National poll finds Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump, giving Trump high marks on economy but not COVID-19

Majority approve of president's handling of economy, but not COVID-19

(file photo)
(file photo)

The percentage of Americans who believe President Donald Trump is doing enough to contain the coronavirus pandemic is declining, according to polling that also found more people saying the economy is worse than when he took office.

The Grinnell College National Poll also found the president’s approval rating is underwater and that if the presidential election were held today, former Vice President Joe Biden would prevail 49 percent to 41 percent.

The poll of 1,012 U.S. adults, conducted by Selzer & Company Aug. 26-30, has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Biden’s support is strongest among women, 56 percent to 34 percent, while Trump holds a two-to-one advantage among white men without college degrees and is ahead with white women without college degrees, 52 percent to 43 percent. Trump also carries rural voters 58 percent to 36 percent.

“Beyond the overall 8-point advantage, this poll shows some areas of underlying strength for the former vice president,” said J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company. “Biden holds a wide lead with moderates, 55-33 percent, who are a plurality of the electorate. He benefits from a 10-point lead among independents who do not lean toward any political party, 44-34 percent.”

Biden leads among suburban women 64 percent to 31 percent and among non-white voters 64 percent to 23 percent, the poll found.

“The president has not expanded his coalition beyond his core base of supporters, who have always been a minority of the electorate,” said Peter Hanson, associate professor of political science at Grinnell College and director of the Grinnell College National Poll.


“His most likely path to victory is to do again what he did in 2016: Win the Electoral College with narrow victories in battleground states despite losing the national popular vote.”

The poll found that Trump’s performance gets the approval of 42 percent of adults, with 50 percent not approving. A majority, 52 percent, approve of his handling of the economy.

Nearly half give him a thumbs down for “understanding the problems facing people like me” and “ensuring equal treatment for African Americans.”

Fifty-five percent of those polled don’t like Trump’s handling of COVID-19, with a slight majority, 52 percent, saying he isn’t doing enough to contain the virus.

That’s taken a toll on Americans’ confidence that the president can manage crisis, Hanson said.

“Not only is President Trump seen as not doing enough in response to the COVID-19 situation by a majority, his job approval for handling the coronavirus has fallen by 11 points since April,” he said.

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