How do Biden and Trump match up after the party conventions?

Kevin Luhrs, Reporter

The Republican National Convention is in the rear view, and while we still don’t have the entire picture of the effects of both conventions, polls taken before and after both conventions may give us a preliminary idea of what to expect in the coming weeks. Here are some of the main takeaways:

Joe Biden’s lead is slimming 

In a post-RNC poll done by YouGov, Biden only leads by six points. In a YouGov poll done pre-RNC, Biden was leading by 11 points. A good coronavirus response and an economic rebound would likely slim this lead further, casting even more uncertainty on who will win the election.

Biden supporters are gaining enthusiasm

Since March, another shift has also occurred: one of enthusiasm. A criticism levied against Joe Biden’s presidential bid has been that few of his supporters are thrilled to vote for him, and in the past, this was a much more valid argument. In one of the polls released in May, the enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden reached a high of 35 points, with 69% of Trump voters considered “strongly enthusiastic” to Biden’s 34%. However, that gap has closed to 17 points this month, with 65% of President Trump’s supporters being “strongly enthusiastic” and 48% of Biden supporters saying the same. That’s an increase of 20% of enthusiasm for Biden’s campaign compared to President Trump’s 10% over the same period.

The coronavirus is still a major issue among voters

46% of those polled say that former Vice President Joe Biden would have done a better job of handling the pandemic than President Trump. 69% of registered voters in both YouGov polls were either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about the pandemic. There needs to be a giant perception shift on President Trump’s coronavirus response by the time November comes.

Pessimism about the economy

Optimism about the economy has dropped dramatically among those sampled in an ABC News/Washington Post poll. 71% of those polled thought the economy was doing excellent/good in February, 31% said the same this month. If your swing voters care about the economy and you’re the incumbent, then you’ve got a problem.

It’s not over until all the votes are counted.

We need to keep in mind that these polls are merely a snapshot in time. This analysis can provide what voters were thinking a few weeks ago and today, but not what they are going to be thinking two months from now when they cast their ballots. If public perception regarding the president’s handling of the coronavirus changes and the economy rebounds, this race will tighten up even further, which could put it into the tossup column. This race isn’t over by any means.


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