Another Double-Digit Poll for Biden

Trump continues to lag.

Via ABC News, Powered by trust on the pandemic, Biden leads by 12 points nationwide: POLL.

The presidential race stands at 53%-41%, Biden-Trump, among registered voters, and a similar 54%-42% among likely voters, with minimal support (in the low single digits) for the Libertarian and Green Party candidates. Biden’s advantage rests on his support among women, racial and ethnic minorities, independents and an unusually wide lead among moderates.

I think the lack of third party support is telling, and is to Biden’s favor. This year third-party voters have largely decided that ousting Trump is more important than signalling dissatisfaction with the two party duopoly.

The pandemic is a major issue:

Joe Biden holds a 17-point lead over Donald Trump in trust to handle the coronavirus pandemic in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, powering the Democrat to a double-digit advantage in vote preference with the presidential election three weeks away.

In the aftermath of his own COVID-19 diagnosis, two-thirds of registered voters say Trump failed to take appropriate precautions against the virus, 62% distrust what he says about it and eight months since its arrival in the United States just 21% say it’s under control.

I cannot see how Trump’s ongoing irresponsibility doesn’t do anything other than reinforce these views.

As with all stories about Biden’s ongoing poll leads, the story is compelled to temper the mood:

This poll describes the current contest; it’s not remotely close enough to Election Day to be predictive of the outcome. Look no further than 2016: Hillary Clinton held a 12-point lead on Oct. 22, 17 days before the election, following sexual assault allegations against Trump and disclosure of his lewd comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape. That contracted to Trump up by 1 point eight days later, as GOP voters set aside their doubts and returned to his ranks, and Clinton up by 2 points a week before the election.

While worthwhile to continually point out that today’s polling is not a prediction for Election Day, it remains likewise important to note that Biden is in the 50%+ range while HRC was in the high 40s and that the trend for Biden has been remarkably more stable than was the case in 2016. Note, too, the aforementioned third party polling. There is simply less places for Trump to make up ground the way he did in 2016.

Again: Biden has absolute majority support and there are only a very small number of people who are dedicated voting third party or are undecided.

In other words: for 2016 to repeat itself, a lot of currently dedicated Biden voters would have to change allegiance. This is unlikely.

Trump does continue to poll well in regards to his handling of the economy.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Biden’s campaign is in the, get out the vote, phase. While the polls aren’t a prediction, but as you point out the duration of the lead, its slow expansion over recent weeks, the fact that he is over 50% are significant and added to that are the indications of erosion of support from Trump in key demo’s.

    Arguably one of the factors that sunk Clinton is that her campaign failed to get out the vote. Biden needs to avoid this.

  2. Teve says:

    The other day I idly wondered, ‘what percentage of voters know what they’re doing?’

    Trump, moreover, has ammunition: 54% now approve of his handling of the economy, the most since March (albeit by a single percentage point). In contrast with his deficit on the pandemic, he continues to run essentially even with Biden in trust to handle the economy, 48%-47%.

    So now I know that at least 54% have no Earthly idea.

  3. Kurtz says:

    Less than a week ago, 538’s forecast had it at Biden 80% to win. It’s now 84-16.

    We are getting to the point where a massive shock or a rather large systematic polling error going Trump’s way (it could just as easily go Biden’s way) is DJT’s last hope.

    The clock is Trump’s main opponent; Biden just needs to run between the tackles.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Given that Trump is a narcissistic lunatic, my worry is that he’s going to proclaim that he won on November 3rd, no matter what the votes show or that they might still be being counted in some states. And the Republican party goes along with it because it’s terrified by the threatened violence from Trump supporters. And the Dems will cave as well, because “keeping the peace.”

    At that point, you might as well stick a fork in the U.S., because it will be done.

    The only way to deal with a narcissist is to stop giving him what he wants. No one has ever punished Trump for acting like a spoiled brat, so he continues to carry on.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t know where I first heard the conventional wisdom that an incumbent in a two way race that is still under 50% within a month of the election is probably toast, but over the years it seems to have proven itself out pretty well. The logic is that if a voter is undecided about a well known candidate then they will probably stay home or break to the rival. In 2016 I was always concerned with Hillary being under 50% because, while not an incumbent, she was the much better known of the two candidates. It’s obviously a good sign that Biden is over fifty, especially because I suspect that those still on the fence are relatively unaware of Biden. After all, for 9 years the Republicans went after Obama, Obama, Obama and barely mentioned Biden at all.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    I meant to add to my comment above that the devil on my other shoulder keeps whispering another piece of conventional wisdom: When a bigot is running they tend to poll about 5% under the final vote. There are a lot of racists in this country that don’t want to tell pollsters what they really believe in their hearts.

  7. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “And the Dems will cave as well, because “keeping the peace.”

    There are many things to worry about in the world. This should really not have a high place on your list.

  8. de stijl says:

    Ads here are all GOTV on the R side at this point.

    The ads barely mention the D candidate by name.

    It is all Scary Pelosi and her liberal mob want to defund the police so black thugs can defile your daughter bullshit.

    Zero outreach. All is to rally the base and gotv.

    That message and tone has been evident for weeks.

    Good, I say.

    It means they are very worried. I am too cautious to say Ernst is toast, but signs point to yes.

    Speaking of signs. Yesterday my feet got antsy and my walk was 2.5 or 3 miles out before I turned back. I saw yard signs. 50, 60, maybe 70 – in that range. Call it 60.

    There were zero Trump signs. None. It was 60 – 0. This is a +14 D precinct. Most every yard with a sign had downticket signs too.

    By all rights 36% of the yard signs should have been Trump signs. But there were none.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    There is another wild card factor that might affect the outcome in Trump’s favor: the need for many, many men and (seemingly) a few number of women to associate themselves with an alpha male so they can bask in the Big Man’s glow. To someone who doesn’t have this tendency, Trump is a cartoonish buffoon, a pompous blowhard that makes Foghorn Leghorn look like a true leader (and I mean that literally). But certain individuals get all tingly when they here his certainty, his willing to punch (always down, never up), and the expansive way he includes them in his “Us” when it comes to the us against them way they live their lives.

    Just look at the few Trumpers who show up here, and the pathetic way they rush into the comment section, spray a bunch of nonsense all over to rile up the regulars without every bothering to read a reply, and run away as fast they can, no doubt with a warm feeling as they think about how Trump would approve if he only knew about what they did.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    From the quoted ABC piece,

    Look no further than 2016: Hillary Clinton held a 12-point lead on Oct. 22, 17 days before the election, following sexual assault allegations against Trump and disclosure of his lewd comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape.

    Republicans pretty well succeeded in burying the Access Hollywood story with the likely colluded release of the DNC emails and Comey sent his letter in late October. It’s hard to see where the GOPs come up with comparable October surprises. Well, October surprises favorable to them. Durham is apparently a bust, as is Huntergate. They don’t seem to have been able to tee up anything else. Trump may still try to announce a vaccine, he’s already claiming a cure. The drug company is backpedaling on cure, and they’re unlikely to back up a bogus vaccine claim. People will laugh at him. The GOPs have an army of lawyers lined up, but that sort of ratfracking would need one or two states like FL in 2000, very close and large enough to swing the EC. It doesn’t look like it’ll be that close.

    Polls have been remarkably stable, except for a Biden-ward drift. I’m worried, but I can’t see what Trump can do to change the situation. And 538 is now down to 14% chance for Trump.

  11. CSK says:

    Cult45 still seems to think their boy is going to win in a landslide. This could be bravado, or wishful thinking, or maybe they’re just living in the same bubble as Trump, refusing to acknowledge the existence (literally) of anyone who isn’t a Trumpkin.

  12. Matt says:

    @de stijl: The Trump signs I’ve seen have been in the white well off neighborhoods. Oddly enough I’ve seen quite a few Biden signs in those same neighborhoods. Based on my non scientific observations there are a bit more Biden signs. The big difference this year is that the Trump signs aren’t huge in your face with flags like they were in 2016. Some are still flying their freak but the vast majority of signs for Trump I’ve seen have been small and close to the house. There’s a house I need to stop by to see what they are doing this year. In 2016 the house I’m talking about was absolutely covered in anti-Hillary and pro-trump banners/signs including the less tasteful ones such as “trump the bitch”.. Be interesting to see how enthusiastic they are this year.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump does continue to poll well in regards to his handling of the economy.

    *Which just reflects the curve upon which mediocre white men are graded upon, after receiving a gift from a far superior black man*.

    **Obama got the economy going again but after 2010 he was severely constrained by a Republican congress in what he could do to improve it. So he gets limited credit. trump’s big economic input was a tax cut that did so little for the economy that after 1 quarter it went back to the growth rate it had before. So… No credit. But most Americans can’t read a graph.

  14. Dutchgirl says:

    When Biden wins I will breathe a sigh of relief but I will not celebrate. There will be hard push to ratf#@& the incoming administration between November and January 20th.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Steven Taylor

    Trump does continue to poll well in regards to his handling of the economy.

    Well, sure, handling… after all he only has to grab it by the …

    Nevermind. It’s late, I’ll see myself out.

  16. de stijl says:


    Beaverdale in Des Moines is roughly equivalent to Edina in Minneapolis. Predominantly white and well to do. Single family houses; not super richey rich, but rich adjacent.

    There are neighborhoods in St. Paul near Como Park that are basically equivalent.

    The whitest place I’ve ever lived by far. I grew up in a sketchy part of South Minneapolis. The thought that I would end up living in an Edina analog would have been absurd to my teenage brain.

    Demographically, this should be Trump territory – UMC and white. There should be Trump yard signs here.

    I have seen a handful, but Biden signs outnumber them 20 to 1 at least.

    I walk 3-4 miles four or five times a week.

    Obviously, yard signs don’t vote and my geography is walking distance, but the discrepancy between what rationally should be there and what actually is (or is not in this case) is very compelling.

    I cannot say anything about national trends, but in my hood Trump is losing badly. Bigly.

  17. BugManDan says:

    @de stijl: Here in SC, I haven’t seen any Biden signs. In the rural upstate, the Trump signs are as big, if not bigger than 2016. But the rest of the state has no signs or only smaller ones. A few flags hanging at the front door.

    The most surprising is the number of down ballot (specifically) US Senate signs in favor of Dems. I haven’t seen a single Graham sign but a ton of Harrison.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl, @Matt:
    I’m vacationing in rural Michigan at the moment, west of Traverse City. The signage splits are fascinating. The affluent resort areas and the towns that support them don’t have many signs, but the ones you see are overwhelmingly pro-Biden, including a variety of “Republicans for sanity” pro-Biden signage. The penumbra of the resorts has more signage, which splits about 2:1 for Biden. But if you get into the interior, away from any large towns, you hit serious Trumpistan (at least as indicated by yard signs) pretty quickly.

  19. Kathy says:

    Let’s be honest: many of us are afraid to jinx it.

  20. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: ‘Afraid to jinx it’! Hell, I am scared to SAY it!