insights, which showed Mr. Biden up by 10 last month, found Mr. Biden up by four. A Monmouth poll also showed Mr. Biden up by four points (averaging their high- and low-turnout scenarios), after showing him up by two points last month. The big picture in the race remains essentially unchanged — a meaningful though not overwhelming Biden lead — but it is nice to see a little more of a consensus.

Friday, 1 p.m. Eastern: Alaska. Sadly, we never did get any responses in the arctic town of Utqiagvik, but we did get them as far west as the Yukon Delta and into the Aleutian Islands. (I assure you this poll will be on the internet at 1 p.m. or I’ll eat my hat.)

Next week: We conducted our first few interviews in Georgia last night, and we have more polls going into the field this evening. More soon.

We’re getting to the time of election season when we receive a dozen or more poll results a day, so let’s start by zooming out a bit and taking in the big picture. Just scan down the rightmost column of the poll table below, which shows the difference between a given poll result and the outcome of the 2016 election in that state.

To win, all Joe Biden needs is +1D in every state. Today you’ll mostly see numbers like +7D, +8D, +9D and higher still. That’s consistent with the national polls showing him up by 10 points — a +8D over Hillary Clinton’s two-point victory in 2016.

Blue North Carolina. If we start to zoom in a bit, the place where the race snaps into focus most clearly is North Carolina, where a Times/Siena poll Wednesday found Mr. Biden up by four points. The poll is part of a recent North Carolina survey boomlet: eight North Carolina polls released over the last 48 hours. They collectively show Mr. Biden ahead by a narrow but consistent margin of around three points.

This isn’t the first time this cycle that so many pollsters have decided to weigh in on a state at the same time. There was a big wave of polls in Wisconsin and Minnesota after the Republican convention, and then a big wave of polls of Pennsylvania before and after the first debate. It shouldn’t be too surprising: Many firms are motivated by the same considerations, and in this case I’d guess the revelations about the Democratic Senate nominee Cal Cunningham’s texts to a woman who wasn’t his wife were the precipitating factor. Mr. Cunningham nonetheless led in every poll over this period.

We can focus on the details of these polls all day, but the main takeaway is clear. North Carolina may be one of the six core battleground states, but it’s the most conservative one. Mitt Romney won it in 2012, and President Trump won it by four points in 2016. If the president is clearly behind in his best core battleground, he’s in real trouble. Or if you prefer: If he’s in trouble here, he’s probably in bigger trouble elsewhere, like Pennsylvania.

Eyes-a-poppin’ in Georgia. Yesterday I said we shouldn’t raise our eyebrows at every outlier that comes our way, but as you zoom in even further I’d guess your eyes probably caught a striking Quinnipiac result in Georgia, which showed Mr. Biden up by seven points.

This poll is a bit of an outlier, but not as far as Quinnipiac polls are concerned. They’ve shown some spectacular results for Mr. Biden in recent weeks, particularly in the South. They had Mr. Biden leading by 11 points in Florida and trailing by just one point in South Carolina, which Mr. Trump won by double digits in 2016.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on here. If you peer into the crosstabs across the recent Quinnipiac polls, it’s clear they have Mr. Biden doing extremely well — unrealistically well, compared with just about every other poll — among white voters without a degree across the South. But that’s more like identifying the symptom rather than the cause. What’s clear is that these polls seem to systematically tilt toward Mr. Biden. That’s probably not intentional, but it does mean you should take it with a grain of salt.

Blue Georgia? Of course, even if you took seven points off Mr. Biden’s lead in the Quinnipiac poll, it would qualify as a good result for him. And indeed, Data for Progress and SurveyUSA polls showed Mr. Biden tied or up by two points in Georgia. Those count as good and realistic results for him, and they’re hardly the only polls to show him well positioned. Indeed, Mr. Biden leads by two points on average in the state, making him a fairly clear if still narrow favorite to win the state if the election were held today.

Democrats have salivated over the prospect of turning Georgia blue for the first time since Bill Clinton won it in 1992, particularly after Stacey Abrams narrowly lost a contentious governor’s race two years ago. But Mr. Biden’s progress in the polls here isn’t much of a surprise. Mr. Trump fared relatively poorly in Georgia in 2016; he won the state by only five points. That made Georgia less than two points to the right of North Carolina, which everyone considers a serious battleground state. Georgia is growing rapidly, and its diverse and well-educated population has long posed an obvious risk to the Republicans, even before Mr. Trump’s victory put the state a mere seven points to the right of the nation as a whole. Now that national polls show Mr. Biden running eight points ahead of Mrs. Clinton, why wouldn’t Mr. Biden have the edge in the state?

