(CN) — New polling data shows that former Vice President Joe Biden is perceived to have more respect for American troops compared to President Donald Trump, while the former VP continues to hold a commanding national lead against the president with registered and likely voters.
With election day just weeks away, a Monmouth University poll released Thursday shows the state of the race remains largely unchanged over the past few months, with Biden still enjoying a respectable national lead against the incumbent. Thursday’s poll shows Biden with the support of 51% of registered voters nationally compared to 42% support for Trump, a 9-point advantage. The rest say they support a third-party candidate, like the 2% each for Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, or are undecided.
The Monmouth poll also utilized, for the first time, a likely-voter model that also shows Biden leading Trump nationally by 7 points.
Thursday’s figures are virtually identical to the pre-convention lead Biden held over Trump last month.
Given recent allegations that Trump made disparaging comments about veterans — particularly ones that had been wounded or killed in action — Thursday’s poll shows that voters believe Biden is more respectful of America’s troops than Trump. Around 7 in 10 registered voters say they think Biden respects the troops either a great deal (48%) or to some degree (23%).
For Trump, 41% of voters think he supports the troops a great deal and 14% say he supports them to some degree. But another 30% of voters say they don’t think Trump has any respect for military personnel at all, while just around 12% say the same for Biden.
Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that while Biden certainly holds on to a notable lead among voter perceptions on respect for the troops, it appears that the recent allegations against Trump in this regard have not really changed the race in any notable way.
“Biden has an edge on the question of respecting those who serve in our armed forces, but it doesn’t really look like recent allegations of Trump allegedly disparaging them have created any notable change in the campaign’s trajectory,” said Murray with the release of the poll.
Thursday’s poll also explored how voters feel regarding the integrity of this year’s election. While around 60% of voters are at least somewhat confident the election will be fair and accurate, around a quarter of voters are not too confident and 13% say they are not confident at all.
A good portion of voters also believe that so-called “secret voters” and cheating could play a role in November’s election.
Just over half (55%) of voters think that there are secret voters in their community that silently support Trump and his reelection bid but refuse to tell anyone — a voting bloc that, according to Murray, does not exist according to the evidence.
Some voters also feel like both the Biden campaign and the Trump campaign would resort to cheating if that is what it took to claim victory, though voters are more likely to think Trump would cheat than Biden. While 14% of voters think it is only somewhat likely that the Biden or Trump campaigns would cheat this election, 38% say it is very likely that Trump would cheat compared to the 25% that say the same for Biden.
Regardless of who voters think would play dirty in an effort to win, Murray said this level of distrust in our election is not healthy for the nation.
“The president has already started sowing doubt about election integrity. This not only increases skepticism among his own supporters but also raises suspicion among his opponents. So basically, we have voters on both sides who are becoming more inclined to distrust a result they won’t agree with. And that simply can’t be good for the health of the republic,” said Murray.
In a peculiar twist, while skepticism in the integrity of our election is ticking upward, so too is voter enthusiasm. The poll reports that nearly half of voters say they are more enthusiastic for this presidential contest than they were for the one in 2016, a number that has been rising steadily all year. For comparison, four years ago just 21% of voters felt more enthusiastic about the 2016 election than they felt about previous contests while almost half said they felt less enthusiastic.
All told, 57% of Democrats, 51% of Republicans and 42% of independents say they feel more excited than usual about the 2020 election.
It is worth noting that while enthusiasm runs across party lines, there is one group that feels especially optimistic about their chances: Republicans. While 33% of Democrats say they feel good going into the election, nearly 50% of GOP voters say they feel the same — suggesting that they are not too worried about the incumbent’s chances come November.
Thursday’s poll of 758 registered voters contained a 3.6% margin of error.