Former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over President Donald Trump has grown despite his absence from the campaign trail, a new poll released Wednesday shows, putting the presumptive Democratic nominee ahead by double-digits.
The Monmouth University poll shows Biden with an 11-point nationwide lead over the president, 52 percent to Trump’s 41 percent among registered voters. That gap is wider than it was in May, when Biden had the support of 50 percent of respondents to Trump’s 41 percent. It’s significantly larger than the gap just before Biden locked up the Democratic nomination in March, when polls showed a much closer, 3-point race.
Wednesday’s survey indicated that the nationwide unrest over the past week, stemming from the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by police, is weighing on the minds of a significant slice of voters, with Trump earning worse marks on race relations amid the upheaval.
One-in-3 voters said race relations will play a major role in their vote for president, though nearly half, 49 percent, said the issue would not factor into their decision at all. Seventeen 17 percent said race relations would play a minor role in their vote.
White voters (27 percent) were less likely than voters of color (44 percent) to call race relations a major factor in their vote, the poll found, and Biden has the advantage when it comes to voters’ confidence in addressing racial inequities, along with a 51-point lead over the president among voters of color.
This could pose an issue for the president, whose campaign had sought to make inroads with black voters ahead of November’s election. Biden, meanwhile, has used the events of the last week to ratchet up the contrast between himself and the president, though Wednesday's poll was conducted before Trump threatened to use the military to end raging protests and Biden delivered a speech rebuking Trump for his handling of the crisis.
The Monmouth poll found that slightly over half of those polled expressed at least some degree of trust in Biden’s ability to handle race relations, compared with only 4-in-10 who said the same of Trump.
Trump did hold an advantage in the degree to which respondents had confidence in him to address race relations — 22 percent said they had a great deal of confidence in the president on the issue versus 17 percent who said the same of Biden. Still, exactly half of those polled said they had no confidence at all in Trump to handle racial issues.
When it comes to the parallel crisis unfolding in America, the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the Monmouth survey found the vice president with another advantage. Just over half, 54 percent, said they have either a great deal or some confidence in Biden to lead the recovery, while just under half, 47 percent, said the same of the president.
On the twin issues of the economy and the coronavirus, respondents were more likely to express a great deal of confidence in Trump — 33 percent — than Biden — 18 percent — to lead the nation’s recovery. Nearly three-quarters of respondents who identified as Republicans said they have a great deal of confidence in Trump, compared with a nearly identical percentage who said they have no confidence at all in Biden. Among those polled who identified as Democrats, just 34 percent have a great deal of confidence in Biden, while 7-in-10 have no confidence at all in Trump’s ability to handle the recovery.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by phone from May 28 to June 1 among 807 adults, including 742 registered voters. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.