Fox News Poll: Biden tops Trump among likely voters in key states

Democrat Joe Biden is ahead in three key states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, according to new Fox News statewide surveys of Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. 

Support for reelecting Trump falls below his 2016 vote share in each state.  At the same time, there’s room for improvement, as more voters approve of his job performance than back his reelection.

Biden’s advantage comes from strong support among women and suburban voters.  Moreover, suburban women in all three states trust Biden over Trump to handle coronavirus and policing/criminal justice.

Interest in the election is roughly the same among both Biden and Trump supporters. 

In all three states, a sizeable number of voters plan to cast their ballot by mail -- and in each state, many more Democrats than Republicans plan to do so.

The surveys, conducted after both national conventions ended, include results among likely voters for the first time this cycle.  This is also the first time the presidential vote preference question includes the names of both the presidential and vice presidential candidates -- plus the Libertarian and Green Party candidates are now included when they are on the state’s ballot.  These differences mean no apples-to-apples comparison to past survey results.

While Election Day is two months away, voters can request and return absentee ballots starting this week in North Carolina and mid-September in Wisconsin.  In Arizona, absentee ballots are available early October. 

Here are the state-by-state results:

Arizona

Biden is preferred over Trump by 49-40 percent among likely voters in Arizona.  That 9-point lead is outside the margin of error.  The Libertarian ticket headed by Jo Jorgensen receives 3 percent and 6 percent are undecided. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARIZONA POLL RESULTS

Trump won Arizona with 48.7 percent in 2016, topping Hillary Clinton by three and a half percentage points.  Currently, a 56 percent majority disapproves of the job he’s doing as president (43 percent approve).

Biden’s lead comes from significant support among seniors, women, and Hispanics.  He’s up by 46 points among Hispanics, 16 points among women, and 12 points among voters ages 65+.

In addition, Biden is ahead among suburban women (+15) and suburban voters overall (+7). 

There’s also more party loyalty among Democrats, as 92 percent back Biden compared to 85 percent of Republicans supporting Trump. 

Trump is ahead among Whites without a college degree (+11 points) and Gen Xers (+5).  White voters overall split 45-45 percent. 

More Arizona likely voters trust Biden than Trump to handle coronavirus by 17 points.  They also trust Biden to handle policing and criminal justice by a smaller 5-point margin.  The two rate about evenly on the economy (Trump +1) and dealing with China (Biden +1). 

One in four think coronavirus is completely or mostly under control (24 percent), while 38 percent say it is somewhat under control and 37 percent say not at all. 

An improvement in those pandemic numbers could help the president, as about 8 in 10 of those who feel the virus is under control back him, while about 8 in 10 of those who think it is not at all under control go for Biden. 

In the senate race, Democratic challenger Mark Kelly outperforms Biden’s lead in the presidential race.  Kelly bests Republican Sen. Martha McSally by a 56-39 percent margin among Arizona likely voters. 

More Trump supporters are ticket splitters, as 89 of his backers support McSally, while 96 percent of Biden backers go for Kelly.

Some 14 percent of Republicans support Kelly vs. 3 percent of Democrats going for McSally.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, Biden holds a narrow 4-point margin among likely voters (within error margin).  He receives 50 percent to Trump’s 46 percent, while 1 percent go for Jorgensen and 2 percent are undecided. 

Here’s why the race is tight.  Whites back Trump by 23 points, while Blacks support Biden by 83 points.  Men go for Trump by a 2-point margin, while women prefer Biden by 10.  And rural voters pick Trump by 14 points, while suburban areas go for Biden by 19 (among suburban women that grows to a 31-point lead). 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE NORTH CAROLINA POLL RESULTS

The president receives strong backing from Whites without a college degree (+33) and White women (+19). 

In 2016, Trump won the Tar Heel State by nearly four points, receiving 49.8 percent of the vote.  About the same number are happy with him today: 49 percent approve of the job he’s doing as president, while 50 percent disapprove. 

Voters see Trump as better on the economy (by 8 points) and dealing with China (+5), while more trust Biden on coronavirus (+9).  The two are about equally trusted to handle policing and criminal justice (Trump +1).

The largest number, 40 percent, say coronavirus is “not at all” under control, and those voters prefer Biden by a 70-point spread.

Democrat Cal Cunningham has a 48-42 percent edge over Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis among North Carolina likely voters.  Cunningham’s advantage is within the survey’s margin of error.  Five percent back a third-party candidate and 5 percent are undecided. 

Most Biden supporters also back Cunningham (87 percent) and most Trump backers pick Tillis (84 percent).

Wisconsin

Biden tops Trump by 8 points among Wisconsin likely voters, 50-42 percent.  That’s just outside the survey’s margin of sampling error. Two percent back Jorgensen and 5 percent are undecided.

Women make all the difference in the Badger State.  They favor Biden by 17 points, while men are about evenly divided (Trump +1).  Plus, more Democrats (95 percent) support Biden than Republicans (86 percent) back Trump.

The president is ahead among rural voters (+4) and Whites without a college degree (+5). 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WISCONSIN POLL RESULTS

Biden benefits from more voters trusting him on coronavirus and policing/criminal justice.  He is preferred over Trump on the virus by a wide 17-point margin and by 5 points on policing and criminal justice.  Voters rate both equally on the economy and pick Trump by only 1 point on dealing with China.

On Tuesday, the president visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the police shooting of Jacob Blake has prompted both peaceful and violent protests, and where police have charged a teenage gunman in the deaths of two protesters. 

Nearly half of Wisconsin voters, 45 percent, feel coronavirus is “not at all” under control, and that group picks Biden over Trump by 84-10 percent. 

If elected, Biden would be the second Catholic president (President John F. Kennedy being the first).  The vote preference among White Catholics in Wisconsin divides 47-47 percent, while the smaller subgroup of White evangelical Christians goes big for Trump (+33 points).

Wisconsin went red by about 23,000 votes in 2016, with 47 percent backing Trump.  Today, 54 disapprove of the president’s job performance (45 percent approve). 

Conducted August 29-September 1, 2020 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), these Fox News surveys include interviews with 772 Arizona likely voters, 722 North Carolina likely voters, and 801 Wisconsin likely voters randomly selected from statewide voter files, who spoke with live interviewers on landlines and cellphones. In all three states, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the total sample of likely voters. Arizona respondents could complete the interview in English or Spanish.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.