Some very good news today courtesy of Monmouth University’s latest poll:
Joe Biden currently holds an 11-point lead over Donald Trump in the presidential race as more voters say they trust the challenger to handle race relations in the country. The latest national Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds somewhat more confidence in Biden’s ability to handle the post-pandemic recovery efforts with more voters thinking that the outbreak will hurt Trump’s reelection prospects than said the same two months ago. Most voters feel that limitations on holding in-person events during the pandemic will have no impact on the campaign’s tone.
Biden currently has the support of 52% of registered voters and Trump has the support of 41%. The Democrat’s lead has been slowly widening. It stood at 50% to 41% last month, 48% to 44% in April, and 48% to 45% in March.
“The race continues to be largely a referendum on the incumbent. The initial reaction to ongoing racial unrest in the country suggests that most voters feel Trump is not handling the situation all that well,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. [Note: Most of the interviewing for this poll was completed before Trump’s appearance outside the White House on Monday.]
One-third of voters (33%) say that race relations will be a major factor in their vote for president this year and another 17% say it will be a minor factor. About half (49%) say it will not be a factor at all in their vote choice. More voters of color (44%) than white voters (27%) say that race relations will be a major factor. However, there are partisan differences among white voters who feel this way – ranging from 48% of white Democrats to 35% of white independents and just 4% of white Republicans who say that race relations will be a major factor in their decision.
Overall, more voters express confidence in Biden than say the same about Trump when it comes to handling race relations. Just over half have confidence in Biden’s ability to deal with this issue (17% a great deal and 35% some), while 17% do not have much confidence and 29% have none at all. Only 4 in 10 voters, though, have confidence in Trump (22% a great deal and 18% some), while 10% do not have much confidence and fully half – 50% – have none at all.
Republicans tend to hold extreme views on both candidates’ abilities. Nearly 6 in 10 GOP voters (58%) have a great deal of confidence in Trump’s ability to handle race relations and an identical 58% have no confidence at all in Biden. On the other hand, nearly all Democrats (89%) have no confidence at all in Trump on this issue, but just 32% say they have a great deal of confidence in Biden. However, most of the remaining Democratic voters express some confidence (53%) in his ability to handle race relations. Few independents have a great deal of trust in either Trump (12%) or Biden (13%) on this issue, but they are far more likely to express no confidence at all in the incumbent (50%) versus the challenger (27%).
“The lack of a public campaign during the pandemic may be hurting Trump, but it is not necessarily helping Biden. Trump has not been able to lean on the large rallies that generate positive feedback for him, but Biden has not been much of a presence at all on the public stage. Many voters think the Democrat could do a good job, but they haven’t seen enough of him to judge for certain,” said Murray. [Note: The poll was conducted before Biden’s speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday.]
Turning to the post-pandemic recovery, just under half of the nation’s voters have either a great deal (33%) or some (14%) confidence in Trump’s ability to deal with the recovery, while 12% do not have much confidence and 40% have none at all. Just over half have either a great deal (18%) or some (36%) confidence in Biden’s ability to deal with the recovery, while 12% do not have much and 33% have none at all.
The fact that more voters have a great deal of confidence in Trump than Biden when it comes to the coronavirus recovery is due to greater certainty among the president’s partisan base. Among Republican voters, 74% have a great deal of confidence in Trump and 75% have none at all in Biden. In comparison, while 70% of Democrats have no confidence at all in Trump’s ability to handle the recovery, just 34% say they have a great deal of confidence in Biden.
“Biden may have issued a multipoint recovery plan for the coronavirus outbreak, but it’s a bit like the proverbial tree falling in an empty forest. Even if you are a Democrat, it’s a little difficult to express your full-throated endorsement of a plan you haven’t heard about,” said Murray.
More voters think that Trump’s handling of the outbreak has made it less likely (38%) rather than more likely (18%) that he will be reelected in November. This marks a shift from April when opinion on this question was almost evenly divided (31% less likely to 27% more likely). Another 41% say that Trump’s handling of the pandemic will have no impact on his reelection prospects, which is up slightly from 36% two months ago.
The poll also finds that favorability ratings for both candidates have dipped in the past month. Trump registers a negative 38% favorable to 57% unfavorable opinion, which is more negative than prior polls. The incumbent had a 40% favorable to 53% unfavorable rating in May, a 42% to 50% rating in April, a 46% to 49% rating in March, and a 44% to 53% rating in February. Biden’s rating stands at 42% favorable and 49% unfavorable, which compares with 41% to 44% in May, 41% to 42% in April, 43% to 43% in March, and 40% to 53% in February. The number of voters with no opinion of Biden increased from 8% in February to 17% in April. This has decreased to 9% in the current poll, with most of that opinion shifting into the unfavorable column.
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