A bad day for the G.O.P. Senate. We usually focus on the presidential race, but it’s worth taking note of a few Senate results: Besides Mr. Cunningham’s lead in North Carolina, the Democrat Steve Bullock leads in a quality poll of Montana. And Democrats appear highly competitive in both Georgia Senate contests. Together, it puts the G.O.P. path to a majority in quite a bit of trouble.

What about the rest of the country? Well, we got a poll or two from most everywhere else, and just about everything was in line with what we thought heading into the day: a big Biden lead nationwide, a comfortable lead in the most hotly contested Midwestern battlegrounds, and a more modest edge in Sun Belt battlegrounds like Florida or Arizona.

Thursday, 1 p.m. Eastern. A Times/Siena poll in South Carolina. We’ll announce the link here first. (If you are signed up for notifications, using the module at the top of the page, you’ll be the first to know.)

Friday, 1 p.m. Eastern A Times/Siena poll of Alaska. It’s a notoriously tough state to poll, but so far I’m happy with the geographic and demographic distribution of the responses we’ve gotten, with one exception: no responses yet in Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow. Perhaps tonight we’ll do better.

State of the race: Another bad day for the president, and for the likelihood of a Republican Senate majority in 2021.

We got a lot of polls today, from more than a dozen states, including from most of the top battlegrounds. You might think such a bounty of polls would yield new insights about the state of the race, or help answer questions we have three weeks from the election.

There were certainly a few eyebrow-raising results, but if you took all of the polls together, you wound up in about the same place you started the day: a significant lead for Joe Biden.

Clearer picture in North Carolina. Of the top-tier battleground states, North Carolina is probably thought to be the toughest nut for Mr. Biden to crack. On Tuesday, we received four polls of the state, and they suggested he leads President Trump by about three points on average — pretty close to our polling average.

Maybe even more important was the result in the Senate race, where the Democrat, Cal Cunningham, continued to hold a considerable lead across all four surveys, even after he admitted to sending flirtatious text messages to a woman who was not his wife. The G.O.P. path to control of the Senate is narrow if Mr. Cunningham continues to hold a clear advantage.

Biden’s lead in U.S.C. panel reaches a high. The U.S.C./Dornsife poll is out every day, so we don’t usually discuss it much. But on Tuesday, Mr. Biden held his largest lead yet — 13 points — since the poll began releasing data in mid-August.

The U.S.C./Dornsife poll is a panel, so most shifts ought to be because of changes in the attitudes of voters, not changes in the composition sample. Because the pollsters are recontacting the same voters every two weeks or so, you can get a particularly sound comparison if you look back to the result from that long ago. Back then, Mr. Biden was up by just 10 points in the survey. And what happened two weeks ago? The first presidential debate.

A lot from Morning Consult. In addition to its poll in North Carolina, Morning Consult released a host of state and national polls, and they’re mostly in line with polling averages — if arguably a bit better for Mr. Trump, at least nationwide. Morning Consult is representative of a new group of state polls this election: online polls that weight by how respondents recall voting in the 2016 election. So, if a state voted for Hillary Clinton by two points, the poll respondents who say they voted for her should outnumber those who say they voted for Mr. Trump by two.

Weighting on recalled past vote is often seen as a bit of a crutch for having poor data (I could probably interview a bunch of folks in New York City who voted for Mrs. Clinton by an 80-20 margin; weight them to Clinton 48, Trump 46; and have a perfectly plausible “national poll” result.) But this cycle, the approach does seem to be yielding fairly plausible results — not just from Morning Consult, but from a long list of less prolific firms employing a similar approach.

Wait, Biden’s up how much in what poll? Often people ask me about surprising results from obscure polling firms, like the West Virginia poll from Research America Inc., or a national poll from Opinium, which both showed great results for Mr. Biden. I understand why people are curious about results like these, but I don’t spend too much time thinking about them. We know from a lot of other surveys that Mr. Biden probably isn’t up 17 points nationwide, or approaching 40 percent support in West Virginia.

And that big picture is … Mr. Biden is ahead, and his lead is either holding steady or widening.

If there’s a question about Joe Biden’s commanding lead in the polls, it’s whether he’s doing quite as well in the battleground states (and therefore the Electoral College) as he is in national surveys. On Sunday, I wrote that there were at least some signs of a split between the two groups of surveys. Today, there were fewer of those signs.

