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In line with NBC / WSJ ballot, Biden leads Trump by 14 factors a month forward of election day

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Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden arrives for a campaign event at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 951 in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 2, 2020.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden's national lead over President Donald Trump soared this month, and voters believe the Democratic challenger is better equipped than the incumbent Republican on a number of key issues. This was found in a new poll by NBC News / Wall Street Journal.

According to the poll released on Sunday, Biden has the support of 53% of registered voters at the national level versus 39% for Trump. The 14 percentage point advantage in the poll, achieved after the first presidential debate on Tuesday but before Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis was announced early Friday, compares to Biden's 8 percentage point advantage in an NBC / WSJ poll that was done last month.

Respondents believe Biden handled the debate better, a jack-of-all-trades, with Trump frequently interrupting his opponent and calling the president a "clown". The poll found that 49% of voters think Biden did a better job, while 24% think Trump does better. Another 17% said neither man did a good job, and 9% replied that they are not sure.

Still, it is unclear how much the chaotic event will change the race. About three-quarters of respondents, 73%, said the debate made no difference in how they will vote. Another 19% responded that doing so would make them more likely to support Biden, while 6% responded that they would be more likely to support Trump.

The telephone survey of 800 registered voters on Wednesday and Thursday has an error rate of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.

With many states already voting and with about a month remaining until election day on November 3rd, polls have shown a stable advantage for Biden over Trump. An NBC News average of the latest national polls shows the Democrat leads the way with more than 8 percentage points.

Meanwhile, according to RealClearPolitics, Biden has at least a slight head start when it polls multiple state averages that determine who wins the election, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Poll averages also show close races in Florida and North Carolina.

Trump's coronavirus diagnosis and subsequent admission to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center have added uncertainty to the race. The president's doctors say he is improving, although their comments and subsequent remarks one official Saturday in the White House caused confusion about his condition.

Trump will likely have to campaign off some time during the final leg of the election as he recovers and tries to make amends against Biden.

In a race marked by the Trump administration's struggles to contain the outbreak in the US, infections of the President, First Lady Melania Trump, Trump campaign officials and advisors and several GOP Senators could be in recent days increasing control of the White House's handling of the outbreak pandemic.

In the NBC / WSJ poll, conducted prior to the president's diagnosis, 52% of registered voters said Biden would handle the coronavirus better, compared with 35% who voted for Trump.

When asked who would better address a number of other key issues, respondents preferred Trump in only one area: the economy.

Dealing with the economy: Trump 48%, Biden 41% Dealing with crime and violence: Biden 45%, Trump 41%Have the mental and physical health necessary to be President: Biden 41%, Trump 40%Have strong leadership skills: Biden 45%, Trump 40%Appointments to the Supreme Court: Biden 46%, Trump 37%Dealing with health care: Biden 53%, Trump 34% Dealing with racial relationships: Biden 55%, Trump 26%Have the right temperament to be president: Biden 58%, Trump 26%Treating Problems That Affect Women: Biden 56%, Trump 25%

Republicans have scrambled to swiftly approve Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as Democrats argue that the next president should fill the job. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate Judiciary Committee would proceed to a scheduled October 12 hearing on your nomination after two panel members, GOP Sens. Mike Lee from Utah and Thom Tillis from North Carolina, Covid19 tested positive.

In Sunday's poll, 50% of respondents said the Senate should wait to vote on a candidate until the US knows who won the election, while 38% said the house should vote before the election. Another 11% said they had no opinion in one way or another.

Meanwhile, 35% of voters said they supported Barrett as a Supreme Court Justice. Another 34% responded that they oppose her holding a seat in the US Supreme Court, while 30% said they didn't know enough to decide.

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Katherine Clark