2020 election: Biden in best position for any challenger since Jimmy Carter in 1976, polls show

Mr Biden came out on top of more than 40 national polls conducted in May. Last candidate to do so was Carter, subsequent winner of 1976 election


Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 01 June 2020 21:21 BST
Michael Moore predicts Joe Biden will win popular vote by 'five million'

Former vice president Joe Biden has gained a clear national lead against president Donald Trump in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll ahead of the 2020 election.

In the poll of registered voters conducted between 25-28 May, 53 per cent of respondents said that they would vote for Mr Biden over 43 percent who favoured Mr Trump were the election held on the day they were questioned.

Just two months ago the same poll had the two candidates virtually tied at 49 per cent to 47 per cent.

The Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic impact have all damaged the president’s poll numbers, but he retains his core of supporters.

CNN reports that Mr Biden’s standing in polls puts him in one of the best positions for a challenger candidate since scientific polling began in the 1930s.

Mr Biden came out on top of the more than 40 national polls conducted during May. The last candidate to do so was Jimmy Carter, the subsequent winner of the 1976 election.

The former vice president has been ahead of the incumbent Mr Trump in an average of polls in every month of this year with his lead never dipping below four per cent.

When considering polls that include calls to the cell phones of individuals (considered more accurate), Mr Biden’s average lead may be larger still at around seven per cent.

As polls only capture a moment in the mind of the electorate they cannot be seen as predictive.

With protests gripping much of the nation, a worsening economic situation, and no end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic, there are more moving parts in play then in a usual election year.

The Washington Post reports that Americans appear to be evenly divided over who is better equipped to handle the economy, with both candidates at 47 per cent, while they favour Mr Biden over Mr Trump to handle the coronavirus pandemic (50 per cent to 42 per cent).

Data from the poll also shows that the president’s 51 per cent approval rating in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in March has fallen to 46 per cent, while the percentage of people that disapprove of his approach has climbed from 45 per cent to 53 per cent.

It should be remembered that national polls offer no indication of state-by-state numbers that are more indicative of the outcome of the electoral college, which ultimately decides the presidency over the popular vote, as was the case in 2016.

Polling shows that while Mr Trump’s base is more enthusiastic about their candidate and definite in their plans to turn out for him in November, Mr Biden has made large gains with senior citizens and suburban voters — crucial constituents that put Mr Trump in office and now appear to favour Mr Biden by a large margin.

Mr Trump’s net approval rating in the poll comes in at minus eight points, the polling average is minus ten points. An incumbent president has not been this unpopular since George HW Bush in 1992 and, again, Jimmy Carter in 1980, who both lost their re-election bids.

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