USC Poll shows 11-point lead for Biden over Trump

Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump by 11 points in a new national poll, bolstered by a 13-point lead in the suburbs and Trump’s lower levels of support among key groups he won in 2016, including white people, men and seniors.

The latest USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future survey finds Biden at 52 percent nationally against 41 percent for Trump, with 7 percent undecided.

Among voters in the suburbs, Biden leads 53 percent to 40 percent. Trump and Biden are tied among white suburban voters.

In 2016, Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton effectively fought to a tie in the suburbs with Trump handily winning white suburban voters. In 2018, suburban voters swung toward Democrats, helping the party win a majority in the House.

“Obviously it’s still early and we don’t know the full impact and future course of the ongoing racial strife and the two nominees’ reactions to it, but one thing is clear: Trump starts the fall campaign in a weaker position than any incumbent since George H. W. Bush,” said Robert Shrum, the director of the Dornsife Center.

Shrum is a veteran Democratic political consultant who has advised Biden’s Senate campaigns and the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.

Biden leads Trump 49 percent to 45 percent among men after the president won male voters by double-digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump by 6 points among seniors, a reversal from Trump’s 7 point advantage in 2016.

Trump and Biden are tied among voters without a college degree, a demographic that helped the president to unexpectedly carry Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2016.

Among white voters, Trump’s lead is 9 points, or about half of his 2016 advantage over Clinton. Trump leads Biden 60 percent to 34 percent in rural agricultural areas, down from his 3-to-1 margin over Clinton in 2016. Trump is running 9 points behind his 2016 numbers among rural women. 

“The race can tighten as election days nears, but Biden is still in a strong position,” said Mike Murphy, co-director of the USC poll. “Trump is underperforming in the groups he needs, particularly suburban voters. And he’s running out of time to change that.”

When voters are asked how they think people in their social circles will vote, Biden leads Trump 50 percent to 45 percent. Biden’s lead is 47 percent to Trump’s 46 percent when voters are asked how people in their state will cast a ballot.

“One potential explanation for Biden’s significantly smaller lead resulting from these methodologies is that Democratic voters were surprised by Trump’s victory in 2016 and are particularly nervous about the outcome of this election,” said Jill Darling, USC’s polling director. “Another possibility is that they’re an indication of growing Biden support among social circles that are more traditionally in the Trump camp. Our colleagues who added these questions have used them to very accurately predict outcomes in previous races in the U.S. and in Europe and we’re interested to see how they perform in this very unusual election year.”

USC’s online panel poll was conducted between Aug. 11 and Aug. 29 and has a 1 percentage point margin of error.

Tags Al Gore Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden John Kerry

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