Former Vice President Joe Biden is nine points ahead of President Donald Trump as both candidates prepare to nominate conventions over the next two weeks, a new national poll shows.
The Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll published on Sunday found that 50 percent of U.S. voters intend to vote for Biden this November, compared with 41 percent who support Trump.
However, the results show that Biden didn't generate much enthusiasm from voters as its positive rating comes in at 39 percent – a five point increase from last month's previous outlets survey.
"This poll is a warning to Democrats and the Biden team that there is still much to be done," Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who worked on the poll, told the Wall Street Journal.
A new national poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden is nine points ahead of President Donald Trump as both candidates prepare for convention nominations
The Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll published on Sunday found that 50 percent of U.S. voters intend to vote for Biden this November, compared with 41 percent who support Trump
Fifty-eight percent of those who said they would vote for Biden said their choice was driven by opposition to Trump rather than support from the challenger.
On the flip side, 74 percent of those who supported Trump said their vote was for him rather than against Biden.
"In one way Biden's vote looks like Trump's in 2016: a vote against your opponent rather than a support for him," Jeff Horwitt, another Democrat who worked on the poll, told WSJ.
Democrats are confident that this week's nominations congress will help bolster Biden's popularity within the party by highlighting his strengths as well as his Vice President Kamala Harris.
However, it is unclear what impact this year's conventions will have on both parties as they are being held via Zoom due to coronavirus concerns – which hinders the usual lively atmosphere that inspires voters.
Republicans will hold their meeting the week of August 24th. Trump struggled to keep the event in person but was ultimately folded under pressure from experts who said it was not safe to hold such a large gathering.
The WSJ / NBC News poll was conducted between August 9th and 12th before Biden announced Harris as his runmate.
However, the poll included a few questions about Harris, as there was widespread speculation that she would join the ticket.
It found that the former California attorney general is rated positive by 39 percent of voters and negative by 35 percent. 14 percent said they had not yet formed an opinion.
Harris' popularity was driven by support from women (45 percent) and color voters (45 percent), which was offset by low preference for men (32 percent) and white voters (36 percent).
The poll showed that Biden's colleague Kamala Harris was rated positive by 39 percent of voters and negative by 35 percent. 14 percent state that they have not formed an opinion
Biden has a strong 21-point lead among women – 57 percent of women say they will vote for him, compared to 36 percent who will vote for Trump.
The challenger also crushes Trump when it comes to black voters, with 88 percent support compared to the president's eight percent.
The split is less severe among Hispanic voters: 57 percent support Biden and 31 percent support Trump.
Trump currently has a four point lead over Biden for men (47 percent versus 43 percent).
Biden is keen to increase his support among men, including making a $ 25 million promotional purchase of National Football League games beginning in September that runs until the election.
Fifty-eight percent of those who said they would vote for Biden said their choice was driven by opposition to Trump rather than support from the challenger
On the flip side, 74 percent of those who supported Trump said their vote was for him rather than against Biden
Biden's nine-point lead equates to the edge Hillary Clinton had over Trump at this point in the 2016 election cycle – a reminder that the numbers could change dramatically if people vote in November.
However, Trump faces an uphill battle over the aftermath of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as the economy struggles to recover.
The poll found that 53 percent of voters reject Trump's performance in office and his job approval rating is 44 percent – two points more than in July.
"This doesn't seem like the place to go to win re-election," Bill McInturff, a Republican who helped conduct the poll, told WSJ. "It has to get better."
The newspaper noted that in recent history incumbent presidents with ratings near or over 50 percent have won re-election, while those among them have lost.
Prior to his re-election in 2012, President Barack Obama's approval rating was 51 percent. Before Obama, President George W. Bush's approval rating when he was re-elected in 2004 was around 50 percent.
Respondents were asked to rate which candidate they thought was better at handling different issues. The results are shown above
In a positive sign, Trump scored 10 points more than Biden when voters were asked which candidate could do better with the economy – the top issue among the test subjects – at 48 percent compared to Biden's 38 percent.
But Trump did badly on pandemic questions, with 58 percent of people saying they disapproved of his response.
Fifty-three percent of people said Trump didn't take the threat seriously enough to begin with and he still isn't handling it well, up from 45 percent who said so in April.
Six in ten respondents said the nation's response to the outbreak was successful. As of Sunday, more than 5.36 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and nearly 169,500 have died.
Nearly 60 percent of voters polled in the WSJ / NBC News poll said they disapproved of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Sunday, more than 5.36 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and nearly 169,500 have died
Trump's low job approval rating of 44 percent is due to persistent double-digit unemployment as a result of the pandemic.
The unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.7 percent in April and fell to 10.2 percent in July.
If it stays at this level into the autumn, it would be only the fourth time since the beginning of the Great Depression that the US has faced double-digit unemployment in the last four months of a presidential campaign, according to the WSJ.
More than three quarters of those surveyed rated the economy as fair or bad, up from 68 percent in June and 44 percent in December.
Ratings of the economy were split by party lines, with nearly half of Republicans saying it was excellent or good, compared to four percent of Democrats who said it was.
Almost 80 percent of voters indicated a high level of interest in the election – seven points more than in a poll a month before the 2016 election.
WSJ / NBC News poll results are based on responses from 900 registered voters with an error rate of 3.27 percentage points.
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