Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States, which has claimed the lives of over 2,800 Americans and counting, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump by significant margins in polling measuring their presumptive general election match-up. In a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, Biden nabbed a full 55 percent of the overall support, compared to just 45 percent for Trump. Biden’s lead appears sparked both by a lead among independent voters in particular and significantly deteriorating views of the economy among the public.
A full 54 percent of independents said they’d vote for Biden, while just 46 percent said the same of Trump, which is close to the distribution overall. Unsurprisingly, the vast majorities of the respective major parties said they’d go for their respective candidates, so independents appear to constitute the “swing” voters.
Additionally, a full 55 percent of respondents said they think the economy is heading the wrong direction. Only 41 percent agreed with that statement in polling from the previous month. The numbers of those describing the economy as weak and strong, respectively, swung even more dramatically — although in last month’s polling, a full 70 percent called the economy strong, now, a full 43 percent say the economy is weak — that figure, of course, approaches a majority of respondents. These sentiments are no doubt driven by the economic upheaval wrought by attempts to stem the spread of the Coronavirus, which has entailed the closure of businesses across the country and drove new unemployment filings to sky-high, record levels recently.
Harvard CAPS-Harris polling director Mark Penn commented overall:
‘While attitudes toward the economy are tanking, politics seem almost frozen in time. Trump is gaining in approval but people are taking a very wait and see attitude with handling the virus the determining factor. The presidential horse race remains unchanged but not sure it is very meaningful at this point — it’s the Democratic primary that is now locked with Biden as the candidate but the overall race remains in flux.’
A full 72 percent of the new poll’s respondents said that they have been watching the daily press briefings from Trump’s Coronavirus response task force, and 43 percent of those respondents said the briefings have given them a more favorable view of the president, whole 37 percent of the briefing-watchers said the opposite. 50 percent of respondents overall said that they approve of Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus — and, on the flip side, a full 54 percent of respondents said that they approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.
President Trump raised questions on Sunday about why there is such a large demand for masks in hospitals and again charged there is some “hoarding” of ventilators, without providing any evidence or examples. https://t.co/OM7UT8tJum
— CNN (@CNN) March 30, 2020
Trump’s time leading the U.S. Coronavirus response has been marked by stumbling. Over the weekend, he even suggested that medical personnel in hard-hit areas like New York might be hoarding essential supplies like masks — a claim which there is absolutely no evidence for. Authorities around the country have been requesting assistance in obtaining crucial, life-saving supplies amidst the outbreak, but Trump has often stuck to these conspiracy theories and lashed out at those he thought weren’t “appreciative” enough for what the federal government has already been doing, even though the gaps remain.
Sen. Gillibrand: "I think the president's wrong and he has been absolutely unhelpful in his constant rhetoric of pitting one state and one region against the other, including attacking our first responders and saying that somehow masks are missing."https://t.co/GdWBCfDpKn
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 30, 2020