Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continued his dominance in national polling over Donald Trump on Sunday, leading the incumbent by double-digit percentage points in one and by 8 points in another.
The economy and the coronavirus pandemic continue to be two of the most important issues for voters.
While just 40 per cent of respondents to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Sunday said they approve of Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 52 per cent said they approve of his stewardship of the economy.
In a head-to-head matchup, Mr Biden paced Mr Trump, 54-44 per cent. When third party candidates were included, that margin shrunk to 49-43 per cent.
Meanwhile, the president repeated his call for Mr Biden to take a drug test before the two debate on Tuesday, needling the former vice president for delivering “uneven” debate performances.
“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???” Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday.
The Biden campaign has not publicly addressed the president’s most recent taunt. Mr Biden had a testy exchange last month when a reporter asked him if he had taken a cognitive test.
“No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” the former vice president responded.
“Come on, man. That's like saying you, before you got on this program, you take a test where you're taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?” Mr Biden said, a comment many outside observers said was racist.
Mr Trump will be eager to turn the tide of the race at the debate on Tuesday after trailing Mr Biden all summer both nationally and in key swing states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and North Carolina.
The president has consistently received poor marks for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis as well as for his approach to racial justice, the two most important issues for Democratic voters, according to recent polling.
A pair of NBC News/Marist College surveys in Michigan and Wisconsin showed Mr Biden beating Mr Trump by 8 percentage points and 10 percentage points, respectively.
In Minnesota, another swing state, the president trailed by 6 percentage points, according to a poll released on Saturday by the Minneapolis Star Tribune/Mason Dixon Polling.
As has been the case throughout the campaign, the economy could still be Mr Trump’s saving grace.
While the US is still suffering through recession-level unemployment amid the pandemic, polling data has consistently signaled voters still trust the president’s economic policies.
Mr Trump led Mr Biden, 49-46 per cent, on the economy, the national Post/ABC News poll found.
Mr Biden led in most other categories, however:
by 8 points on whom voters trust to handle the next Supreme Court nomination;
11 points on the coronavirus pandemic
16 points on health care
and 20 points on treatment of racial groups.
In a brief press conference on Sunday, Mr Biden urged Senate Republicans to wait until the next president is inaugurated to seat a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died earlier this month, less than 50 days before the election.
Some states had already begun early voting.
“I urge every senator to take a step back from the brink. Take off the blinders of politics for just one critical moment. Stand up for the Constitution you swore to uphold,” Mr Biden said.