A Closer Look at a Slight Shift in the Polls

President Biden campaigning in Madison, Wis., this week.Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Is President Biden gaining in the polls? There have been signs of it ever since his State of the Union address last month, and a New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday morning is the latest hint.

Donald J. Trump led Mr. Biden by one percentage point among likely voters nationwide, 47 percent to 46 percent. It represents a modest improvement for the president since February, when Mr. Trump led our poll by four points among likely voters. (The one-point difference is the same with registered voters.)

You can’t exactly call a one-point deficit the “Biden comeback,” but the result adds to a growing list of polls finding him inching up over the last month.

So far, 16 national pollsters (of varying quality) have taken polls before and after the State of the Union. On average, Mr. Biden is running about 1.4 points better in the post-State of the Union polls than in earlier surveys by the same pollsters.

A 1.4-point shift in the polls wouldn’t usually merit much attention. It’s small enough that it may not last, even if it’s real. But it carries greater significance against the backdrop of the last six months — and the doubts among some Democrats about Mr. Biden’s candidacy.

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