A new Emerson poll conducted just days after the Republican National Convention has Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden by just two percentage points, 49% to 47%. By comparison, the same poll conducted in July showed Trump trailing by four points, bolstering Republican claims of momentum after a successful convention. Overall, Biden currently leads Trump by 6.2 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics national polling average.
A particular bright spot for the Trump campaign in the Emerson survey is his support among African Americans: Trump wins the backing of 19%, after drawing just 8% support in the 2016 election. The RNC featured numerous African American speakers, including former pro football players Herschel Walker, Jack Brewer and Burgess Owens, as well as Georgia Democrat Vernon Jones, all testifying to Trump's character and policies as reasons for their backing.
Another encouraging sign for the president: His approval rating is up to 49% in the current survey, an increase of four points since the July poll, while his disapproval is down to 47%. This the first survey to show Trump with a net positive approval rating since early May.
"The Republican convention gave him his most positive week of news coverage, which likely contributed to his bounce in this month’s poll and increasing job approval,” said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling.
But there are worrisome numbers for the incumbent in the poll as well. Trump is trailing Biden among independent voters, 50%-42%. In 2016, he beat Hillary Clinton among this group -- which constituted 31% of the electorate -- by four percentage points, 46%-42%.
Those who voted for a third party candidate in 2016 are breaking for Biden by a substantial margin, 59%-18%. And new voters also leaning in favor of Biden, 51%-44%.
The Emerson poll, conducted Aug. 30-31, of 1,567 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.