Graphic via Tania Lili for COURIER Donald Trump
Graphic via Tania Lili for COURIER

Biden leads Trump 55-41 among registered voters, according to a new CNN poll conducted in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a 14-point lead on President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race, according to a new CNN poll released Monday.

Biden leads Trump 55-41 among registered voters, according to the poll, which was conducted in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd. 

Trump has come under intense scrutiny for his response to Floyd’s death, particularly over his aggressive rhetoric towards protesters and his deployment of the U.S. military against American citizens for a photo op in the streets of Washington D.C. That stunt, intended to shore up his faltering white, Christian base, drew waves of backlash from religious and military leaders, including Trump’s former defense secretary, James Mattis, who broke his silence to publicly rebuke the president. 

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Rather than try to unify the nation or de-escalate the militarized and aggressive response by law enforcement to largely violence-free protests, Trump fanned the flames of the conflict, calling protesters “THUGS,” falsely claiming without evidence that the protests had been overrun by left-wings anti-fascist activists, and telling governors they needed to “dominate” the streets.

The president’s response to Floyd’s death seems to have further hurt his already-faltering campaign for re-election. Biden held only a five-point lead in the same CNN poll conducted in early May, but Trump’s disapproval rating rose by six points month-over-month. Only 38% of voters now approve of Trump’s performance as president, while 57% disapprove.

Those numbers fall even lower on the issue of race relations. Only 31% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the issue and 42% of respondents who were registered voters said race relations was “extremely important” to them, a higher percentage than said the same about the economy, health care, or the coronavirus outbreak. Democrats cared much more strongly about the issue of race, with 86% saying it was “extremely” or “very” important to them, compared to only 45% of Republicans. 

Trump, predictably, did not respond well to the poll and took to Twitter to air his grievances.

Trump again complained about the poll on Monday afternoon and announced he had retained the pollster McLaughlin & Associates—a firm FiveThirtyEight rated one of the worst pollsters in the country—to analyze the CNN poll which Trump said was “FAKE” because of the “incredible enthusiasm” he was receiving. 

But these numbers, which are in line with other polls showing Trump losing ground, may be in part why the White House is reportedly considering having the president deliver a speech on race relations and national unity. “I believe you’re going to be hearing from the President this week on this topic in some detail. And I would ask you maybe to reserve judgment until after that time,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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CNN also reported that Trump intends to try to pivot away from his response and attack Biden over the growing calls among protesters to “defund the police”—a movement that seeks to reduce police department budgets, which are exorbitantly high, and redirect those funds to other programs, such as health care, education, housing, and other programs which have been defunded or underfunded for decades.

It’s questionable whether such a speech would move the needle, given Trump’s long history of racist rhetoric and policies, his short fuse and penchant to undermine his message on Twitter, and his increasingly-tasteless response to Floyd’s death. On Friday, Trump invoked Floyd’s name as he celebrated the unexpected decrease in the nation’s unemployment rate. 

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. There’s a great day for him,” Trump said.

The CNN poll, conducted by independent research company SSRS, surveyed 1,259 Americans—1,125 of whom were registered voters—via telephone from June 2-5. The poll’s margin of sampling error for the full sample was +/- 3.4% and 3.6% among registered voters.