Trump trails Biden in approval rating, COVID-19 handling may decide presidential election
Washington: US President Donald Trump faces an uphill task in his reelection bid in November with his approval rating hitting a record low and Democratic nominee Joe Biden taking a double-digit lead in key indicators, according to a survey conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News.
The opinion poll, conducted July 12 to 15, shows how the coronavirus outbreak has adversely affected Trump’s prospects.
Now, the president’s hopes of winning are pinned on his enthusiastic core base of supporters and showing the electorate that the pandemic is being dealt with effectively, The Washington Post said in its report on the ABC News-Post poll.
Among registered voters, Biden, 77, leads Trump, 74, 55 per cent to 40 per cent. In the same category, Biden led Trump by just two points in March and by 10 points in May.
The survey found that traditional Republican and Democratic voters are treating the November polls as a referendum on Trump and not on whether Biden is a more suitable candidate, the report said.
Seventy-two per cent of Trump voters say reelecting the president is important, while 62 per cent of Biden voters say defeating Trump is the goal.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by phone among a random American citizens sample of 1,006 adults. Results may have error margin of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points.
The survey said 54 per cent of Americans believe Biden would handle COVID-19 outbreak better than Trump. Only 34 per cent felt Trump was doing well tackling the pandemic.
In handling of the economy, Biden has made giant strides and is nearly on par with Trump in the opinion poll, the ABC News reported.
Biden edges out Trump by 9 points in crime and safety, which has been a major topic in the US after hundreds of anti-racism protests in the last two months.
On race relations, Biden has a lead of 25 points over his Republican rival (58-33 per cent). Trump’s job approval rating has plummeted in the last two months, standing at 39 per cent positive and 57 per cent negative.
Notably, 48 per cent of the surveyed ‘strongly disapprove’ Trump’s way of doing his job, according to the Washington Post’s article.
However, the president has managed to hold a positive view on his handling of the economy with 50 per cent of the surveyed saying they are happy with the US economy’s performance and 47 per cent disapproving.
Biden is perceived to have a better personality and temperament to serve as president, holding 26 points advantage over Trump, the Washington Post reported.
Biden out scores Trump handsomely in ‘uniting the country’ (24 points), understanding problems of the people (17 points), honesty and trust (14 points), representation of ‘personal values’ (12 points).
In the survey, 61 per cent said Trump has done more to divide the country than unite it. Both presidential candidates are seen as strong leaders, sharing the category at 45 per cent each.
The ABC News-Post survey was conducted as coronavirus cases have gone through the roof in the US. So far, the virus has claimed over 140,000 lives with 3.7 million confirmed cases in the US.
Other surveys in recent days have seen Trump trailing Biden. The president last week rejigged his campaign team, elevating Bill Stepien to lead the reelection effort and demoting campaign manager Brad Parscale.
The Republicans have struggled on a consistent and effective line of attack against Biden, and the coronavirus is weighing heavily on the minds of the American voters, the Washington Post article said.