Former Vice President Joe Biden held a significant national lead over President Donald Trump in most opinion polls, even as late as last week, but a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released late Tuesday shows Trump narrowing that gap, with the pair now within just two points.
Last week, Biden led the Reuters/Ipsos poll by a respectable six points, as Americans expressed concern that Trump was not effectively handling the coronavirus crisis. Now, though, that lead has “evaporated,” according to Reuters, leaving Biden just two points ahead of Trump and well within the poll’s three point margin of error.
Biden’s lead is down even further from a month ago when he led Trump by a staggering eight points nationwide.
“The opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 43% of registered voters said they would support Biden in the Nov. 3 presidential election, while 41% said they would back Trump. That makes the contest essentially a toss-up, as the results are within the poll’s credibility interval,” the outlet said. “Biden led by 6 percentage points in a similar poll last week and by 8 points in a poll that ran April 15 to 21.”
Biden is certainly at a disadvantage as far as headlines are concerned. The president is still making regular briefings about progress against the coronavirus pandemic and has shifted focus to “reopening” the American economy, particularly in light of staggering job loss numbers and pay drops. Biden has been forced to play backup, holding the occasional livestream from the basement of his Delaware home, or appearing on cable news networks.
But even those appointments have become scarce, largely because Biden is now dogged by sexual assault allegations, which were leveled late last month but receiving significant airtime last week and potentially eroding American confidence in the former vice president.
Reuters says it’s unable to quantify how deeply those allegations affected Biden, but at least 53% of the poll’s respondents said they were “familiar” or “very familiar” with Biden accuser Tara Reade and her story of sexual assault, which dates back to Biden’s time in the Senate.
The news is better for President Trump, who has recently struggled to regain American confidence after record high approval ratings. Respondents are more confident that Trump, rather than Biden, can handle the coronavirus epidemic, and far more confident that Trump, rather than Biden, can mastermind an economic recovery.
“According to the poll, 45% of Americans said Trump was better suited to create jobs, while 32% said Biden was the better candidate for that. That pushed Trump’s advantage over Biden in terms of job creation to 13 points, compared with the Republican president’s 6-point edge in a similar poll that ran in mid-April,” Reuters reported. ‘Thirty-seven percent said Trump was better leading the country’s coronavirus response, while 35% preferred Biden. A similar poll in mid-April showed Biden had a slight edge over Trump when it came to the nation’s response to the disease.”
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