Poll: Biden bolsters lead over Trump in Michigan after first debate

Biden holds lead in early voting

In this combination image of two photos showing both President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky)

DETROIT – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has increased his lead over President Donald Trump in Michigan following the first debate, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll.

The results of the latest survey asked voters about the 2020 race for president, along with their feelings on mail-in voting and other important issues.

Here are some of the key findings from the WDIV/Detroit News poll, which was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 3, 2020.

Biden boosts lead over Trump

Following the first debate of the 2020 election, Joe Biden has taken his largest lead of the Presidential race in Michigan, leading Donald Trump 48.0%- 39.2% -- a lead of 8.8%. Trump has lost three points of support since the September post-convention survey.

There has been a major shift among voters over the age of 65 towards Joe Biden. Older voters now support Biden over Trump by a margin of 59.1%-29.2% -- a nearly 30-point lead for Joe Biden. Biden led senior voters by 7.5% in the Post-Convention survey. Senior voters have shifted by 22 points since early September.

20% of voters over 65 have already completed their absentee ballot. A total of 76.6% of senior voters plan to vote absentee/mail.

There has also been a shift among voters aged 50-64 that has long been a base of support for Donald Trump. In early September, Trump led these voters 51.8%-42.2 – a 9.6% advantage. Now the race is tied with both candidates at 46%.

Other key notes:

  • White voters over 65 years of age have shifted dramatically towards Joe Biden. White men over 65 have shifted by 22.1% since early September with Biden now holding an 8.8% lead. White women over 65 have shifted by 17.6% with Biden now holding a 15.4% lead.
  • The most noticeable shift has occurred among white men with some post high school education or college education. Trump led white men with a college education by 6 points in early September. Biden now leads this group by 9.5% -- a shift of 15.5% points in one month. Among men with some post high school education, Trump led by 36.4% in early September and now he leads by 18.8% -- a shift of 17.6%.
  • Among White voters Donald Trump held a 12.3% lead in early September. Joe Biden has cut that lead in half with Trump now leading white voters by 6.2%
  • Joe Biden holds a 24-point lead in Southeast Michigan leading Donald Trump 56.7%-32.2%.
  • Joe Biden holds a 22.7% lead among suburban voters leading 56.6%-33.9%.
  • In out-state portions of Michigan, Donald Trump holds a lead of 46.4%-39.2% -- a lead of 7.2%.
  • Donald Trump holds a lead of 52.4%-37.2% among voters that call themselves evangelical voters – a lead of 17-points.

Biden leads in early vote

Joe Biden holds a 50-point lead among absentee voters. Trump holds a 27- point lead among Election Day voters.

Among those that have already cast their ballot, Joe Biden holds a 60-point lead of 74.6%-14.1%.

43.6% of voters said they plan to vote by absentee/mail ballot. 31.6% have applied for their absentee ballot. 12.0% of voters have already CAST their absentee ballot. 51.7% of voters plan to vote at the polling place on Election Day. 4.7% of voters still have no decided how they plan to vote.


The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2020 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on September 30-October 3, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 50.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 50.0% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.