Times/Siena in Michigan and Wisconsin. If we may say so ourselves, the big polling news of the day was probably our New York Times/Siena surveys in Michigan and Wisconsin, where Mr. Biden led by eight and 10 points. There’s no sugarcoating these results for President Trump. His deficits were fueled largely by voters who said they had flipped to Mr. Biden after voting for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Together, the results show Mr. Biden running about 9.5 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s performance in 2016. That’s about the same margin that the national polls have been showing since the first debate. The Times/Siena poll in Wisconsin found Mr. Biden running five points ahead of his lead in our previous survey, the biggest shift we’ve seen in our post-debate polling so far.

Biden inching forward in Reuters/Ipsos state polls. Last month, the Reuters/Ipsos polls counted as some of Mr. Trump’s best results in the battlegrounds. They weren’t even so bad for the president a week ago, after the debate. But the newest Reuters/Ipsos polls in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin show Mr. Biden up seven points in each state, representing a two- and one-point increase in his lead since their last polls, immediately after the presidential debate.

Like the Times/Siena results, these are bad numbers for the president, and they’re fairly consistent with the national surveys. Taken together, it’s a meaningful — if not definitive — strike against the possibility that Mr. Biden has made relatively few gains in the battleground states.

Another day without a Trump comeback. There was no sign of a Trump comeback in the national polls, either.

Yahoo/YouGov and RMG Research polls were unchanged since their previous surveys, which both showed eight-point leads for Mr. Biden soon after the first debate. IBD/TIPP showed Mr. Biden up nine percentage points, up from a three-point lead after the first debate. At least some of Mr. Biden’s gains in the IBD/TIPP poll may be attributable to methodological changes, but there’s no way around the fact that the poll was once a bright spot for the president, and now it’s not.

U.S.C. Dornsife’s national tracking poll continues to show Mr. Biden’s lead expanding, and it now shows him with his largest lead since the Republican convention. One thing to remember is that this poll has a 14-day field period, so there are still interviews in this data from before the debate. Mr. Biden’s lead might keep growing until those days have been cycled out entirely.

State of the race: The president faces a daunting deficit with just over three weeks to go, and every day that goes by without some kind of good news for him, whether in the headlines or in the numbers, is another lost opportunity at a comeback.

Only a few firms released surveys over the weekend. What we did get was not good news for the president.

Another double-digit lead. An ABC/Washington Post poll found President Trump trailing by 12 points on Sunday, a result we would have called an outlier two weeks ago but now fits within the balance of national post-debate polling.

After the 12-point margin, the next most important thing about the ABC/Post poll might be when it was conducted: entirely after the president’s release from the hospital, and partly after the vice-presidential debate. We’ll have to wait for confirmation from other polls, but this result suggests that neither event did much to help the president get back in the race.

Spotting the state-national split. One emerging pattern has been that the president isn’t doing quite as poorly in state polls as he is in national ones, and that trend continued this weekend.

An easy way to see this national/battleground split: Compare the numbers in the far-right column with the other numbers in the tables above; the column shows how the poll findings compare with the 2016 election result. As you can see, in today’s national polls, Joe Biden is running about 10 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s election result, but the battleground state polls are typically shifting several points less than that, which is why you see lots of 6s and 7s in that column above.

That smaller difference qualifies as relatively good news for Mr. Trump. If he’s down by only six points in Michigan, then you can still imagine how a late break his way and another polling error might help him squeak out a win. That’s not so different from what happened four years ago. But if he’s down by 10, as the national polls suggest, he will need something that goes well beyond what happened four years ago.

State of the race. President Trump is running out of time to mount a comeback, so every day that the averages stay where they are is a bad day for him.

Up next. On Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern, we’ll release the results of Times/Siena polls of Michigan and Wisconsin. Later in the week we’ll have polls of North Carolina, South Carolina and Alaska.

The polling lull continues. Many organizations like to begin polls after a debate — the vice-presidential debate was Wednesday — and they won’t wrap up for a few days. But the data we did get today hinted at the possibility that things are starting to level off for the president.

The bleeding is stopping? After a week of beyond awful numbers for President Trump, Friday’s polls suggest that, at the very least, his standing isn’t getting any worse.

Joe Biden’s lead in the U.S.C. tracking poll fell to 10.5 percent from 10.9 percent. That’s not much, but the poll has a 14-day field period — meaning that one-day changes will be pretty modest, even if there’s a significant change in the race. The new Ipsos poll shows Mr. Biden up by 12 percentage points among likely voters, unchanged since its survey from Oct. 2-6.

