Americans are giving President Donald Trump poor marks for his handling of race relations in the United States, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.
Four voters in 10 said they had a great deal, 22%, or some, 18%, confidence in Trump’s ability to deal with race issues. Another 10% said they had little confidence, and 50% said they had none at all.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, received slightly higher marks on race, with 17% saying they had a great deal of confidence in him and 35% saying they had some.
Another 17% said they had little confidence, and 29% said they had none.
Those results were predictably split along party lines, and 58% of Republicans said they had high confidence in Trump and none in Biden.
Biden has continued to widen his lead over the incumbent in the polls. Wednesday’s poll put the Democrat ahead of Trump, 52%-41%. That’s up from the statistically similar 50%-41% lead Biden had last month.
In April, Biden led 48%-44%. In March, he led 48%-45%.
“The race continues to be largely a referendum on the incumbent. The initial reaction to ongoing racial unrest in the country suggests that most voters feel Trump is not handling the situation all that well,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Campaign activities for both candidates have been interrupted by the pandemic and, more recently, by widespread protests, though the majority of the polls responses were collected before Monday.
“The lack of a public campaign during the pandemic may be hurting Trump, but it is not necessarily helping Biden,” said Murray. “Trump has not been able to lean on the large rallies that generate positive feedback for him, but Biden has not been much of a presence at all on the public stage. Many voters think the Democrat could do a good job, but they haven’t seen enough of him to judge for certain.”
More voters say they have a great deal of confidence in Trump’s ability to lead a post-pandemic economic recovery than they did for Biden (33%-18%), though a greater share of respondents said they had at least some confidence in the former vice president’s leadership on the issue (54%-47%).
Trump’s Republican base remains at the president’s back. 74% of them said they had a great deal of confidence in his ability to lead a post-pandemic recovery, while 75% of the same group said they had no confidence in Biden’s ability to do the same.
The numbers were less stark among Democrats, 70% of whom said they had no confidence in the incumbent’s ability to spur the economy. Only 34% of Democrats said they had a great deal of confidence in Biden’s ability to do the same.
“Biden may have issued a multipoint recovery plan for the coronavirus outbreak, but it’s a bit like the proverbial tree falling in an empty forest,” Murray said. “Even if you are a Democrat, it’s a little difficult to express your full-throated endorsement of a plan you haven’t heard about.”