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Post-debate poll finds Biden with leads in two key states

Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE leads President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE by sizable margins among voters in Pennsylvania and Florida following Tuesday night’s combative presidential debate, according to a New York Times-Siena College poll published Saturday.

The survey found that Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by 7 percentage points, garnering 49 percent support among respondents in the state, compared to Trump’s 42 percent. Biden leads Trump in Florida by a slightly smaller margin, 47 percent support to 42 percent.  

Survey interviews began Wednesday prior to the announcement early Friday morning that the president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Trump has been vaccinated for coronavirus MORE tested positive for COVID-19.

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There was a modest shift in favor of Biden during survey interviews conducted on Friday following the news of Trump’s diagnosis, according to the Times. 

The races in the two battleground states, both of which Trump won narrowly in the 2016 election, had been particularly close prior to Tuesday’s debate, although an ABC-Washington Post poll released Tuesday showed Biden ahead by 9 percentage points in Pennsylvania. 

Last week, RealClearPolitics reported that Biden had a 1.3-point lead in Florida, down from 8.4 percentage points in July. 

The Times-Siena College poll also found that only 21 percent of likely voters across the two swing states said Trump won the debate Tuesday, with 65 percent disapproving of the president’s conduct throughout the evening.

An additional 48 percent said they “support Trump less after” the debate. 

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Many Democrats and others criticized Trump's behavior during Tuesday’s debate, during which he repeatedly interrupted Biden and moderator Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceWarner: White House should 'keep open additional sanctions' against Saudi crown prince Rick Scott acknowledges Biden 'absolutely' won fair election Bill Gates: Goal of eliminating emissions by 2030 'completely unrealistic' MORE. The Commission on Presidential Debates has since announced it is considering changes to future debate formats “to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

A Hill-HarrisX poll conducted after this week's presidential debate but before Trump announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus found Biden leading Trump nationally by 7 percentage points, a 2-point increase from the last poll conducted Sept. 19-21.

Among those in the Hill-HarrisX poll who watched the debate, 56 percent said that Biden performed better compared to 43 percent who said the same for Trump.

The New York Times-Siena College Research Institute survey of Pennsylvania and Florida was conducted via landline and cellular telephones over varying field periods from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. 

The margin of error due to sampling on the full survey was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points in Florida, and 4.1 percentage points in Pennsylvania, according to the newspaper.