Former Vice President Joe Biden has managed to obtain a commanding national lead over President Donald Trump in large part due to growing distrust of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The presumptive Democratic nominee enjoys a 15-point lead—55 percent to 40 percent—over Trump among registered voters, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday. That marks a 5-point increase since May and a 13-point increase since March, when Biden only enjoyed a minor edge over Trump as the coronavirus was just starting to spread in the United States. Among likely voters, Biden’s lead falls to 10 points—54 percent to 44 percent.
The poll still shows that despite the positive numbers for Biden, the former vice president faces several clear risks, namely that there is a significant lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy. But that may not really matter because the vast majority of Biden’s supporters see the election as more about beating Trump than it is about electing Biden. In fact, voters on both sides of the aisle see the November election as a referendum on Trump more than anything else. Among Biden’s supporters, 67 percent say that defeating the president is the most important factor in the election, while 72 percent of Trump’s voters say they see reelecting the president as most important.
The increased advantage for Biden comes as Americans increasingly trust the former vice president over Trump in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Biden leads Trump on whom voters trust to deal with the coronavirus by a whopping 20 points—54 percent to 34 percent. When the question is about whom voters trust on the economy, Trump still leads—47 percent to 45 percent—although by a notably narrower margin than in March, when he enjoyed an 8-point lead on the issue. Overall, approval of the way Trump has been handling his job as president has been on the decline and now stands at 39 percent, representing a 9-point decline from March.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday is the fifth consecutive high-quality national poll that shows Biden ahead of Trump by at least 10 points, notes Politico. That is a historic advantage and marks the widest margin for a challenger since Bill Clinton. That is in large part due to the coronavirus but also because Biden’s long career has made it more difficult for Trump’s campaign to figure out an effective line of attack that could help negatively define the presumptive Democratic nominee.