Speed Reads

2020 poll watch

Biden maintains a steady lead over Trump, and a new Pew poll hints at the secret of his success

With just a few weeks before people start mailing in their ballots in the 2020 presidential election — probably — Democrat Joe Biden maintains his steady lead over President Trump. A Fox News poll released Thursday had Biden up 7 percentage points, 49 percent to 42 percent, more or less even with his 8 point lead in the July Fox News poll, though down from Biden's 12 point chasm in June. Pew Research Center registered an 8 point advantage for Biden in its own survey Thursday, 53 percent to 45 percent — and Biden's main selling point, it seems, is that he isn't Trump.

While 56 percent of Biden supporters said his main asset is that he isn't Trump, only 19 percent of Trump supporters said they were primarily voting against Biden. "This is very different from the 2016 presidential campaign, when opposition to the other candidate was among the top reasons given by supporters of both Trump and Hillary Clinton for their voting decisions," Pew notes.

Biden is viewed much more favorably than Trump in the Fox News poll: While Trump is 12 points underwater — 55 percent unfavorable, 43 percent favorable — Biden's favorability rating is 53 percent versus 43 percent unfavorable. In both polls, Trump holds a narrow lead on the economy but lags Biden on all other issues.

The Fox News poll found 54 percent of voters saying the federal government failed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak seriously enough and 85 percent are concerned about its spread. "But inside the White House, Trump's top political aides are increasingly assured about their response — feeling like they're finally getting a handle on how to fight the disease," Politico reports. "As the crippling crisis turns toward heading into a third season, an alternate reality is taking shape inside the White House even in the face of spiking case counts, long lags in test processing, and a COVID-19 death toll that regularly tops 1,000 Americans a day."

Both polls are in line with other national surveys of the race: RealClearPolitics shows Biden with an average 7.4-point lead, while FiveThirtyEight has him beating Trump by 8.1 points. The Fox News poll was conducted Aug. 9-12 among 1,000 registered voters nationwide contacted by phone. Its margin of sampling error is ± 3 percentage points. Pew surveyed 9,114 registered voters July 27 to Aug. 2, and its margin of sampling error is ± 1.5 points.