Biden holds 13-point lead over Trump in Florida: poll

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has opened up a 13-point lead over President Trump in the key battleground state of Florida, according to a new poll.

The former vice president leads Trump 51 percent to 38 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, a sharp increase since Florida voters were last surveyed by the pollster in April, when Biden led Trump 46 percent to 42 percent.

Trump narrowly won Florida and its 29 electoral votes in 2016, edging out then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by just over 1 percentage point.

But the president is in a considerably worse position now than he was in July 2016, when Trump held a narrow 42 percent-39 percent lead over Clinton in the Sunshine State.

The president’s disapproval rating in the state also increased, according to the Quinnipiac poll. In April, 51 percent of Florida voters disapproved of the job Trump was doing. That number has since gone up, with 58 percent of voters polled in the state disapproving of the president’s performance.

When it comes to the most pressing issues at hand, Trump leads Biden 50 percent-47 percent when it comes to the economy but trails in all of the other issue questions. Notably, 58 percent of respondents said Biden would better handle the coronavirus pandemic, while 38 percent said Trump would. Similarly, 55 percent said Biden would be better in a crisis compared to 42 percent who chose Trump.

COVID-19, which has infected over 4 million people in the country and killed over 140,000, has been one of the main contributors to Trump’s poll numbers taking a nosedive the last several months.

Throughout the pandemic, the president has faced constant criticism about his administration’s handling of the crisis. This criticism has only amplified in the past month as a resurgence of COVID-19 has swept across the American South.

Florida, one of the earliest states to reopen its economy amid the pandemic, is now the epicenter of the virus. On Thursday, the state reported its most deaths from the virus in a single day with 173. Its previous high was 156 on July 16. The state’s seven-day average for daily new cases is over 11,000.

In the poll, nearly 60 percent of Florida voters said they disapproved of how the president was handling the coronavirus, with just 37 percent saying they approved. This was another jump from April’s numbers, when 46 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved. A majority of those surveyed — 70 percent — described the spread of the virus in Florida to be “out of control,” and 83 percent said it was a serious problem.

Trump, who changed his state of residence from New York to Florida in 2019, recently traveled to the state for a trio of appearances, where he avoided discussing Florida’s spiking numbers.

The president instead focused on the military and the southern border wall, barely mentioning the pandemic, though he said the U.S. was “going to do very well” against it.

“As long as I am president, I will not allow your sacred mission to be undermined or attacked in any way,” Trump said during remarks at the U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Doral at the time. “I will not have open borders, we will not abolish the police and we will not slash the budgets for our military, and we will not allow our country to be swamped with deadly drugs.”

On July 10, the day that Trump was Florida, state health officials reported 11,433 new cases of coronavirus.

Trump has since struck a more sober tone on the coronavirus in the face of rising disapproval of his handling of the pandemic, acknowledging earlier this week that it would “get worse before it gets better.” 

The president has also taken a firm stance that the nation’s schools should reopen for in-person teaching in the fall, even threatening to withhold funding from schools that fail to do so.

When asked about sending the state’s K-12 students back to physical classrooms in the coming weeks, 62 percent of respondents said it was unsafe to have students return.

separate poll conducted by St. Pete Polls for the website Florida Politics and AARP Florida that was also released on Thursday showed Biden having a smaller six-point lead over Trump, 50 percent-44 percent.

Tags 2020 general election Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Florida Florida polls Hillary Clinton Joe Biden polls

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