The general election campaign has remained remarkably steady in recent months despite numerous major news events and historic upheaval in American life, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and anti-racism protests that have swept the country.
Still, Biden had consistently notched high-single-digit or low-double-digit leads over Trump, while also maintaining advantages in several swing states. As of Tuesday morning, Biden was ahead of Trump by 8.5 points nationally, according to a RealClearPolitics average of general election polling conducted from Sept. 21-Oct. 4.
Although Biden’s national edge is eye-popping, pollsters have lent greater credence to surveys of individual states in the closing weeks of the race. Those statewide polls of a handful of battlegrounds are believed to be more determinative of the Electoral College outcome.
Most political analysts predicted former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would capture the White House in 2016 based on the strength of her national polling. Although she did win the popular vote, Trump won the Electoral College and emerged victorious after narrowly flipping a group of Midwestern swing states and some other battlegrounds.
The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from Oct. 1-4, surveying 1,001 likely voters with a margin of sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.6 percentage points.