Joe Biden widens poll lead as voters say Donald Trump did not take virus seriously

David Millward
·4 min read
Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden - Chip Somodevilla
Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden - Chip Somodevilla

With the presidential election just over two weeks away Joe Biden is pulling away from Donald Trump according to the latest opinion polls released on Sunday. 

The surveys, one taken following last week's chaotic presidential debate and the other after Mr Trump was tested positive for Covid-19, make grim reading for the US president as he undergoes treatment for the virus at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland.

A post-debate poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal put Mr Biden 14 points ahead of the president, the biggest gap the survey has recorded this year.

Should the findings prove accurate Mr Biden could be heading for a landslide victory. But four years ago an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken just over three weeks ahead of the election gave Hillary Clinton a 14-point lead.

Alarmingly for Mr Trump a second survey, taken after it was announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19, showed little sign of public sympathy for the president.

According to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, which saw Mr Biden's lead widen to 10 points, 65 per cent of voters believed that Mr Trump could have avoided being infected if he had taken the coronavirus pandemic more seriously. That view was held by 50 per cent of Republicans.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday last week as voters digested the fallout from the presidential debate in which Mr Trump faced criticism for his combative approach in which he interrupted Mr Biden and the moderator, Chris Wallace at least 128 times.

Jeff Horwitt, a Democrat and one of the pollsters, declared that Mr Biden was the clear loser.

The other pollster,  Bill McInturff who is a Republican, believed the surge in Mr Biden's support represented what he described as a "shock to the system" following the anarchic events of Tuesday night.

He suggested that Mr Biden's lead would probably drop back to between eight and nine points by election day, which would still leave Mr Trump in considerable trouble.

The detailed findings of the poll contained some particularly alarming news for Republican strategists, showing a haemorrhage in support from the key groups of voters who swept Mr Trump to victory four years ago.

The president who held a 13-point lead over Mr Biden among men over 50 in the poll taken before the debate, found himself one point behind according to the latest survey.

Seniors now back the former vice-president by a substantial 27 points and the poll also showed Mr Biden enjoying the support of 58-per cent of suburban women, compared to Mr Trump's 33 per cent.

Donald Trump addresses the nation after his diagnosis
Donald Trump addresses the nation after his diagnosis

The president's support has also weakened among white working-class men who are of pivotal importance in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

In all 49 per cent of voters believed Mr Biden won the debate, compared with 24 per cent who believed that the president had outperformed his opponent.

Mr Biden was also found to have displayed the right temperament by 58 per cent of voters, compared to 26 per cent of respondents who favoured Mr Trump.

A majority of voters have a positive view of Mr Biden - for the first time since 2018.

A second poll, which was conducted by Reuters and Ipsos on Friday and Saturday,  put Mr Biden 10-points ahead of Mr Trump, slightly higher than other recent surveys.

It showed that the former vice president was backed by 51 per cent of likely voters on November 3.

The findings also showed that voters were unhappy about the administration's handling of the coronavirus epidemic, which has claimed more than 211,000 lives in the US.

In all 57 per cent of respondents disapproved of Mr Trump's handling of Covid-19 and only 34 per cent believed the president had been telling the truth about the virus while 55 per cent said he was not.

There was more alarming news for Mr Trump in a series of polls taken in key battleground states.

A CBS News/YouGov poll put Mr Biden seven points ahead in Pennsylvania and the two candidates tied in Ohio.

A New York Times/Siena poll on Saturday also gave Mr Biden a seven-point lead in Pennsylvania and also showed him enjoying a five-point lead in Florida.

Americans actually voted in the 2016 election.