The Slatest

New Polls Show Trump Flailing as Biden Support Ticks Above 50 Percent

Trump holds a Bible in front of a boarded-up church
President Donald Trump outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square in D.C. on June 1. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

A new CNN/SSRS poll released Monday shows that President Donald Trump’s approval rating has slipped 7 points since last month, as the country has convulsed with protests, which has widened former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead nationally to 14 points, 55 to 41. The CNN poll puts Biden further ahead of Trump than others taken recently, like a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll over the weekend that gave Biden a 7-point advantage (49 to 42), but the polls over the past week are showing a discernible shift away from the president. Biden regularly tipped above 50 percent in those recent surveys, a majority threshold that puts the Democratic challenger in a strong position five months until Election Day.

By contrast, CNN notes, Hillary Clinton, despite leading Trump early in the race in 2016, was unable to corral enough support to approach the 50 percent marker. Instead, Clinton hovered in the low to-mid-40s, consistently ahead of Trump but leaving a large section of voters undecided as Americans went to the polls. In June 2016, for example, Clinton’s support was at 42 percent. What makes the overall support percentage significant is that it is generally considered a far harder task to undo a voter’s support for another candidate than it is to usher an undecided into your camp. Making that gap even harder to close is the fact that the new CNN poll puts disapproval of Trump’s job performance at 57 percent (with 38 percent approving).

The survey also found that race relations are of growing concern to American voters, with a vast majority (84 percent) believing that peaceful protests over police brutality are justified. “Voters give Biden a roughly two-to-one advantage over Trump on handling race relations: 63 percent say they feel Biden would do a better job on the issue, just 31 percent choose Trump,” according to CNN’s poll. “Among black voters, Biden is strongly preferred: 91 percent say he would do a better job on the issue and just 4 percent feel Trump would. Biden also outpaces Trump overall on handling coronavirus (55 percent to 41 percent), and on leading the nation in times of crisis (55 percent to 41 percent). Trump narrowly tops Biden as more trusted to handle the economy: 51 percent trust the President, 46 percent Biden. Support for Trump is scarce outside his own party. Among independents, 52 percent say they back Biden for the presidency vs. 41 percent for Trump, only 37 percent say they approve of his handling of the presidency and 68 percent feel his response to the protests has been harmful.”

For more of Slate’s news coverage, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.