It appears as though the media establishment’s efforts to blame President Donald Trump for the coronavirus crisis will likely be insufficient to revive Joe Biden’s flagging campaign.
A new Washington Post-ABC poll revealed that more Americans trust Trump than the former vice president to manage the coronavirus pandemic, as Biden continues to struggle to captivate the attention of a country reeling from an unprecedented crisis. In terms of the general election, Trump is in a “near tie” with Biden nationally, trailing the Democrat by just two points, according to the survey.
Positive poll numbers for Trump
Biden’s campaign was all the rage at the beginning of March, when the Democrat saw huge Super Tuesday wins and consolidated his frontrunner status, according to USA Today. But his campaign has since been left grasping at straws as the coronavirus dominates news coverage. As it happens, the pandemic seems to be helping, not hurting, Trump in the eyes of the electorate.
According to the new poll numbers, Trump has shaved down a seven-point deficit that existed in February to just two percentage points. Biden is favored by 49% of voters, compared to 47% who like Trump, according to The Guardian.
As the coronavirus has fueled speculation of an economic recession or even a depression, with millions of Americans already out of work, the poll found that voters prefer Trump by 10 points to manage the economy. A full 52% of respondents trust Trump to handle economic affairs, compared to 42% who would opt for Biden.
However, voters trust Biden more to deal with health care, with 41% going for Trump and 51% for the former VP. According to The Washington Post, 47% of voters trust Trump to handle the coronavirus outbreak, compared with 43% who gave Biden the nod, a “statistically insignificant” gap.
The findings are in keeping with a pattern for Trump; the president has been experiencing an overall approval bump during the coronavirus crisis, contradicting the gloomy predictions of those who assumed that the outbreak spelled the end for Trump’s presidency. Trump has largely premised his re-election campaign on the strength of the economy — but even as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down much of American life, Trump’s approval ratings are back at record highs.
The president recently tied his best previous showing in Gallup’s survey with 49% support, and some 60% of those polled approved of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. Just 44% approved of the media’s coverage of the crisis.
While Trump seems to be enjoying a notable boost, Biden has struggled to stay relevant as presidential campaigning has largely gone on pause. The Washington Post-ABC poll found an enthusiasm gap as well, with 55% of Trump supporters reporting that they are excited about their candidate, compared with 28% of Biden supporters who indicated that they are very enthusiastic about theirs. Meanwhile, 32% of Trump supporters identified themselves as somewhat enthusiastic, and 46% of Biden supporters said the same.
As the “Joe-mentum” seems to begin fading, Democrats have begun talking up the potential candidacy of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose handling of the outbreak in his state has garnered significant attention — and plenty of praise. Some 90% of New Yorkers approve of Cuomo’s response to the pandemic, the Washington Examiner reports.
Though the New York governor has denied having any presidential ambitions, Trump suggested on Monday that he wouldn’t mind facing Cuomo over “Sleepy Joe” in the general election, saying, according to RealClearPolitics:
Now if he’s going to run, that’s fine. I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew. I understand — I know Andrew for a long time. I wouldn’t mind that. But I’ll be honest, I think it’d be a better candidate than Sleepy Joe. I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew. I don’t mind running against Joe Biden.
Going by these recent poll results, Trump’s confidence hardly seems misplaced.