Former Vice President Joe Biden has a slight lead over President Donald Trump in the latest Washington Post/ABC presidential tracking poll, but that doesn’t mean the news is all good for Biden: the poll found that fewer than 35% of Democrats are “enthusiastic” about casting a ballot for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
“The poll surveyed national support among registered voters, given the option of a head-to-head choice between Trump and Biden. It found that while the former vice president had a 7-point lead in February, that has since winnowed to 2 points, putting Trump and Biden at essentially a statistical tie among registered voters,” the Washington Examiner reported Sunday.
Of course, national polls give very little insight into a presidential election, which relies heavily on state-by-state results, but the ABC/WaPo poll does provide some insight into Democratic voter enthusiasm — and it’s bad news for Biden. While 53% of expected Republican voters feel “very enthusiastic” about Trump, only 32% of Democrats feel “enthusiastic” about the former Veep.
Only 24% of Democrats are “very enthusiastic” or “strongly enthusiastic,” leaving Biden with a severe dearth of principled support, a key element for a successful presidential bid. According to ABC News, it may actually be a significant hurdle: it’s “the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC/Post polls.”
It’s rough for Biden even when he’s up against Trump: “[e]ven among those who support Biden for the nomination, his very enthusiastic support against Trump is just 39% (with an additional 50% somewhat enthusiastic).”
ABC News notes that Biden has difficulty contending with the strong economy, which a majority of voters attribute to Trump’s policies.
“Trump is aided in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, by his ratings on the economy. Despite deep economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, 57% of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, a new high in ABC/Post data. And Trump leads Biden in trust to handle the economy, 50-42%,” per ABC.
A slight majority of voters also believe they trust Trump to handle the coronavirus issue over Joe Biden. Biden leads Trump in handling of health care, likely a callback to Biden’s role in passing the Obama Administration’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”).
Other polls, released over the weekend, have sunnier news for Biden. Fox News, for example, has Biden a strong 9 points ahead of Trump among voters on a national level.
Joe Biden has struggled with visibility lately. Without the ability to hold large-scale political rallies — and with most states canceling their April primaries — Biden has been forced to make his own publicity, first broadcasting “shadow briefings” from his basement recreation room in Delaware and, when those failed, hosting live “happy hour”-style meetings with supporters (those drew in fewer than 3,000 viewers).
For a time, Biden was on a media blitz, appearing on several cable news programs, but that effort came to an abrupt end after a series of high-profile on-air mishaps.
President Trump, meanwhile, has hosted a daily coronavirus briefing, giving him direct access to Americans without the need for stadium rallies.