Voters claim they are better off now than in 2016, but Biden still leads Trump by double digits nationally

Voters claim they are better off now than in 2016, but Biden still leads Trump by double digits nationally
Source: Carlos Barria, Reuters
The poll revealed that 56 percent of registered voters felt they were doing better under the Trump administration compared to the previous Obama and Bush administrations.

There can be little argument for the fact that 2020 has been one of the most contentious election years in American history, carried out under exceptionally peculiar circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To add more intrigue to the United States presidential race that culminates on November 3, a recent poll found out that more American voters believe they are better off after four years under President Donald Trump than they were in 2016.

The poll conducted by Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm, between September 14-28 and published on October 7 revealed that a majority of 56% of registered voters said they were doing better under the Trump administration compared to the previous Obama and Bush administrations, while just 32% felt otherwise.

Gallup surveyed more than 900 registered voters for its latest poll with a margin of error of four points.

The result came as a welcome sign for Trump, somewhat defying the general perception that the economic downturn and the subsequent job losses in the US resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the rising racial unrest over the last few months may have ruined the incumbent president’s reelection chances.

“The Gallup Poll has just come out with the incredible finding that 56% of you say that you are better off today, during a pandemic, than you were four years ago (OBiden)," Trump tweeted on October 9. “Highest number on record! Pretty amazing!"

Nearly 50% of registered voters backed Trump’s policies on key issues whereas his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, was supported by 46% of voters on the same issues.

However, Biden scored over Trump in the Gallup poll when it came to expected personality and leadership qualities in a president. 49% of voters believed that Biden had the required qualities whereas 44% saw them in Trump.

Purely from the perspective of a president seeking reelection, the Gallup poll represented promising news for Trump.

45% of voters said their situation had improved at the end of former President Barack Obama’s first term in December 2012 compared to 2008. 47% believed that they were doing better in October 2004 towards the end of former President George W. Bush’s first four years in office than in 2000. Both presidents were reelected.

Biden dismissed the Gallup poll result favoring Trump, questioning the voters’ memory while citing the poll numbers incorrectly.

“They think – 54 percent of the American people believe they’re better off economically today than they were under our administration? Well, their memory is not very good, quite frankly,” Biden said on October 12.

“And in addition to that, we have a president who doesn’t share the values of most Americans. He’s not very honest with people. He is flouting the conventions relative to public safety in terms of, even now, not wearing a mask, a guy who has been a super spreader,” he added.

However, Biden urged people to vote irrespective of their political beliefs.

“But look, whatever they believe, they should go out and vote. People should vote. Period.”

Numbers suggest “advantage Biden”

Despite the Gallup poll findings, Trump is lagging behind Biden as far as head-to-head electoral numbers are concerned.

The FiveThirtyEight national poll tracker shows that Biden has consolidated his lead from 8% at the end of September to over 10% by the second week of October. The analytics site gave Biden a 10.6-point advantage as of October 17 with an 87% chance of winning the election.

According to a recent poll done by USC Dornsife over a sample size of 5,114 surveyed voters, 53% as of October 7 were intending to vote for Biden as opposed to 42% who would vote for Trump.

Another analysis done by USC Dornsife on October 14, named the Daybreak Poll, suggested that the voter ratings of Trump’s performance plunged significantly after the first presidential debate that took place on September 29.

Before the debate, the poll panelists rated their expectations from the performances of Trump and Biden on a scale of 0 to 100. There was little to choose between the two in the pre-debate expectations ratings with Trump scoring 51 points, just marginally ahead of Biden’s score of 50.

However, the post-debate voter ratings of Trump’s performance dropped sharply to 33 while Biden remained closer to his expected mark with 46 points, although neither candidate managed to meet the overall expectations of the voters.

With just over two weeks to go before the 2020 US elections come to a close, the majority of the national polls show Biden with a steady lead over Trump. Even in key swing states where the race is much tighter, Biden has been able to consistently maintain a lead.

So while the Gallup poll puts Trump ahead of Biden on some issues, whether this will be reflected in Trump’s numbers on November 3 remains to be seen.

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