Comparing nationwide Polls in 2016 and also 2020Biden’s lead has been similar to Clinton’s, however it has actually been more stable
Editor’s Note: This is the first of two concerns of the Crystal Ball this week. We’ll be ago Thursday with our regularly-scheduled issue.

You are watching: Current national polls for president 2016


— In aggregate, Joe Biden’s nationwide lead over Donald trumped so much this year is very similar to the command Hillary Clinton hosted over trumped in the first half the 2016.

— However, Biden’s lead has actually been an ext stable.

2016 vs. 2020 in the nationwide polls

With less than five months left in the 2020 choice campaign, former Vice president Joseph Biden proceeds to command President Donald trump card in both national and swing state polling. In the past few weeks, Biden has widened his command in the RealClearPolitics national poll mean from less than six points to around eight points.

Of course, astute vote watchers will recall that 4 years ago, Hillary Clinton also led Donald trumped in most national and also swing state polls. In the end, though, Trump won the choice by narrowly defeating Clinton in several crucial swing states. So just how does Biden’s current case compare with Clinton’s in 2016?

A close evaluation of nationwide polling in 2016 and 2020 based upon data compiled by RealClearPolitics indicates that Biden’s lead end Trump has actually been just slightly bigger than Clinton’s lead over Trump in between January and also early June. However, Biden’s lead has actually been much much more consistent. The data for both years space summarized in Tables 1 and 2. Table 1 reflects the aggregate data for Clinton vs. Trumped both through mid-June of 2016 and likewise for the entire election year, and Biden vs. Trump because that 2020 for this reason far; Table 2 reflects the monthly average autonomous lead because that the 2016 choice year and also 2020 therefore far.

Table 1: comparing 2016 national polls come 2020 polls


Table 2: Average autonomous lead by month, 2016 vs. 2020


Notes: Polls had in the mid-June calculations space those with field dates before June 10 in both 2016 and also 2020. In Table 2, the June 2016 entry includes all polls through a field date ending in June, if the June 2020 entry only consists of polls released through the morning the Monday, June 15.

Source: RealClearPolitics; study by author. Polls had are those with ar dates prior to June 10 in both 2016 and also 2020.

Joe Biden has actually held an mean lead of 5.9 points end Donald trumped in 72 nationwide polls between January and also early June. Hillary Clinton organized an typical lead of just 4.7 points in 221 national polls in between January and also early November, but her median lead was 5.7 points in 44 polls between January and also early June. However, Biden’s lead has varied very little from month come month, ranging from 5.0 point out in January come 7.7 clues thus much in June. In contrast, Clinton’s lead varied from just 2.4 clues in July come 10 points in March.

The much higher volatility that Clinton’s lead is reflect by the conventional deviation statistic, which measures variability. The month-to-month traditional deviation of Clinton’s lead to be 2.3 percent points because that the entire year and also 2.8 portion points between January and early June. Both are far larger than the standard deviation the 1.0 portion points because that Biden’s lead in between January and early June 2020.

The higher consistency the Biden’s lead compared with Clinton’s can also be checked out by comparing the percent of polls in which each finished ahead of Trump. During 2016, Hillary Clinton led Donald trump in 84% of national polls when Trump led in 12%. In between January and also early June, Clinton led in 84% of national polls if Trump led in 14%. In contrast, thus far in 2020, Joe Biden has led trumped in 94% of nationwide polls while Trump has actually led in just 1% — simply one poll the end of 72.


Hillary Clinton led Donald trump card in the large majority of nationwide polls in 2016. However, the size of the lead varied substantially over time. This variability might reflect that truth that in an open seat challenge like 2016, the options of voters have the right to be influenced more by the candidates’ campaigns and the an altering news background. In contrast, Joseph Biden’s lead over Donald Trump has actually been far much more consistent in 2020. This consistency may reflect the reality that Donald trumped is now running together an incumbent through a proven monitor record. As soon as an incumbent choose Trump is to run for reelection, the choice is mostly a referendum on the incumbent’s performance. The candidates’ campaigns and also the breakthroughs in the news are probably much less important.

Voters’ opinions that Donald Trump’s performance have actually been extraordinarily stable throughout his presidency with an adverse evaluations usually outweighing positive evaluations. That is the key reason why Trump has consistently trailed his democratic challenger in the polls. The fact that the proportion of an adverse to optimistic evaluations the Trump’s performance has increased in the past few weeks probably likewise explains why Biden has actually been enjoy it his biggest margins in nationwide polls at any kind of time in 2020.

See more: Number Of Chick Fil A Around The World, Locations Listing


Alan I. Abramowitz is the Alben W. Barkley Professor that Political scientific research at Emory University and also a an elderly columnist through Sabato’s decision Ball. His recent book, The great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and also the climb of Donald Trump, was released in 2018 by Yale college Press.