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Biden opens up largest lead of the year over Trump

Gregory Korte
Bloomberg

Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump 50% to 36% in a new nationwide poll Wednesday, the latest alarm bell for the president’s campaign as the economy, coronavirus and Black Lives Matter protests continue to weigh on his re-election bid.

The 14-point difference in the New York Times/Siena College poll matches the largest margin Biden has seen this year, and it shows the presumptive Democratic nominee leading or making inroads among a broad cross-section of demographic groups.

Amid a campaign schedule curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, the former vice president is ahead by 22 points among women, but also 3 points among men. He’s ahead or effectively tied in every age and ethnic group, and he leads by 21 points among independent voters.

A car passes a yard displaying a campaign sign for Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 in North Hampton, New Hampshire.

Trump’s only dependable lead comes from registered Republicans and from the one demographic group that gave him an advantage in industrial battleground states in 2016: white, non-college educated voters. He leads Biden among that cohort by 19 points.

Trump’s 50% approval rating on economic issues continues to be a bright spot. Only 39% approve of his handling of criminal justice, 38% on the coronavirus, 33% on race relations and 29% on the nationwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

Trump has responded to the protests by ordering federal troops to guard the White House and celebrating the “Great American Heritage” of statues and military bases commemorating Confederate generals. His attempt to reboot his campaign with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was met with sparse crowds and controversy when he said he ordered officials to slow coronavirus testing because it was showing increased infection numbers.

Biden, meanwhile, has been largely confined to the immediate vicinity of his Delaware home, conducting fundraisers and campaign events online. He has held a few small campaign events in Delaware and nearby Philadelphia. A Tuesday fundraiser with former President Barack Obama raised $11 million.

Biden’s 14-point advantage is the same lead registered in a CNN poll earlier this month that caused an angry Trump campaign to demand the cable channel retract its findings. The Times sample contained 26% Republicans, which is consistent with the findings of similar telephone polls; the Trump campaign says pollsters should assume the same 33% representation found in 2016 exit polls.

The addition of the New York Times poll pushed Biden’s lead in the FiveThirtyEight average of polls to over 10 percentage points for the first time.

The telephone survey of 1,337 registered voters was conducted from June 17 to 22 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.