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June 15, 2020

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

With less than 150 days until Americans choose a President for the next four years, Abacus (one of Canada’s most accurate polling company in the 2019 federal election) surveyed 1500 Americans on their feelings about the choice coming up, and also about Canada-US relations.

We will be releasing our Canada-US data over the coming week.

BIDEN LEADS TRUMP BY 14 POINTS AMONG REGISTERED VOTERS

Donald Trump won the last election despite losing the popular vote by 3 points. However, our data suggests he has a bigger hill to climb this year, as he trails the presumptive Democratic nominee by 14 points among registered voters (49%-35%).

Among those most likely to vote (63% of the sample who say they are certain they will cast a ballot), Biden’s margin is 10-points over Trump (51% to 41%). If voter turnout surpasses that 63% threshold, Biden stands to benefit, as he leads by very wide margins among those who might vote.

SWING STATES TRUMP WON – ARE LEANING DEMOCRAT RIGHT NOW

Biden’s path to the White House requires reversing Trump’s 2016 success in key battleground states. Here the news is good for the Democrats. In swing states that Trump won in 2016 (FL, IA, MI, NC, OH, PA, WI) Biden leads by 17-points. Biden has a 22-point lead in solid Democratic states while Trump leads by a smaller 2-point margin in typically solid Republican states, although some of those states like Arizona, Texas, and Georgia are closer than in 2016.

TRUMP STRUGGLING WITH YOUNGER, BLACK, AND LATINO VOTERS.

Biden leads by a wide margin among those 50 and under. Trump is competitive among registered voters 51 and older.

Among White voters (70% of the electorate), Trump and Biden are tied (44% to 43%). Biden leads by a huge margin among Black voters (77% to 6%) and among Hispanic or Latino voters (61% to 19%). Trump leads by 9-points among White voters without a college degree while Biden and Trump are tied among Whites with a college degree.

Among men, Biden leads by 13, although he is tied with Trump among White men. Biden leads by 15-points among women and 14-points among White women. Biden also leads, albeit by a smaller margin among White suburban women by 7-points. In our sample, Clinton lost suburban White women to Trump by 9-points in 2016. This represents a 16-point swing in Biden’s favour.

TRUMP LOSING THE BATTLE FOR INDEPENDENT VOTERS; BIDEN HOLDS ONTO CLINTON SUPPORT BUT GAINS AMONG PAST TRUMP VOTERS.

Registered Independents show a 20-point preference for Biden (42%-22%) and also appear more motivated to vote than in 2016.

Only 1% of Hillary Clinton voters would vote Trump while 9% of 2016 Trump voters would vote Biden. That leakage alone could be enough to cost Trump re-election given how close the result was in 2016.

Among those who did not vote in 2016 but are registered to vote, 49% would vote Biden while only 14% would vote for Trump.

BIDEN PREFERRED, BUT VOTERS DIVIDED ON WHO WILL WIN.

When asked who they thought is likely to win the 2020 presidential election, 39% chose Mr. Biden while 36% chose Mr. Trump. 25% were unsure.

TRUMP’S APPROVAL UNDER 40%

Only 38% approve of the job President Trump is doing while a majority (54%) disapprove. Notably, those who strongly disapprove outnumber those who strongly approve by 2 to 1.

83% of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance compared 13% of Democrats and 26% of Independents. Whites are split with 46% approving and 48% disapproving while Blacks and Latinos overwhelmingly disapprove of the job he’s doing.

Younger Americans are the least likely to approve of Trump’s performance. Only 1 in 4 of those aged 18 to 30 approve, 15-points lower than any other age group. Those aged 61 and over are the most likely to approve, although Mr. Trump doesn’t even get to 50% approval with older voters.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “The challenge for President Trump is unmistakable, and with only a few months to go until voters decide on whether he gets a second term there are definitely more headwinds than tailwinds. Throughout his presidency, even with a strong economy for much of the time, he’s struggled to build confidence and his approval level has almost never been above 50%. Today, with a deep recession and a pandemic, patience with his approach is wearing thinner.

Trump has battled with everyone other than the most loyal Republican partisans and as a result has failed to broaden his constituency, while motivating many to work to replace him. Looking at these patterns of opinion, GOP strategists may have concluded that their most plausible path to re-election is not by converting independents or swing voters but finding ways to suppress turnout and/or disqualify voters who want change.”

According to David Coletto: “With an approval rating below 40%, Donald Trump’s re-election chances appear to be quite challenging, 5-months out from Election Day. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a solid lead among registered and likely voters, is competitive among White voters, leads big in swing states Trump won in 2016, and appears to be benefiting from a motivated electorate that is building towards another blue-wave election like in the 2018 mid-terms.”

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ABOUT ABACUS DATA

We are the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.

Find out more about what we are doing to help clients respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

We were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2019 Canadian Election.

Contact us with any questions.

Find out more about how we can help your organization by downloading our corporate profile and service offering.

METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 1,500 American adults from June 11 to 13, 2020. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched the United States’ population according to age, gender, race, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Good Decisions Require Good Data.