Biden doubles lead over Trump to 12 points in national poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled his lead over President Trump to 12 points as voters expressed disapproval with the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus, racial tensions and the economy, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill. 

Fifty-six percent of likely voters said they would vote for Biden if the election was held today, while 44 percent said they would back Trump, wider than the Democrat’s 6-point lead in the same poll last month

The poll is in line with recent national surveys showing Trump losing ground, including in battleground states that will determine the election, as voters sour on his responses to several crises hitting the country, including most recently the nationwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd. 

Forty-three percent of voters said they approved for Trump, down 4 points from the last Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey and the lowest since early 2018. Meanwhile, 57 percent of voters said they disapproved of the president. 

“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,” said Mark Penn, polling director for the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, referring to the daily briefings Trump used to hold earlier this year and his remarks suggesting people inject disinfectant as a way to treat COVID-19. 

“He continues to lag in the national presidential horse race while Biden’s numbers have shown no change up or down,” he added, while also noting that “this race is far from over and both candidates have potentially winning scenarios.”

A number of other state and national polls show Biden leading Trump. The RealClearPolitics polling average on Tuesday showed Biden up 9.8 points over Trump.  

Meanwhile, polls out of Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan also show Biden leading the president, though with narrower margins, raising the prospect the election could tighten with more than four months to go. 

Trump has experienced a difficult stretch, including attracting intense scrutiny over comments he has made on the national protests and on controversial historical figures. 

“This has been a weak month for President Trump and the Republicans who have not found their footing after the emergence of the George Floyd protests and given the concern about a possible second wave and concern about opening up too fast,” Penn said, regarding fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections as states start reopening their economies.

“Biden’s favorable remains under 50 percent but he shows real strength in this month’s horse race and the Democrats stayed steady as the Republicans tumbled,” he added.

Trump said on Tuesday that he is readying an executive order that would reinforce existing laws in the U.S. that punish people for vandalizing monuments. The statement came hours after protesters tried to topple a statue of President Jackson in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House. 

A number of historical monuments have been defaced in the U.S. amid nationwide protests over racial injustice. 

“I will have an executive order very shortly, and all it’s really going to do is reinforce what’s already there, but in a more uniform way,” Trump told reporters. 

Trump also made headlines at a rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday when he said that coronavirus testing was a “double-edged sword” and that he told his staff to “slow the testing down, please.”

The president told reporters on Tuesday that he was joking when he made the comments. He also told CBN News on Monday that he did not ask staff to slow down testing.

“Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world and we have the most of them,” Trump said. “By having more cases it sounds bad, but actually what it is is finding more people.”

The Tulsa rally, which marked Trump’s return to the campaign stage, also attracted attention for drawing in less people than his campaign had anticipated amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Oklahoma.

Biden has widened his lead over Trump despite not holding a press conference in around two months, and Trump has tried to draw the presumptive Democratic nominee into the fray, believing the gaffe-prone former vice president would make some potentially game-changing mistakes during unscripted moments in the public eye. 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,886 registered voters was conducted June 17-18. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2020.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval. 

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Mark Penn
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