• Wednesday polls gave Biden the lead both nationally and in key swing states
  • The polls also indicated incumbent Republican senators are facing headwinds
  • Trump could eke out a second term if polling data are off by the same proportion as they were in 2016

Conflicting polls in key swing states indicated Wednesday the presidential race is far from decided, and voter views on the economy could be the deciding factor. Though voters appear unhappy about President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the outbreak is ranked below economic concderns.

An ABC-Washington Post poll indicated Trump is ahead of Democratic rival Joe Biden by 4 points in Florida and a point in Arizona, but competing polls from CNBC-Change Research and St. Pete Polls have Biden ahead by 3 points in Florida and 6 points in Arizona.

The CNBC-Change research poll has Biden ahead by 8 points in Michigan, 9 points in Wisconsin, 4 points in Pennsylvania and 2 points in North Carolina. But if the data are off by the same percentage as in 2016, Trump could eke out a second term – despite losing the popular vote a second time.

A Monmouth poll indicated Trump leads Biden in Georgia by 2 points.

A major factor in the election will be mail-in ballots. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that if voters fail to include a special secrecy envelope with their ballots, the votes can be discarded. Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that could cost Biden 100,000 votes. Trump won the state in 2016 by less than 50,000 votes.

Nationally, CNBC and USC Dornsife give Biden a 9-point edge overall. An Economist/YouGov poll gave Biden a 7-point margin. A Rasmussen Reports poll indicated a dead head with the candidates separated by just one point.

The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls puts Biden ahead by 6.8 points.

With 41 days to go before Election Day, Trump has been campaigning furiously, ignoring public health guidelines on coronavirus by holding massive indoor rallies where most attendees are maskless and in close proximity. He’s promising a COVID-19 vaccine within weeks despite assessments from government scientists that the timeline is much longer.

The presidential push for a vaccine has eroded public confidence.

The CNBC-Change Research poll also indicated voters are afraid the COVID-19 vaccine is being politicized, with fewer than half of voters (42%) saying they will take it when it becomes available. They also fault Trump for holding indoor campaign rallies.

Among those polled by CNBC-Change Research, those polled said Trump should not be able to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election – and not after the election if he loses, 57% to 37%. Concern over the economy also was high, with two-thirds of voters saying it is struggling and more coronavirus stimulus is needed.

The ABC-Washington Post poll indicated voters trust Trump over Biden when it comes to handling the economy – the most important issue this election cycle among those polled – but the results reverse when it comes to handling the coronavirus pandemic.

The polls also addressed the Senate races in Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia. Voters in 33 states are voting for senators, with Democrats hoping to flip enough seats to give them control of Congress. The Cook Political Report reassessed the Colorado race, moving it to leaning Democrat, threatening GOP incumbent Cory Gardner. The races in Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina are considered tossups. The current Senate balance is 53 Republicans vs. 47 Democrats.

The CNBC-Change poll gives incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters a 6-point edge over Republican challenger John James and as much as an 8-point lead to Democratic challenger Mark Kelly over incumbent Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona in both the special election to fill the vacant seat left open by the death of John McCain and the election for the full term. In North Carolina, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham has a 5-point lead over incumbent Republican Thom Tillis, the poll indicates.

In Georgia, the Monmouth poll indicates Republican incumbent David Perdue has a 6-point lead over Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. The other Senate seat is being filled by a special election in which there’s a three-way tie among Republican Kelly Loeffler, Republican Doug Collins and Democrat Raphael Warnock.