Biden Leads Trump in Six Battleground States, but Trump's Approval Rating Ticks Upward: Poll

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in six battleground states, but the president's approval has ticked upward over the past couple of weeks, new polling shows.

The latest polling from CNBC/Change Research, which was carried out from August 21 to 23 and published Wednesday, shows Biden ahead of Trump in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. At the same time, Trump's overall approval in the six states has increased since the same survey was conducted two weeks earlier.

Biden's biggest leads over Trump are in Michigan and Wisconsin, where the Democratic nominee is ahead by 6 percentage points and 5 percentage points, respectively. In Michigan, Biden is backed by 50 percent of voters, while the president is supported by just 44 percent. The results are similar in Wisconsin, where the former vice president is supported by 49 percent of voters, compared with 44 percent who back Trump.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Joe Biden accepts his party's nomination for president during the last day of the Democratic National Convention in Wilmington, Delaware, on August 20, and President Donald Trump addresses the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 25. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/ Trump photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee/Getty

The data from Florida and Pennsylvania shows 49 percent of the electorate in both states back Biden, while 46 percent support Trump—a difference of just 3 percentage points. The race is closer in Arizona and North Carolina, which generally lean Republican in presidential elections. In Arizona, Biden is backed by 49 percent of voters, leading Trump, at 47 percent, by only 2 percentage points. The race is neck and neck in North Carolina, with Biden backed by 48 percent of voters, compared with 47 percent who support Trump.

However, the president's overall approval rating in the key battleground states has moved upward. Now, 48 percent of voters in the six states say they approve of the president, an increase of 2 percentage points over the 46 percent who said the same when the survey was conducted two weeks earlier.

Democrats are particularly interested in winning in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this November. These four swing states went blue for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but then flipped red to go for Trump in 2016. Arizona and North Carolina historically lean Republican in presidential elections, but shifting demographics and concerns about Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic appear to have made them more competitive in 2020.

Currently, the Real Clear Politics averages of polls in the battleground states show Biden leading in five of the six. While the average out of North Carolina shows a tie between the Democratic nominee and the president, Biden leads Trump by an average of 2.2 percent in Arizona. In Michigan, Biden is ahead by about 7 points, while he leads by about 5.5 points in Pennsylvania, 4 points in Florida and 3.5 points in Wisconsin.

Nationwide, the CNBC/Change Research data shows Biden with a comfortable lead of 8 percentage points—with the backing of 51 percent of voters, compared with 43 percent who support Trump. Two third-party contenders, Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins, each garnered the support of 2 percent of voters.