“Expect Trump to go ballistic”: Joe Biden opens dominant 14-point lead in New York Times poll

Voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump's handling of race relations and the coronavirus but support BLM protests

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published June 24, 2020 11:09AM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Joe Biden (Getty Images/Salon)
Donald Trump and Joe Biden (Getty Images/Salon)

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 14 points in a New York Times/Siena poll released Wednesday as the president's approval rating continues to plummet.

Biden tops Trump 50-36 with 14% of voters undecided, according to the poll, which surveyed more than 1,300 registered voters.

While Trump leads among white voters with no college degree, Biden leads almost every other demographic group. Biden leads slightly among male voters and has a 22-point lead among women voters. He leads by 34 points among voters under 34 and by 23 points among voters between 35 and 49. He leads by 28 points among white voters with a college degree, 39 points among Hispanic voters and 74 points among Black voters.

Biden performs much better among white voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Biden leads Trump by 39 points among white women with a college degree, a group which supported Clinton by only seven points. Overall, 52% of white voters under 45 say they back Biden compared to only 30% who say they support Trump.

Younger white voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump's response to protests over police brutality, which has largely involved military threats and other brutish rhetoric, but white voters overall have had a huge shift on the issue of race. The poll shows that 66% of all voters have a favorable view of Black Lives Matter, compared to 40% who have a favorable view of Trump.

More than 60% of voters disapprove of Trump's handling of race relations, including about 40% of white voters over 65.

Nearly 60% of voters, including nearly 40% of white voters over 65, disapprove of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which he has tried to spin even as the U.S. saw the biggest outbreak in the world and cases in some of the biggest states are still growing at an alarming rate.

Voters disapprove of Trump's call to reopen the economy by a 2-to-1 margin and say the government should prioritize public health over the economy by a 21-point margin.

The public also split from Trump on masks, which he refuses to wear and has even suggested that others wear them to spite him. The poll finds that 54% of voters say they always wear a mask, while 22% say they usually wear a mask. Only 22% said they rarely or never wear a mask.

After the poll was released, Biden's aggregate average lead in the polls increased to more than 10 points on election forecaster FiveThirtyEight. The New York Times poll follows other surveys from CNN, Fox News, and Harris showing Biden leading by double-digits. Trump threatened legal action against CNN after its poll showed him down by 14, before a slew of other polls turned up similar numbers.

A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday also showed that approval of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic has "dropped to the lowest level on record."

"Trump has made few efforts since his election in 2016 to broaden his support beyond the right-wing base that vaulted him into office with only 46% of the popular vote and a modest victory in the Electoral College," The Times reported. "The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration."

"Expect Trump to go absolutely ballistic today," Scott Dworkin, the co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, said after the poll was released.

Republican voters who spoke with The Times showed just how much Trump's bluster has alienated even die-hard conservatives in recent months.

"Part of you just feels icky voting for him," Tom Diamond, a 31-year-old Texas Republican who still plans to vote for Trump, said.

"I was one of those people who stuck by Nixon until he was waving goodbye," Arlene Myles, a 75-year-old lifelong Colorado Republican who switched her registration to independent this year, said. "I thought I was a good Republican and thought they had my values, but they have gone down the tubes these last few years."

"Biden would be a better candidate than Trump, simply because he's a nice person," Harry Hoyt, a 72-year-old Maine swing voter, told The Times. "One of the most important things to me is the character of the man in charge of our country."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Black Lives Matter Coronavirus Covid-19 Donald Trump Elections Elections 2020 Joe Biden Politics