Joe Biden has taken a commanding lead over President Donald Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by the New York Times and Siena College.
Biden is currently ahead of Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50% of the responses compared with 36% for Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Trump’s presidency and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term.
Trump has been an unpopular president for virtually his entire time in office. He has made few efforts since his election in 2016 to broaden his support beyond the right-wing base that vaulted him into office with only 46% of the popular vote and a modest victory in the Electoral College.
But among a striking cross-section of voters, the distaste for Trump has deepened as his administration failed to stop a deadly disease that crippled the economy and then as he responded to a wave of racial-justice protests with angry bluster and militaristic threats. The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration.
Biden leads Trump by enormous margins with black and Hispanic voters, and women and young people appear on track to choose Biden by an even wider margin than they favored Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. But the former vice president has also drawn even with Trump among male voters, white voters and people in middle age and older — groups that have typically been the backbones of Republican electoral success, including Trump’s in 2016.
Most stark may be Biden’s towering advantage among white women with college degrees, who support him over Trump by 39 percentage points. In 2016, exit polls found that group preferred Clinton to Trump by just 7 percentage points. The poll also found that Biden has narrowed Trump’s advantage with less-educated white voters.
The exodus of white voters from the GOP has been especially pronounced among younger voters.
Fifty-two percent of white voters under 45 said they supported Biden, while only 30% said they supported Trump.
Some unease toward Trump stems from voters’ racial attitudes. According to the poll, white voters under 45 are overwhelmingly supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, while older white voters are more tepid in their views toward racial-justice activism.
Even among white seniors, one of Trump’s strongest constituencies, he has damaged himself with his conduct. About two-fifths of white voters over 65 said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of both the virus and race relations.
Trump retains a few points of strength in the poll that could offer him a way to regain a footing in the race.
His approval rating is still narrowly positive on the issue of the economy, with 50% of voters giving him favorable marks compared with 45% saying the opposite.
The president is also still ahead of Biden among white voters without college degrees, who hold disproportionate influence in presidential elections because of how central the Midwest is to capturing 270 electoral votes.