Joe Biden’s Lead In The Polls Is Declining At The Same Time As MSNBC Is Losing Viewers

On Friday, September 18, MSNBC ran a segment about Joe Biden’s declining poll numbers from the week before. Ironically, is MSNBC to blame for the decline? Take a look at the numbers below. 

Below are two tables: one of viewing figures for prime time cable news shows on FOX News, MSNBC, and CNN; and one of the poll numbers and betting odds for the upcoming Presidential election. 

FOX News Viewers

MSNBC Viewers

CNN Viewers

September 7-10

3.769 mil.

2.938 mil.

1.475 mil.

September 14-17

3.831 mil.

2.397 mil.

1.694 mil.

The above table demonstrates that FOX News saw a slight increase in viewers from Monday, September 14 through Thursday, September 17, than the week before. It also shows a solid increase in viewers for CNN’s offerings. However, what is most notable is MSNBC’s slip in the ratings. MSNBC lost roughly 541,000 viewers week-to-week, and was the only one of the three networks to see a decrease in total viewers. 

Now, let’s take a look at the change in poll numbers and betting odds on the two Thursdays of each week.

National Average

Battleground States

Betting Odds

September 10

Biden +7.5

Biden +3.9

Biden +6.7

September 17

Biden +5.8

Biden +3.6

Biden +5.3

At the end of the first week measured here, Joe Biden was up by 7.5 percentage points nationally over Donald Trump. By Thursday, September 17, that lead was down to 5.8 percentage points. While any candidate will take a nearly six point lead as a win, that is a very steep decline. 

The ‘Battleground States’ column averages the poll numbers between the two candidates in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. There, poll numbers are even closer between the two candidates, with Donald Trump closing in on Biden’s lead by 0.3 percentage points. 

Separate from the traditional polls are the betting odds. These consist of ordinary people making small monetary bets on who they believe will win the Presidential election. On Thursday, September 17, they were 1.4 percentage points closer to a tie than they were the week before. Joe Biden still has a comfortable lead, but one that is not on a trend favoring him. 

To tie these two tables together: this week, MSNBC was the only one of the three cable news networks to have less viewers than the week before among their prime time shows. At the same time, new polls that are coming in are less favorable to Joe Biden as they were before, all while he slips in the betting odds. 

If these polls are reflective on the actual results of the election, then Joe Biden still has some room to fall. Regardless, it is an interesting trend that public opinion on his chances of winning is falling at the same time, and at a similar rate, as MSNBC’s prime time viewership. 

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