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


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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