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Biden’s lead over Trump in Florida slips, UNF poll finds

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While a poll two weeks ago found Vice President Joe Biden with a 6-point lead over President Donald Trump, the same group’s poll released Tuesday found that lead has almost evaporated.

A poll of 863 likely Florida voters conducted last week by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) shows Biden now leads Trump by 1-point in the 2020 race for president of the United States. Of the likely voters, 48% indicated an intention to vote for Biden, putting him a single percentage point ahead of Trump with 47%.

A Harris poll of Florida voters conducted for The Hill and released Friday showed the race deadlocked with 48% each while a Mason-Dixon poll that came out the same day found Biden with a 48% to 45% lead in Florida.

“While some polls have shown Biden with a big lead in Florida and other key states, we made an effort to capture hard-to-reach voters and our results suggest that it might be a long night on Nov. 3,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and associate professor of political science. “This is Florida, and elections are never easy here, I expect this race to come down to the wire.”

But the same poll also found that a majority of likely voters (49%) also disapprove of the job Trump is doing, while 47% approve. Very few people find themselves in the middle with Trump as 82% of the respondents have strong approval or disapproval, the poll found.

As for the potential voting method, 43% said they would vote by mail, and 29% said they planned to vote early in person. Just 26% of respondents said they would vote on election day. According to UNF, 25% of respondents indicated they had already cast their vote by mail.

“It is extremely important to remember that with the increased use of mail-in ballots across the country and some competitive states in the Midwest not allowed to start counting their mail ballots until Election Day, we might not know the winner of the election for a few days – and that is just fine,” said Binder. “It does not mean there is anything improper occurring that would threaten the integrity of the electoral process.”

Another UNF poll, conducted in the two days immediately after last week’s presidential debate and before the president was diagnosed with COVID-19, found that 51% would vote for Biden if the election were held today, 45% would vote for Trump, 1% would vote for someone else and 3% were undecided.

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 3.3%.

Tens of thousands of voters anxious to cast ballots in person were lined up when early voting opened Monday across Florida.

It’s now less than two weeks until the election and two days until the next debate between Biden and Trump, an event that is scheduled for Thursday in Nashville.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.