The latest Emerson College Polling national survey finds President Biden with a one-point edge over former President Trump, leading 43% to 42%; 8% plan to vote for someone else and 6% are undecided. Since last month, Trump has lost two points while Biden has gained three points.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “This is the first time since asking the hypothetical Trump-Biden matchup this year that Biden outperforms Trump.” 

Following the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, voters were asked if the event makes them more or less likely to support Trump in 2024. Thirty-six percent of voters say it makes them less likely to support Trump in 2024, 30% say it makes them more likely to support the former President, and 34% say it makes no difference on their vote. 

Kimball said, “Nationwide, the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago hurts Trump in 2024. However, when voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania are asked this question, a plurality say it makes them more likely to support Trump in 2024, suggesting significant regional differences in perception of recent events.”

The poll finds President Biden with a 42% job approval and 51% job disapproval. This reflects a two-point increase in the President’s approval and two-point decrease in his disapproval since last month.

“Biden’s approval has returned to its February standing at 42%. While his approval remains low in contrast to previous presidents, Biden appears to have weathered the long spring/summer and his approval is moving in a positive direction,” Kimball said.

This month, Congressional Republicans hold onto their one-point lead over Congressional Democrats on the generic ballot test, 45% to 44%, unchanged from July. 

As President Biden formally announced a plan to address student loan debt on Wednesday, this plan included a $10,000 loan forgiveness for those who earn under $125,000 per year and an extension of the student loan repayment freeze. Voters were asked if these two separate policies are too much, not enough, or just the right amount of action. 

Regarding the $10,000 cancellation of student debt, voters are split: 36% think it is too much action, 35% think it is just the right amount of action; 30% think it is not enough action. On the repayment freeze, 35% of voters think it is too much action, 38% think it is just the right amount of action; 28% think it is not enough action.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “there is a stark age divide on the President’s recently announced policies on student loans. Pluralities of voters under 50 think the $10,000 forgiveness is ‘not enough’ action, whereas the plurality of those over 50 think it is ‘too much’ action. Regarding the repayment freeze, the plurality of those under 35 say it is not enough action, whereas the plurality of those between 35 and 64 say it is just about the ‘right amount’ of action, and those over 65 say it is ‘too much’.”

Voters were asked which statement comes closest to their view on the student loan program in the United States, it “allows more students access to higher education who would not otherwise be able to afford it,” or it “allows colleges to keep raising tuition instead of improving the school’s efficiency and cutting costs.” A slight majority of voters (51%) align with the latter, that the student loan program allows colleges to raise tuition, whereas 49% align with the former, that student loan program allows students access to education. 

The economy remains the most important issue for half of voters (50%), followed by abortion (9%), healthcare (9%), and crime (7%). Other issues include immigration (5%), housing affordability (5%), education (4%), and Covid-19 (3%). 

Voters are split on the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact: 34% believe it will reduce inflation, 32% think it will increase inflation, and 19% think it will have no impact.

“The Inflation Reduction Act’s perceived impact is heavily partisan; 53% of Democrats think it will successfully curb inflation while 47% of Republicans think it will increase inflation. Independent voters are split; 31% think it will increase inflation and 28% think it will reduce inflation,” Kimball said. 

As professional basketball player Brittney Griner remains in prison in Moscow, 30% of voters disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the situation while 26% approve; 29% are neutral and 15% have never heard of this. Since last month, the share who approve of Biden’s handling has increased three points while those who have not heard of this decreased three points. 

Caller ID

The Emerson College Polling National poll of voters was conducted August 23-24, 2022. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, party affiliation, region, age, education, and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, party, age, education, and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel.