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Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden with supporters at a pre-Wing Ding march from Molly McGowan Park in Clear Lake, Iowa, August 9, 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Poll: Biden holds 7-point lead among likely voters

Monmouth poll’s first likely-voter model still turns up good news for former vice president

By Nikita Biryukov, September 10 2020 11:00 am

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a nine-point with registered voters lead over President Donald Trump and a seven-point lead with likely voters, according to a Monmouth University poll released Thursday.

The Democratic nominee leads the incumbent 51%-42% with registered voters and 51%-44% among likely voters.

Biden’s supporters are also firmer in their political leanings. Forty-three percent of registered voters and 45% of likely voters said they were certain they would vote for the Democrat, while only 37% of registered voters and 41% of likely voters said the same of Trump.

About half of the electorate said they were certain they would not support Trump, while about 40% said they would never back Biden.

Recent reports detailing disparaging comments Trump is said to have made about members of the military have bled through to voters’ views of the president, but they don’t appear to have changed the dynamics of the race all that much.

Three-in-ten voters said the president had no respect for military personnel, while only 12% said the same of Biden. A vast majority, 71%, said Biden had some or a great deal of respect for veterans and members of the armed forces, while 55% said the same of Trump.

“Biden has an edge on the question of respecting those who serve in our armed forces, but it doesn’t really look like recent allegations of Trump allegedly disparaging them have created any notable change in the campaign’s trajectory,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Worryingly, 24% said they were not too confident the election would be handled fairly and accurately, and 13% said they had no confidence it would be.

Still most voters, 61%, said they were very or somewhat confident the race would go on without interference.

“We usually focus on the majority’s view when describing public opinion, but in this case minority opinion could be sizable enough to have an impact on the election’s legitimacy,” Murray said. “The question is whether any disbelief in the outcome might lead to other consequences.”

More voters believe the incumbent would cheat to win a second term than think Biden would do the same to return to the White House as president.

A little more than half, 52%, of voters said they believed Trump was at least somewhat likely to cheat to ensure a win, while 39% said the same of Biden. Unsurprisingly, those results are split along party lines, with Republicans believing Biden will put his thumb on the scale and Democrats believing Trump will do the same.

“The president has already started sowing doubt about election integrity. This not only increases skepticism among his own supporters but also raises suspicion among his opponents,” Murray said. “So basically, we have voters on both sides who are becoming more inclined to distrust a result they won’t agree with. And that simply can’t be good for the health of the republic.”

The president’s approvals continue are at a lackluster 40%-53%, while Biden’s are slightly above water at 47%-44%.

Voters that hold a negative view of both candidates—they accounted for 16% of registered voters—still far prefer Biden to Trump by a margin of 44%-22%, but those figures are far tighter than they were last month, when 55% said they preferred Biden and 17% said they preferred Trump.

Among likely voters who dislike both candidates, Biden leads 50%-26%.

“Both shifts are positive for the challenger. Some voters who were supporting Biden primarily as an anti-Trump vote have developed a more favorable opinion of the Democrat. That’s a good indicator for his ability to hold their support. And Biden continues to have a decisive edge among voters who still hold their noses about both candidates,” said Murray.

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