The poll also shows pessimism about the economy growing, a factor that could help Biden and hurt Trump in the poll.
The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll finds Biden getting 55 percent support, versus 45 percent for Trump. Biden has 96 percent support from Democrats, while Trump has 89 percent support from Republicans. Independents break for Biden by a 54 to 46 percent margin.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has yet to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, also leads Trump, winning 53 percent to Trump’s 47 percent. However, Biden has a near-insurmountable lead in delegates over Sanders. Biden leads Sanders among Democrats nationally by 36 points, 58 to 31 percent.
The president’s job approval rating is at 48 percent positive and 52 percent negative, just off its all-time high of 49 percent positive.
The coronavirus is by far the biggest issue on the minds of voters, and 50 percent said they approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.
A strong majority, 72 percent, said they’re watching the daily White House press briefings. A plurality of those, 43 percent, said the briefings have given them a more favorable view of Trump. Thirty-seven percent said the briefings make them view Trump less favorably.
“While attitudes toward the economy are tanking, politics seem almost frozen in time,” said Harvard CAPS-Harris polling director Mark Penn. “Trump is gaining in approval but people are taking a very wait and see attitude with handling the virus the determining factor. The presidential horse race remains unchanged but not sure it is very meaningful at this point — it’s the Democratic primary that is now locked with Biden as the candidate but the overall race remains in flux.”
There’s a bunch of interesting results in this poll. Despite 55% thinking the economy is on the wrong track, 54% still approve of Trump’s handling. Also, 60% believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D. CA) is acting too partisan during the coronavirus pandemic. By the way, I’d recommend reading President Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe’s interview in Vanity Fair. He’s sounding optimistic about the dynamics of this election:
Looking back at the last election, are there lessons we can draw from Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Clinton and Joe Biden are different people, different styles, but they’re not that different in aggregate. They’re legacy candidates with whom people have a lot of familiarity and who don’t inspire enormous passion.
Well listen, the remarkable thing is Trump won late deciders [in 2016]. He dominated among late deciders even though he was viewed more unfavorably than Hillary Clinton, which defies political history and logic. It’s because he was change and she wasn’t. “Even though I like him less, he was change.” Trump is now the incumbent. He’s the status quo. Biden’s the change. I think, just as we’ve seen a flight to safety in markets, I think Biden can build a campaign where he’s a flight to safety. He may not be the most exciting guy. Maybe he’s not going to be on Mount Rushmore, but he’s stability at a time we need it. I think that is part of Biden’s stock that’s underappreciated.
The thing is, they’re going to have to figure out how to deal with Trump day-to-day. I still think there’ll be debates. Maybe there won’t be, but I think Trump will not want to miss that spotlight.
Trump’s masterful at dominating the discussion, and polluting and dominating the oxygen. How do you compete with that day-to-day, without being inconsistent with where you are? You’ve got to figure out that riddle. Trump’s campaign understands this. If you have anything you want to say about anything, the first thing you need to think about is, What is our communication strategy on social networks? Facebook’s different than Instagram, and it’s different than YouTube, and that’s different from Snapchat, which is different from TikTok.
I think the Biden campaign needs to get that orientation. That’s something we didn’t do well enough in ’16 that we need to. If you think about Democrats who innovate—with Jimmy Carter, there’s less innovation, but any Democrat probably would have won that election post-Watergate—Obama, Clinton, and Kennedy all were innovators. Obama with the internet, Clinton doing things like Arsenio Hall and The War Room. Then Kennedy obviously utilizing television.
I think standard boilerplate campaigns do not work for Democrats. Why is that? It’s because to win the presidency in an electoral college system is harder for Democrats than Republicans. There are more conservatives than liberals in battleground states and they get easier turnout.
We have to run really, really good, innovative campaigns. That is not a revelatory statement, but that concerns me.
We have a long a tough race ahead of us and we have to get ready. Click here to donate and get involved with Biden’s campaign.