Joe Biden leads President Trump with 50 to 41 percent, a poll by the New York Times / Siena College shows, with voters favoring him by a wide margin on the coronavirus and law and order.
20th October 2020
Joseph R. Biden Jr. is nine points ahead of President Trump amid widespread public concern over the course of the coronavirus pandemic and voters' calls for large-scale government action to restore order to the economy. This was the result of a national poll of likely conducted voters from the New York Times and Siena College.
With just two weeks left in the campaign, Mr Trump has no advantage over one of the most pressing issues at stake in the elections, leaving little room for political recovery without Democrat Biden making a catastrophic misstep as candidate , in the coming days. The president has even lost his long-standing economic advantage: voters now agree on whether to have more confidence in him or Mr Biden to run the economy.
For all of the other subjects tested in the survey, voters preferred Mr Biden to Mr Trump by a modest or large margin. Mr Biden, the former vice president, is preferred to Mr Trump to lead the coronavirus pandemic by 12 points and voters trust Mr Biden to Mr Trump to elect the Supreme Court justices and maintain law and order by six points Margins. Americans see in Mr. Biden an ability to unite the country by nearly 20 points.
Overall, Mr. Biden is supported by 50 percent of likely voters, the poll found, compared with 41 percent for Mr. Trump and 3 percent for other candidates.
Most importantly, the poll makes it clear that major constituencies are willing to reject Mr Trump for failing to comply with his behavior, including 56 percent of women and 53 percent of white college graduates who said they had a very bad impression of Mr Trump to have. Trump – an exceptional level of dislike for an incumbent president.
His lower standing in economic affairs and law and order is a damaging setback for the president, who for much of the general election has spent his fortune trying to convince Americans that a Biden administration will impoverish them and make them insecure. But that argument failed to move the electorate in his direction.
According to the poll, Mr. Trump also made no attempt to tarnish Mr. Biden's personal image and make him unacceptable to voters. Fifty-three percent of voters said they saw something or very favorable to Mr. Biden, compared to 43 percent who said the same thing about Mr. Trump.
A majority of voters said they saw Mr. Trump unfavorably, 48 percent saw him very unfavorably.
The margin of error in the sample, which was carried out from October 15 to 18, was 3.4 percentage points.
Part of Mr. Trump's departure from the economy may have been due to an urgent hunger among voters for new federal government aid – which Mr. Trump has nominally endorsed, but which he did not actively seek to get out of the Republicans in Congress.
Seven out of ten voters, including more than half Republicans, wanted a new multi-billion dollar stimulus package that included state support for citizens and emergency aid to state and local governments. There is also widespread public support for a $ 2 trillion renewable energy and infrastructure package that Mr Biden has proposed as a form of economic incentive.
Michael Zemaitis, a Minnesota independent voter, said he doesn't have full confidence in Mr. Biden but sees him as a clearly superior option over Mr. Trump when it comes to the pandemic and the economy.
"I think I would say I have 70 percent confidence in him," said Zemaitis, 49, who believed a democratic government would cope better with the coronavirus pandemic. "Once that is done, the economy will be brought back into line."
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Nor were voters convinced that, despite public facts, Mr. Trump insisted that the coronavirus recede as a problem. A slim majority of voters said the worst of the pandemic is still to come, compared to 37 percent who said the worst was over.
But many voters also seem to separate their personal well-being from their views on the state of the country. About half said they were doing better personally than they were four years ago, compared to 32 percent who were worse off. However, a clear majority of voters – 55 percent – said the whole country is doing worse than it was in 2016.
Mr Trump retains some key bastions of support, especially among white non-college voters who continue to favor him over Mr Biden by 23 percentage points. That lead, however, is far less than the advantage Mr Trump had among less educated whites in 2016, when those voters preferred him by 37 points over Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Biden is well on his way to winning with the overwhelming support of women, blacks and whites with college degrees. If only women were to vote, the election would be a landslide of epic proportions: Mr Biden is 23 points ahead of Mr Trump, 58 percent to 35 percent, among female voters. And unlike four years ago, the Democratic candidate Mr Trump leads the white women with a considerable margin of 52 to 43 percent.
Kathryn Jorgensen, 51, a registered Republican in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said she did not vote for Mr Trump in 2016 and would not do so this year. Mr Trump, she said, was "so divisive" during his tenure as president.
Oct. 20, 2020, 7:54 p.m. ET
"The most important thing is to bring the country back together and address the divisions that affect people like racial justice," said Ms. Jorgensen.
A rare piece of greeting for Republicans was the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court: while more voters said they would like to see Mr Biden elect future judges, rather than Mr Trump, a large number of voters said the Senate was ahead of the election should vote on Judge Barrett's nomination.
Voters were roughly evenly divided over Ms. Barrett as a candidate, indicating that the Supreme Court struggle had not given either party a clear electoral advantage. But a significant number of voters – roughly one in seven – did not give an opinion, suggesting that the legal battle had not become an all-consuming subject. Forty-four percent of voters supported Judge Barrett's nomination, 42 percent opposed it, and the rest declined to take a stand.
If Mr Biden wins the election, it remains to be seen whether he will be a compelling president to amalgamate a wide range of anti-Trump constituencies into one strong government alliance.
Cassandra Williams, 21, of Greenville, NC, said she sees Mr. Biden as a flawed candidate who might be enough for now. Ms. Williams, a chemistry major, said she hoped he would focus on coronavirus and climate change early in his presidency.
"If his opponent weren't President Trump, he'd be a sub-par candidate," said Ms. Williams, who supported Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the Democratic primary race.
The poll shows that Mr Trump is facing widespread reprimand for failing to meet the great challenge of his presidency.
Voters remain deeply concerned about the virus. 51 percent of respondents feared the worst of Covid-19 is still to come, and only 37 percent said the worst was over. For voters over 65, a bloc that has turned away from Mr Trump, the difference was even bigger: fifty-six percent said they feared the worst was yet to come, and only 29 percent said the opposite.
Even more striking was the division between Mr. Trump's carefree approach to wearing a mask to protect against the virus and widespread support for commissioning the practice in public.
Voters supported the compulsory wearing of masks, a total of 59 to 39 percent, and for women, support for a mandate rose to 70 percent. Among those over 65, 68 percent were in favor, and as many as 30 percent of Republicans said they support a national demand.
There were also concerns about a possible vaccine against the coronavirus. 33 percent said they would definitely or probably not take a vaccine after being told by the F.D.A.
If Mr Biden wins, he will find consensus on some of his political priorities. Two out of three voters were in favor of getting health insurance through the federal government, a so-called public option, and the same majority backed Mr Biden's $ 2 trillion plan to increase the use of renewable energy and build energy-efficient infrastructure.
Even more voters, 72 percent, said they support the package House Democrats have been looking for months to send to Mr Trump: a $ 2 trillion stimulus package that will extend the unemployment insurance hike , Would send business health checks to most Americans and provide financial assistance to state and local governments.
As a sign of the breadth of support for additional relief and the risk Republicans in Congress could take if they block further spending, 56 percent of Republicans said they would support another $ 2 trillion package.
What could prove riskier for Mr Biden and his party, however, is the problem he has been trying for weeks to avoid a clear position: adding more judges to the Supreme Court judge. The poll found that 58 percent of voters said Democrats shouldn't expand the court beyond nine judges, and 31 percent said they should. The opposition among the Independents was even fiercer: 65 percent of them spoke out against enlarging the court.
Isabella Grullón Paz contributed to the coverage.
Here are the crosstabs for the survey.