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Published on October 28, 2020 8:37 AM

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Why Biden's poll lead is different from Hillary Clinton's
WASHINGTON — For many political junkies and analysts, the 2020 presidential campaign feels eerily familiar. The national polls show that the Democrat has a big lead. Some usually Republican states seem to be in play. And the Trump campaign is relying heavily on a strategy of focusing on its base.

It's all very 2016, and it has Trump and Biden supporters wondering whether the result in November could look similar, as well.

The similarities to four years ago are impossible to ignore, but a closer look at the poll numbers shows that there are some important differences this year, even beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and a high unemployment rate.

Let's start with the big similarity, which also holds a big difference. Last week's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (conducted Oct. 9-12) showed Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump by 11 percentage points among registered voters. In 2016, a poll conducted on almost the exact same days (Oct. 10-13) showed Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by 10 points among registered voters.

But there is a big difference. Biden is over 50 percent in last week's poll, (53 percent to be precise), while Clinton was at 47 percent in 2016. That means that, as of the end of the week, Biden was in a much stronger position than Clinton was.

Even if Trump gathered up all the other non-Biden votes, he would be at only 47 percent. That would be 1 point better than the 46 percent he got in the final 2016 tally. At 53 percent, Biden is already 5 points higher than the 48 percent Clinton got in the final 2016 tally.

There is another similarity that works out to be a big difference: the number of people who believe the country is "off on the wrong track." In the latest poll, that number, 62 percent, is ...