QU Poll: Biden holds 11 point lead as Trump approval on pandemic dips

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Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump 50 – 39 percent in a head-to-head matchup in the election for president, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of registered voters released today. That’s up from the 49 – 41 percent lead Biden held in an April 8th national poll, but the change is within the margin of error. Democrats go to Biden 88 – 5 percent, Republicans go to Trump 87 – 8 percent, and independents go to Biden 47 – 36 percent.

“What does the 11 point Biden lead tell us? At best for Team Trump, it says voter confidence in President Trump is shaky. At worst for them, as coronavirus cases rise, Trump’s judgement is questioned – and November looms,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.


More than two months into the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., President Trump’s job approval rating ticks lower. 42 percent of voters approve of the job President Trump is doing, while 53 percent disapprove. That’s compared to a 45 – 51 percent job approval rating he received in April, his highest ever.

On the president’s response to the coronavirus, 41 percent of voters approve and 56 percent disapprove. That is down from a 46 – 51 percent approval rating in April.

On the president’s handling of the economy, 50 percent approve while 47 percent disapprove, compared to a 51 – 44 percent approval in April.

On his handling of healthcare, although underwater, the president receives his highest approval rating ever, a negative 41 – 54 percent. In April he received a negative 39 – 54 percent approval.


Voters are split on who they think would do a better job handling the economy, with 48 percent saying Biden and 47 percent saying Trump. In April, Trump led Biden on this question 49 – 44 percent.

Voters also say 57 – 37 percent that Biden would do a better job than Trump handling health care compared to 53 – 40 percent in April.

Biden outscores Trump on honesty, good leadership skills, and caring about average Americans. Voters say:

  • Biden is honest 47 – 41 percent, while Trump is not honest 62 – 34 percent;
  • Biden has good leadership skills 51 – 40 percent, while Trump does not 58 – 40 percent;
  • Biden cares about average Americans 61 – 30 percent, while Trump does not 56 – 42 percent.


Today, Biden receives a slightly positive 45 – 41 percent favorability rating, but this is not significantly changed from his split 43 – 43 percent favorability rating in April. President Trump has a negative 40 – 55 percent favorability rating, compared to a negative 41 – 52 percent favorability rating in April.

Separately, voters were asked about sexual assault allegations leveled against Biden by a former Senate staffer in the 1990’s. In recent weeks, Biden has publicly denied the allegations made by Tara Reade. Asked which do you tend to believe most, 28 percent say the accusation made by Tara Reade, 28 percent say the denial made by Joe Biden, and 38 percent say they haven’t heard enough about it.


By a sixteen-point margin, 55 – 39 percent, voters say they think Biden would do a better job than President Trump handling the response to the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci gets the highest marks for his handling of the response to the coronavirus, as voters approve 68 – 22 percent. However, this approval is less positive than it was in April, when Dr. Fauci received a 78 – 7 percent approval rating. Also getting high marks are state governors, as voters approve 66 – 31 percent of how their state governors are handling the response to the coronavirus, though this approval rating is lower than the 74 – 24 percent rating they received in April.

When it comes to other government officials and how they are handling the response to the coronavirus:

  • CDC: 56 percent approve, 36 percent disapprove;
  • Democrats in Congress: 45 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove;
  • Republicans in Congress: 38 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove.


Two-thirds of voters, 67 percent, say that President Trump should wear a face mask when he is out in public, while 27 percent say he should not. There are sharp partisan divides, as 90 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents say the president should wear a mask in public, but only 38 percent of Republicans say the same.

This is very similar to the responses on the question of whether everyone should be required to wear a mask in public, as 64 percent say yes and 33 percent say no.

“Americans are emphatically calling on fellow Americans to wear masks, including the president – who refuses,” added Malloy.


As states begin to reopen their economies, voters place the emphasis on caution. Three-quarters of voters (75 percent) say the country should reopen slowly, even if it makes the economy worse, while 21 percent say the country should reopen quickly, even if it makes the spread of the coronavirus worse.

Asked what they think is safe to do right now, regardless of individual state restrictions:

  • 74 percent think it’s unsafe to get on an airplane, while 23 percent say it’s safe;
  • 62 percent think it’s unsafe to go to a restaurant, while 37 percent say it’s safe;
  • 50 percent think it’s unsafe to go to a barbershop or hair salon, while 48 percent say it’s safe;
  • 49 percent think it’s unsafe to go to a clothing store, while 49 percent say it’s safe.

A majority (55 percent) think it’s safe to go to a workplace outside their home, while 39 percent say it’s unsafe.

“Reopen slowly, even if we are rolling the dice on how it will affect the economy, say three-quarters of American voters. As far as sending kids off to college, hopping on an airplane, or getting a haircut, there are reservations,” added Malloy.


As to when people think there will be a widely available vaccine for coronavirus in the U.S., 44 percent say it will be more than a year from now, 40 percent think it will be within a year and 12 percent say a few months.

When it comes to expectations for a second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall, 47 percent of voters say a second wave is very likely, 40 percent say it’s somewhat likely, and 12 percent say it’s not so likely or not likely at all.


About half of voters do not feel it will be safe to send students of any age back to school in the fall.

Voters say 50 – 43 percent that they do not think it will be safe to send students to college in the fall, and 52 – 40 percent that they do not think it will be safe to send students to elementary, middle, and high schools in the fall.


Roughly half of voters (49 percent) say the coronavirus crisis has had a negative impact on their mental health, with 50 percent saying it has not.

“Hanging in there but feeling vulnerable, nearly half of voters say this is all taking a mental toll,” added Malloy.


About 4 in 10 voters (42 percent) say they are very concerned that the economy will fall into a depression, 39 percent say they are somewhat concerned, 11 percent say they are not so concerned, and 8 percent say they are not concerned at all.

Roughly three-quarters of voters, 74 percent, rate the economy as not so good or poor, while 23 percent rate it as excellent or good.

Compare that to just 5 months ago in December of 2019, when voters’ ratings of the economy hit an all- time high: 73 percent rated the economy excellent or good, and 25 percent rated it not so good or poor.

1,323 self-identified registered voters were surveyed nationwide from May 14 – 18 with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.

Visit poll.qu.edu or www.facebook.com/quinnipiacpoll

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