As Democratic Convention Kicks Off, Poll Shows Biden Up 12 Points Over Trump

Vice President Joe Biden and Presidet Donald Trump will vie for voters in November. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CN) — Bolstered by voter enthusiasm and a warm reception for Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, new polling data shows Joe Biden continues to command a sizable lead over President Donald Trump.

As Democrats begin to kick off their largely virtual Democratic National Convention where Biden is set to officially accept his party’s presidential nomination, a ABC News/Washington Post poll reports that Biden will do so with a sizeable 12-point advantage over Trump among registered voters, 53%-41%. Among likely voters, Biden maintains a 10-point lead over Trump, 54%-44%.

Biden’s lead represents a shift among voters, namely in their enthusiasm and confidence. In March, when Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination began to clear as more rivals bowed out of the race, just 28% of Biden backers said they were enthusiastic to cast a ballot for the former vice president. Monday’s poll shows that number has notably jumped since then, with nearly half of Biden’s supporters now expressing their enthusiasm.

While Biden’s new numbers in the enthusiasm department still trail behind Trump’s figures — 65% of Trump supporters say they are excited to vote for him in November — Biden’s improvement here could prove crucial to voter turnout during an election complicated by a global pandemic.

More voters have also concluded that a trio of important American issues would be improved under the guiding hand of a Biden presidency. While voters are mostly split on whether the economy would improve under Biden, double-digit margins of voters think that health care, the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic and race relations would be bolstered by Biden’s leadership.

While these positive polling trends for Biden began prior to his selection of Harris as his running mate, her inclusion on the ticket has so far been well received by voters. Over half (54%) of voters say they approve of Harris joining the race, while just 29% say they disapprove of Biden’s pick.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The same number of voters who approve of Harris also believe the California senator is more than capable of taking up the responsibilities of president should something ever happen to Biden — though current Vice President Mike Pence enjoys the same expectation among respondents. But a third of respondents in Monday’s poll say they think Harris is too liberal to be a decent VP pick — a critical talking point of some Republicans since her selection.

Still, Harris is the only member of a ticket with majority favorability among voters. While Trump and Pence have 42% and 44% favorability ratings, respectively, and Biden straddles the line at 50%, Harris currently enjoys 52% of overall voter favorability.

According to the poll, the only candidate among the four who is unfavorably viewed by a majority of voters is the president himself, with 56% of Americans expressing dissatisfaction. 

Trump’s statistics are certainly not being helped by the fact that most Americans grow increasingly anxious over the state of the national economy and the coronavirus pandemic. Only 14% of respondents say they think the Covid-19 outbreak is under control and roughly two-thirds believe the economy is in dire straits.

Trump’s overall job approval numbers reflect these concerns. Just 43% of voters say they approve of the job Trump has done in office compared to the 55% who disapprove of his performance, while another 59% of voters specifically voiced their disapproval for how he has handled the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voters’ thoughts about Trump in these key areas appear to be motivating the support for Biden. While over 70% of Trump voters say that when they cast a vote for Trump it will be an act of support for the president, a majority of Biden voters say when they vote it will be for the purpose of defeating Trump.

While not a conventional motivation, recent election history shows that this drive can push a candidate to victory. Just four years ago, 57% of Trump supporters said that they were most concerned about casting a vote against Hillary Clinton — practically the number of Biden supporters who say the same for Trump. 

Monday’s poll of 1,001 adults contained a 3.5% margin of error.

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