Some very encouraging news today courtesy of Monmouth University’s latest poll:
Recent headlines may have dented Joe Biden’s favorability rating ever so slightly but he has actually widened his national lead over Donald Trump in the race for president. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds that voters are divided on the credibility of a sexual assault allegation against the Democratic nominee. The poll also finds that former President Barack Obama is largely popular with the American electorate, 2020 voters are not as interested in considering a third party candidate as they were four years ago, and Democrats hold a lead in the generic House ballot. Also, half the nation’s voters are likely to consider voting by mail this November.
Biden currently has the support of 50% of registered voters and Trump has the support of 41%. Another 3% say they would vote for an independent candidate and 5% are undecided. This represents a slightly wider lead for the Democrat than in previous Monmouth polls – 48% to 44% in April and 48% to 45% in March.
When Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan is added to the mix as a Libertarian candidate, Biden gets 47%, Trump gets 40% and Amash gets 5%. During the last presidential cycle, Gary Johnson started his presidential bid as a Libertarian with 11% support in a March 2016 Monmouth poll. His poll standing dropped to 5% by October and he ended up earning just 3% of the national vote. Fewer than 1 in 5 voters have an opinion of Amash (6% favorable and 13% unfavorable), which is similar to voter opinion of Johnson in the spring of 2016 (9% favorable and 15% unfavorable).
“Overall, there is not as much of an appetite for a third option as there was four years ago. It’s too early to tell whether Amash will have an impact but if this election ends up being as close as 2016, even a small showing can have a crucial impact,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Trump registers a negative 40% favorable to 53% unfavorable opinion, which is somewhat more negative than prior polls. The incumbent had a 42% favorable to 50% unfavorable rating in April, a 46% to 49% rating in March, and a 44% to 53% rating in February. Biden’s rating has also slipped over the past two months. The Democrat currently has a negative 41% favorable to 44% unfavorable rating, which is down slightly from even splits in April (41% to 42%) and March (43% to 43%), but is less negative than his standing in February before he emerged as the Democratic frontrunner (40% to 53%).
“Biden’s lead continues to build even as overall opinion of him remains soft. It’s possible that recent headlines about a sexual assault claim may have had an impact on his favorability rating, but most voters still see this election mainly as a referendum on Trump,” said Murray.
Most voters (86%) have heard about an allegation that Biden may have sexually assaulted a woman who worked in his U.S. Senate office in the 1990s. [Note: This question was added to the poll after Biden publicly addressed the issue on Friday morning.] The electorate is divided on the validity of this allegation – 37% say it is probably true, 32% say it is probably not true, and 31% have no opinion. Opinion on this question breaks sharply along partisan lines. More Republicans say the allegation is probably true (50%) than not true (17%) while more Democrats say is it is probably not true (55%) than true (20%). Independents are more likely to feel that the allegation is true (43%) rather than not true (22%), while 35% have no opinion either way. Overall, men (39% true and 29% not true) are slightly more likely than women (35% true and 34% not true) to believe the charge against Biden.
Among voters who say the sexual assault allegation is probably not true, the vast majority (79%) support Biden over Trump (14%) in the presidential contest. Among those who feel it is true, 59% back Trump but 32% still support Biden. Among those who have no opinion on the allegation’s validity, 45% support Trump and 43% support Biden.
“We don’t know what impact this allegation will have in the long run. For some voters who believe the charge, it is still not enough to override their desire to oust Trump. The outlook is murkier for those who don’t have an opinion on it. This group includes a number of Democratic-leaning independents who could potentially be swayed if this story grows in importance,” said Murray.
On the positive side of the ledger for Biden, he received a boost last month with the endorsement of his old boss, Barack Obama. The former president remains broadly popular among American voters with a 57% favorable to 34% unfavorable rating. By party, Obama stands at 92% favorable to 6% unfavorable among Democrats, 56% to 28% among independents, and 19% to 73% among Republicans. Most voters (71%) say that Obama campaigning for Biden would not sway their vote, while 18% say it would make them more likely to support the current Democratic nominee and 10% say it would make them less likely. The true impact is likely to be smaller, though. About 9 in 10 voters who say an Obama appearance would make them more likely to support Biden are already backing the Democrat. A similar number of those who say it would make them less likely already support Trump.
“The real value of having Obama on the campaign trail is not about voter persuasion but to build enthusiasm among the Democratic nominee’s supporters. And if the campaign remains largely digital through the fall, Obama might even help Biden generate media attention that he couldn’t get otherwise,” said Murray.
Vote By Mail also polls very well. Click here for the full results.
So yeah, wanted to pour a bucket of reality on that Reuters/Ispos poll that’s up.
And always remember this about Monmouth’s polling:
"Which Pollsters to Trust in 2018?" Appreciate that @NateSilver538 includes a "degree of difficulty" factor. We don't shy away from polling tougher elections like primaries and House races. https://t.co/BiELGyEjZH … pic.twitter.com/1z0tJ15oZ3— MonmouthPoll (@MonmouthPoll) June 1, 2018
We still have a while to go but we need to keep up the momentum all the way to November. Click here to donate and get involved with Biden’s campaign.