Biden leads Trump by 6 points as voters sour on pandemic response: poll

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Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump nationally amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they would cast their vote for Biden if the election were held today, while 47 percent said they would back Trump. 

The survey comes as Trump’s overall approval rating continues to fall over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak after an initial uptick.

His rating dipped 2 points in the latest survey to 47 percent compared to the previous month, while voters’ approval of his handling of the coronavirus fell 5 points to 46 percent. 

Other polls show Trump trailing Biden at the national level as well as in some battleground states. The RealClearPolitics polling average showed the presumptive Democratic nominee leading the president by 4.7 points on Tuesday. 

Trump is facing backlash from public health officials and business leaders who say the administration does not have a national plan to handle the pandemic, instead deferring to individual states to set up their own reopening plans. 

Experts say the lack of a national testing strategy and uniform federal guidance on reopening could hurt the country’s public health and the economy in the long term. 

“We don’t have a single point of leadership right now for this response, and we don’t have a master plan for this response. So those two things are absolutely critical,” said Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official, during his appearance before Congress last week. Bright has said he was ousted from his post improperly last month. 

Bright went on to say that the U.S. faces its “darkest winter in modern history” if it does not come up with a more coordinated national response. “Our window of opportunity is closing,” he added. 

Trump has also faced backlash for past comments made at his coronavirus task force briefings, which have been scaled back.

Most recently, the president on Monday said he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, a controversial drug that he’s championed as a potential treatment for the coronavirus despite limited evidence from the medical community.

Trump also said last month that his office was studying how certain disinfectants might kill the virus more effectively than others, referencing isopropyl alcohol and bleach. He notably asked at a briefing if there was a way to use disinfectants on the body “by injection inside or almost a cleaning.”

“After 11 months of improving ratings, Trump in the last month set back to below 50 percent in his handling of the crisis after the Clorox press conference as he pulled back from the daily briefings,” Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll Director Mark Penn told The Hill.

The White House has pushed back on criticism that it does not have a coordinated response and claims that the Trump administration threw out the Obama-era pandemic preparedness plan. 

“Some have erroneously suggested that the Trump administration threw out the pandemic response playbook left by the Obama-Biden administration,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a press briefing last week while holding up two binders. “What the critics failed to note, however, is that this thin packet of paper was replaced by two detailed, robust pandemic response reports commissioned by the Trump administration.” 

Meanwhile, the race between Biden and Trump continues to heat up, with both campaigns launching personal attacks on the other. 

Trump’s campaign launched a true-crime style website dubbed “Truth Over Facts” on Monday, hitting Biden over what the president’s campaign called “incomprehensible statements.” The Biden campaign, on the other hand, has continued to ding Trump on various fronts, including the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and U.S.-China relations. 

“[Trump] continues to lag in the national presidential horse race while Biden’s numbers have shown no change up or down. This race is far from over and both candidates have potentially winning scenarios,” Penn said. 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey was conducted May 13-14 by The Harris Poll among 1,854 registered voters. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race and ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Tags Donald Trump Harris Joe Biden Mark Penn
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