Graphic by Tania Lili Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Graphic by Tania Lili

By a 16-point margin, 55% to 39%, voters say they think Biden would do a better job than Trump in managing the coronavirus crisis.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump by 11 percentage points, 50-39, according to a new national poll of registered voters from Quinnipiac University.

The poll, released Wednesday, shows Biden’s lead expanding over Trump month-over-month. In the university’s April 8 poll, Biden led 48-41. 

“What does the 11 point Biden lead tell us? At best for Team Trump, it says voter confidence in President Trump is shaky,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. “At worst for them, as coronavirus cases rise, Trump’s judgement is questioned—and November looms.” 

The survey found that Democrats went for Biden by an 88-5 margin, while 87% of Republicans would vote for Trump and only 8% would vote for Biden. The decisive swing, however, was independents, who preferred Biden 47-36. 

The poll is just the latest indication that voters are judging Trump harshly on his response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 92,000 people in the U.S. and infected more than 1.5 million Americans. Only 41% of voters approve of Trump’s coronavirus response, while 56% disapprove, a 10-point swing from April, when 46% approved and 51% disapproved. By a 16-point margin, 55% to 39%, voters say they think Biden would do a better job than Trump in managing the coronavirus crisis.

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Voters’ critique of Trump’s response to the pandemic is also denting the president’s biggest strength historically: the economy. Only 50% of voters approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, and a plurality now believe Biden would do a better job handling the economy than Trump, 48-47. Trump led Biden on this question 49-44 in April. 

Trump’s sliding numbers come as more than 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits during the crisis, which has caused an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression. About 8 in 10 voters (81%) are now “very” or “somewhat” concerned that the economy will fall into another depression.

Biden’s biggest strength appears to be health care, where he trounces Trump 57-37. While the economy remains voters’ top priority, health care is likely to be an increasingly important issue as an estimated 13 million Americans have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance during the crisis.

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Voters also believe Biden is more honest, has better leadership skills, and cares more about average Americans than Trump. Only 34% of voters believe Trump is honest and only 40% believe he has good leadership skills. 

The poll numbers aren’t much better for Trump’s Republican colleagues in Congress. More than half of all voters (54%) disapprove of congressional Republicans’ response to the virus, while only 38% approve. Congressional Democrats get slightly better marks, with 45% approving and 47% disapproving.

The Quinnipiac poll’s findings are not an anomaly for Trump. Nearly every single national poll since the beginning of April has shown Biden defeating him. More importantly, a series of recent swing-state polls show Biden defeating Trump in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If those polls bear out in November, Trump would lose.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,323 self-identified registered voters from May 14 – 18 with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.