RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The next Democratic debate is tomorrow. So who is best positioned to win over voters? A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that Senator Elizabeth Warren is in a strong place, registering as the, quote, "most well-liked of all the Democratic candidates." But Americans overall aren't that enthusiastic about this crop of Democrats or, for that matter, the incumbent president.
Let's dig into the poll results a little deeper with NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro. Hi, Domenico.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.
MARTIN: So pretty good news for Senator Warren. What were you asking voters specifically about likability?
MONTANARO: Yeah, we're asking voters, you know, Democrats in particular, whether they had a favorable impression or unfavorable impression of the candidates who are going to be on stage tomorrow night. And Warren, you know, really popped. She's gone up 22 points since January. More than three-quarters of Democrats like her. Former Vice President Biden does pretty well, as does Bernie Sanders. But it's a different story for the general election for all of them.
MARTIN: And President Trump himself is not faring well either.
MONTANARO: No, he's not. I mean, you know, these Democratic candidates, it's essentially partisanship that's slipping in. You have them pretty split amongst the general election overall - Bernie Sanders, not very well-liked overall - 55%. And President Trump himself, his approval rating is only 41%, among the highest he's had for strongly disapproving at 45%. And it looks like a lot of the economic worries over the summer are starting to take a bit of a toll on him.
MARTIN: So does that mean that people think - clearly they have issues with his policies. According to your poll, does it mean they think he's going to lose?
MONTANARO: Actually, no, (laughter) that's kind of surprising here that most Americans or more Americans think he's going to win reelection than lose by a 46%-to-37% margin. You know, people have a mostly positive outlook on the economy, and that really is buoying him right now.
MARTIN: We also have a result from a special election in North Carolina that we need to talk about. This was for the House seat that was up for grabs. The Republican won, but the margin of victory was still pretty small. And this was someone President Trump had campaigned for. What should he and his reelection team take from this, if anything?
MONTANARO: Well, look, millions were spent by both sides on this. The Republican, Dan Bishop, won by only two percentage points. President Trump is already out tweeting about this, taking a measure of credit for going in there and helping put him over the edge. Less than 4,000 votes decided this race, and I think the most important thing is kind of what it means for politics going forward.
You know, Trump won this district by 12 points, and there are almost 30 districts that are held by Republicans where Trump did worse and won that district. So you have the idea, though, of how things are sort of being reshaped because this is a place where Bishop wound up winning and kind of juicing rural areas to be able to win. The suburban areas, the sort of wealthy areas in and around Charlotte, wound up going for McCready.
I think we're seeing a big crackup in the way and the kinds of voters who are going for each party, and, you know, it's going to be really interesting to see what that means for 2020. When it comes to the House races, you know, I'm not sure there are enough seats for Republicans to target without being able to win some of those suburbs.
MARTIN: All right, Domenico Montanaro, NPR's senior political editor and correspondent, breaking down the results of a recent poll and getting ready as we all look forward to the next Democratic presidential debate tomorrow night. Domenico, thank you.
MONTANARO: You're welcome.
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