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Democrat Joe Biden’s leadership has been expanded to double digits against President Trump in the presidential election, an NPR /PBS NewsHour/ Marist poll finds. The bite now leads Trump 53% to 42%, up from an 8-point advantage in late June.
This comes as 71% of Americans now see coronavirus as a real threat, significantly up in the last several months, as more than 167,000 Americans have died and more than 5 million have been infected with the virus.
And yet, more than a third of Americans (35%) say they will not be vaccinated when a vaccine arrives; 60% say they will. There are huge divisions after education and celebration about this. Those with college degrees are 19 points more likely to be vaccinated than those without (72% to 53%), and Democrats are 23 points more likely than Republicans (71% to 48%).
(Only 52% said they would be vaccinated against H1N1 in 2009 in the study, but H1N1 was far less lethal and did not have the same far-reaching effect on the U.S. economy and society.)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he is concerned about the unwarranted vaccine skepticism in some of the country and how it can slow down overcoming the virus.
“We must admit and realize that there is an anti-wax movement that we have had to fight with in this country,” Fauci told the PBS NewsHour last month. “And I think the solution to that would be community involvement … because it could be life-saving, and it would certainly be the solution to this terrible pandemic.”
The study shows that experts like Fauci have some leverage in making the case for the public. Three-quarters of Americans (75%) say they trust the information they hear from health care experts, a lot or a lot. State and local officials are also doing well, with 62% saying they trust what they hear from them.
President Trump, whose approval rating has dropped to 39% in this poll, is seen as an unreliable source of information about the pandemic. Just 31% say they can trust the information coming from the president. Less than half – 46% – say they trust what they hear from news media about it.
In the topics, Trump Biden significantly traces who is considered better at dealing with coronavirus or race relationships. The bite has a 53% -37% lead in handling coronavirus and an even greater 58% -34% advantage in handling race relationships.
Trump retains a narrow edge of 47% to 45% on the economy, but it has got narrower than March, when Trump had a clear lead of 50% to 42% on the issue in an ABC /Washington Post vote.
All of this helps explain Biden’s expanded lead and where the vote is coming from. Biden has now reached a majority (52%) with independents and leads Trump with this crucial group by 16 percentage points.
Biden also has significant benefits with black voters, young voters, whites with a college degree and suburban voters. Trump draws his strongest support from white evangelical Christians, whites without a college degree and those living in rural areas.
But Trump has seen his benefits with other key groups diminish, including with whites everywhere, men and voters in small towns.
What is particularly striking is Trump and Biden now bonded with whites of 48%. Trump had a 6-point advantage over the group in late June.
To emphasize the importance of this, Trump won white voters by 20 points in 2016, and no Democrat has received more than 44% of the white vote (Clinton 1996) in a 1976 presidential election.
That year, Carter got 48% of the white vote and won in an election landslide, but only by 2 percentage points in the popular vote. At the time, whites made up nearly 9 out of 10 voters.
In 2016, whites were down to 70% as a percentage of voters, and demographics point to a continued downward trend.
Neither Trump nor Biden is seen very positively, but Trump’s score is far worse than Bidens’. Only 35% said they have a positive view of Trump, even less than approving of the job he does; 60% have an unfavorable view.
For Biden, 42% had a positive impression, 49% had a negative one.
In particular, Biden leads with 19 points voters who say them dislike both candidates. This is important because in 2016, Trump won voters who said they disliked both Trump and his Democrat Hillary Clinton by 30 points, according to exit polls.
Although Clinton led for most of 2016 in polls, the election broke late in Trump’s direction because of those voters who said they were undecided and said they did not like both candidates.
This survey finds that only 12% are persuasive – either undecided or can change their voice.
The one positive sign for Trump remains his strong backing from his supporters. His voters are more enthusiastic behind him than Biden – 76% of them say they strongly support the president against 64% of Bidens.
A similar three-quarters of Trump supporters say they cast their ballots in favor of Trump, while less than a quarter of Bidens say they are (22%). Half of Biden’s voters say instead that they are voting against Trump.
The Trump campaign has highlighted similar results in other polls, but re-election is about the current president, and voters who oppose Trump are highly motivated to cast their ballots.
One of the goals of the Democratic conference, which begins next week, may be to try to draw more enthusiasm for the ticket, which now consists of the latest Kamala Harris from Biden and California, whom Biden chose to be his running mate this week.
“The election of Harris and the Democratic Convention may change that,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, which conducted the survey. “Certainly one of the goals of the Democratic convention must be to close this enthusiasm for the ticket.”
Half of Americans (50%) now say they cast their own votes, up from 38% in May.
42 percent say they will send their ballots down from 50% in May. And there is a big partisan split.
Biden voters mostly say they plan to cast their ballots by ballot. Post, 62% to 36%.
However, Trump supporters physically plan to go to the polls – 72% to 24%.
Coronavirus – what to do and not to do
American families are hotly debating the right and wrong things to do during the persistent reopening of the pandemic.
Well, here are some numbers to settle these arguments. Most Americans think it’s pretty much a good idea to eat out at restaurants (80%) and get people physically back to work (58%), though to a lesser extent.
However, they do not think it is a good idea to: give large groups of people the opportunity to participate in religious, social or sporting events (27%), give children the opportunity to participate in local or school sports (35%), get Students back to school (40%) or open restaurants where people can eat inside (43%).
The survey of 1,261 American adults, which includes 1,118 registered voters, was conducted by calling cell phones and landlines from August 3 to August 11 by The Marist Poll, in both English and Spanish. The poll has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points when referring to adults, and 3.6 percentage points for registered voters. The study was sponsored in collaboration with NPR and PBS NewsHour.