Speed Reads

2020 poll watch

Joe Biden leads by double digits in 2 national polls where voters are mostly for or against Trump

Two polls released Tuesday show former Vice President Joe Biden with double-digit leads over President Trump, but both surveys also suggest this election is shaping up to be a referendum on Trump where a majority of voters see Biden as at least an acceptable alternative.

In a USA Today/Suffolk poll, Biden has opened up a 12-point lead, 53 percent to 41 percent — though when given the choice of a generic third-party candidate, Biden's lead shrinks to 9 percentage points, 46 percent to 37 percent. Pew Research Center found Biden with a 10-point lead, 54 percent to 44 percent — close to the 9.6-point lead Biden has in polling averages from both RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight.

In both polls, a dissatisfied electorate is mostly voting either for or against Trump, whose approval rating has dropped to 40 percent (USA Today) or 39 percent (Pew). In the USA Today/Suffolk poll, a quarter of all voters said the most important reason they are voting for their candidate was to oust Trump; the next most popular reason, at 9 percent, was the economy and jobs. Half of all Trump voters said they are "very excited" about their candidate, versus 27 percent of Biden voters. Pew found that 76 percent of Trump voters are mostly voting for Trump and 67 percent of Biden voters are primarily voting against Trump.

For a snapshot of how registered voters view the two candidates, Pew asked what kind of president each would make.

On issues and character traits, voters in both polls favored Biden on almost every metric. Trump held a 2-point lead on the economy in the USA Today poll but trailed Biden on six other issues, including a 24-point deficit on handing the COVID-19 pandemic and 29-point chasm on race relations. "Two-thirds of those surveyed, 67 percent, say Biden, a former vice president, has 'the right experience to be president,'" USA Today notes. "Thirty-seven percent say that of Trump, who has been president for 3 1/2 years."

The USA Today/Suffolk poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters via phone June 25-29, with a margin of error of ± 3.1 percentage points. Pew polled 3,577 registered voters June 16-22, and its margin of sampling error is ± 2 points.