And a Landmark Communications poll in Georgia shows Mr. Trump up by two points, one week after it showed Mr. Biden up two in the state. Now, that could easily prove to be statistical noise. But there’s a chance we look back and see this, along with the day’s other polls, as one of the earliest signs that the president had begun to reverse some of his post-debate and post-coronavirus-diagnosis losses.

Better polls for Trump in the Sun Belt. The Landmark poll wasn’t the only survey to show the president leading in a Sun Belt battleground. Three other polls, of varying quality, also showed the president ahead in Georgia, Texas and Arizona. There’s not much need to dig deep on these polls individually, though I will note that the University of Georgia poll is pretty similar to Times/Siena polls methodologically.

These results are not necessarily much for the president to brag about, but it’s certainly a different story than polls showing Mr. Biden ahead by 12 points or more nationally would seem to imply.

What about Redfield & Wilton? You might have noticed surveys from Redfield & Wilton Strategies. This is a British polling outfit, and it joins a few other international firms — like the Montreal-based Leger — in dipping its toes into the U.S. polling scene this cycle. The Redfield & Wilton polls appear to be conducted online, like most British polls, but there isn’t a ton of methodological detail here. Anyway, I wouldn’t dismiss them out of hand, even if there isn’t much cause for any great confidence either.

State of the race. Mr. Biden retains a commanding lead, but for the first time in a while the day’s polls weren’t borderline apocalyptic for Republicans. It’ll be interesting to see whether this is just a blip, or whether it foretells a return to something like the state of play before the president’s coronavirus diagnosis.

The day after a presidential (or vice-presidential) debate is usually a pretty quiet period for polling. Many pollsters like to start a poll after a debate is over, so today is a nice opportunity to take stock of the race.

Biden’s double-digit lead. Our national polling average on Thursday shows President Trump trailing by 10 percentage points — his largest deficit of the campaign. It sounds bad for him, but there have actually been several national polls in recent days showing him faring much worse, including today’s Data for Progress poll showing him trailing by 15.

Joe Biden’s nine-point lead in the Morning Consult poll counts as one of the president’s best national polls in recent days.

It’s not just Biden’s margin. We usually focus on the difference between the two candidates, but it’s worth taking note of vote share from time to time, and right now Mr. Biden’s share of the vote is up to 52 percent in our average.

That’s a pretty big deal. If the numbers held, Mr. Trump would still lose the national vote by at least five points even if all of the undecided vote went his way.

Some of Mr. Biden’s gains seem as if they might be durable. If his rise could mainly be attributed to a decline in Mr. Trump’s support, rather than an increase in his own, you could assume that most of Mr. Trump’s former supporters would ultimately return to the president’s side during a better news cycle. But that’s not all that has happened here.

It’s hard to stress how rare it is for a presidential candidate in the modern era to have such a high share of the vote at this stage. Just go back through the last decade of Real Clear Politics averages, and you’ll find there’s only one instance when a candidate eclipsed Mr. Biden’s 52 percent over the final few months of a race: Barack Obama on the day of the 2008 election.

The state polls were weird. Maybe it’s not too surprising that most of the polls we got today — during a survey dead spot — were fairly odd.

Most were from partisan firms, and it’s usually worth taking those with a grain of salt. One of the few nonpartisan results — from Insider Advantage in Florida — was released exclusively to the Fox News commentator Sean Hannity and sponsored by Matt Towery Sr., a former Republican in the Georgia House of Representatives. So that’s not exactly what you’d think of as a nonpartisan poll. Another nonpartisan result, a St. Anselm College poll of New Hampshire, had far too many college graduates represented in its sample, which can tend to bias a poll toward Democrats. All considered, there weren’t many state polls worth thinking too much about.

State of the race: Mr. Biden took a commanding lead after the first debate and the president’s coronavirus diagnosis. It will be a few more days until we can get a sense of whether the vice- presidential debate or Mr. Trump’s release from the hospital has helped the president claw back into the race.

Our poll averages include all polls collected by FiveThirtyEight. The estimates adjust for a variety of factors, including whether a poll represents likely voters, whether other polls have shifted since a poll was conducted, and whether a pollster has leaned toward one candidate in a state or nationwide. Polls are weighted by recency, sample size, and by whether they’re conducted by a firm with a track record of success. More details here. Source for polls: FiveThirtyEight polling database. * In Maine and Nebraska, two electoral votes are apportioned to the winner of the state popular vote, and the rest of the votes are given to the winner of the popular vote in each congressional district. (Maine has two congressional districts, and Nebraska has three.) † Poll error in 2016 is calculated using averages of state polls conducted within three weeks of Election Day.


News – The Day in Polls: Polling calm before the final debate.