Joe Biden has a double-digit lead over President Trump less than three weeks into election day, according to a new poll by the Wall Street Journal / NBC News of registered voters.
The poll found that Mr Trump was recovering from a 14-point deficit earlier this month in a poll conducted immediately after the debate with Mr Biden, but still in a weaker position than he was in September when he was the former Vice President left behind by 8 points.
The poll also includes warning labels for rejecting Republicans. Democrats were 8 points ahead of Republicans when voters were asked which party they wanted to support for Congress.
Voters appear to be motivated by concerns about the country’s direction rather than their own economic gains.
About 50% say they are better off than four years ago, compared to 34% who are worse off. However, 58% say the country is doing worse than it was four years ago, compared to 38% who are better off. In addition, over 60% of voters say the country is going in the wrong direction.
The # 1 electoral problem among respondents was the economy, and voters gave Republicans a 13-point advantage over Democrats as a better economic manager. However, respondents said that this election cycle will not be voting on this issue alone.
“The economy is the main problem. People say, “Yes, I think Trump is better for the economy,” but he’s still lagging behind, “said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who also conducted the poll with Democrat Jeff Horwitt.
Mr McInturff said a recent example of Republicans losing an election while leading the way with voters in dealing with the economy was at mid-2018, when Democrats got enough seats to regain control of the house.
Democrat Peter Hart, who also participated in the poll, said voters are considering more than the economy. More than half of respondents said they were concerned that Mr Trump would divide the country rather than unite it. “In the 2020 presidential election, voters want to heal physically, economically and mentally,” said Hart.
In addition to the economic lead, there were a few other positive signals for Mr Trump. By 12 percentage points, voters see the Republican Party as better suited to dealing with crime. Voters almost equally agreed on whether they want a president who confronts and challenges the establishment – a hallmark of Mr. Trump’s style – or someone who is competent and compassionate.
Respondents said Mr. Trump’s 88% support among Republicans – compared to Mr Biden’s 96% support among Democrats – indicated that the president had room to expand his support in the weeks leading up to the election. Since voting is based on the voting card rather than the referendum, the president only needs to make a profit in a handful of states.
Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who worked on the poll, said Mr Trump could get another victory on the electoral college by drawing new voters to the elections in Michigan, Florida, and other swing states. “And it doesn’t take thousands and thousands of people.”
While trying to build support, Mr Trump lags behind Mr Biden in terms of sympathy. In the last two polls, more voters indicated that they viewed Mr Biden positively as negatively – for the first time since 2018 – albeit by a single percentage point. By comparison, Mr Trump’s negative views outweighed positive ones by 11 percentage points.
Mr Biden “has improved his standing over the course of the campaign, which is remarkable given the rudeness of our policies,” said Mr Horwitt.
Mr Biden continues to win with groups that supported Mr Trump in 2016, such as seniors and white women. At the same time, Mr. Trump’s lead has weakened in some key areas of his base, including white men with no college degrees.
A majority of voters are unhappy with the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. About 41% are in favor of his handling of Covid-19 in the last survey, compared with 57% who oppose it.
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Regarding their own coronavirus diagnosis, only a quarter of respondents said the president had taken the necessary precautions, while 44% said they were taking unnecessary risks.
The Journal / NBC News poll polled 1,000 registered voters October 9-12. The error rate was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Among the 1,000 voters, 42% identified themselves as Democrats and 36% as Republicans – a 6-point lead, in line with the polls by Journal / NBC News earlier this year. Last month’s poll found a 9-point difference that respondents say may have been a consequence of polling in the two days following the confrontational presidential debate. Journal / NBC News respondents do not match the sample to a set percentage of Democrats or Republicans.
Write to Eliza Collins at email@example.com.
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