Biden leads Trump by 12 points nationally, president trails on pandemic trust, in new poll

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Joe Biden says President Donald Trump has to realize the “words he utters matter” following the kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Associated Press

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a 12-percentage-point advantage over President Donald Trump, according to a ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The poll, conducted Oct. 6-9, has Biden up 53%-41% among registered voters and 54%-42% among likely voters.

Biden’s lead appears largely a result of voter’s negative opinion of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty-eight percent disapproved of how Trump has handled the virus, while 73% said they were concerned about themselves or an immediate family member contracting the virus, the highest number since the outbreak began.

The findings are among a string of polls showing Biden with a strong lead ahead of the November election. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Biden with a 9.8-point lead, while FiveThirtyEight gives Biden an average 10.3-point advantage.

The poll found Biden with a 69%-25% lead with moderate voters, potentially the strongest polling a Democratic candidate has held among independents since 1988 exit polls.

Notably, that success with independents was not enough to give then-Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis a victory. The polling is also not definitive; Hillary Clinton held a 12-point lead over Trump nationally in an ABC/Post poll on Oct. 22, 2016, even closer to the election.

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Trump maintains a 54% positive approval rating on his handling of the economy. He is in a statistical tie with Biden on whom voters trust to handle the economy,  48%-47%.

Trump maintains a sizable enthusiasm advantage, with 75% of Trump supporters saying they are very enthusiastic about him, compared with 60% of Biden supporters who shared that level of support.

Overall, 44% of Americans approve of Trump’s job as president and 54% disapprove. Trump’s average approval rating in office, 40%, has remained consistent throughout his presidency.

Fifty-six percent also said Trump did not pay his fair share of taxes, following a New York Times report that showed the president paid only $750 in taxes in 2017, his first year in office, and nothing in the 11 out of 18 years for which The Times obtained his tax returns.

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The poll also found anxieties over the election process and a peaceful transfer of power. Just 40% of voters said they would vote on election day, a record low. Fifty-eight percent said they’ll vote early while there has been a slight increase in the number saying they’ll vote in person, 21%, compared with 23% saying they’ll vote by mail.

Seventy-nine percent of registered voters say they’re prepared to accept the outcome of the election, a commitment Trump has refused to make. Eighteen percent said they were not prepared to accept the outcome, including 16% of Biden supporters and 22% of Trump supporters.

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