A poll conducted in the lead-up to Tuesday’s presidential debate showed Americans giving President Trump his highest approval rating in months while a majority predicted he would defeat former Vice President Joe Biden in November.
Gallup released its results on Thursday, claiming that Trump saw his highest approval rating (46%) since May with approvals on his handling of certain issues, other than the economy, below 50%.
The data, which was gathered in the two weeks before the debate, reflected an uptick from the 42% Trump received earlier in September. That increase, the polling company suggested, could be associated with his response to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
“Although the increase of four percentage points in Trump’s latest rating is not statistically significant, the poll’s internals suggest a rise in his support the second half of the Sept. 14-28 field period coincident with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and lying in state, as well as Trump’s announcing that he would quickly make a nomination to the Supreme Court. This suggests that some viewed his handling of the situation positively,” a press release from Gallup reads.
For comparison, Gallup reported President Obama’s approval rating at 47% and 50% around the same time in 2012.
The numbers came just after the two parties’ nominees participated in their first official presidential debate, a contentious affair that has prompted various claims about each candidates’ performance.
Polling has repeatedly shown Biden beating Trump overall and in key battleground states. Averages from both RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight have Biden up by 7 to 8 percentage points.
However, Gallup reported that 56% of Americans believe the president will win in November. Only 40% said the same for Biden. In total, 90% of Republicans and 56% of independents predicted a Trump victory, compared to just 24% of Democrats.
Democrats appeared to be less confident in their nominee than Republicans were in their’s, as 73% of the former thought Biden would win.
Trump famously beat former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton despite an onslaught of polls predicting the opposite.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll from 2016 accurately predicted who would win the popular vote as did Gallup’s polling in every other presidential election since 1996. Despite Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore winning the popular votes, however, their Republican opponents pulled out victories in the Electoral College.