Joe Biden Has a Historic Lead Against Trump as the DNC Starts

And Kamala Harris heads into the convention with a higher approval rating than Biden, Trump, and Mike Pence.
August 17, 2020, 3:50pm
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Former Vice President Joe Biden is starting the week of the Democratic National Convention with an unprecedented lead over President Donald Trump, according to multiple polls released over the past few days.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Biden with a double-digit advantage over Trump with both likely voters (54%-44%) and registered voters (53%-41%), while a CBS News/YouGov poll taken between August 12 and 14 found Biden with a similar 10-point lead (52%-42%) over Trump. The lone good poll for Trump over the weekend was CNN, which still found Biden with a 4-point lead outside the 3.7% margin of error.

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All three surveys were conducted following Kamala Harris’s selection as Biden’s running mate last week. And though it’s still early, Harris had a higher approval rating than both Biden and Trump, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, in an NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll released last week.

Biden’s lead at this point is historic. In the last 13 presidential elections where an incumbent was on the ballot, no challenger was at 50% or more in the polls at this point in the cycle, according to CNN. The closest were Jimmy Carter in 1976, who went on to defeat President Gerald Ford, and Thomas Dewey in 1948. (Dewey lost to President Harry Truman; the polling failures of that year paved the way for modern polling techniques.)

Despite Trump’s repeated attacks on CNN, he spoke of that poll approvingly in a Monday interview with Fox News. Trump also said he was confident he would beat Biden, whom he said, falsely, was running a campaign to the left of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“These are the same people I beat last time. They can’t unite,” Trump said of the Democratic Party.

But it’s not just national polls that are looking good for Biden. Among battleground states won by Trump in 2016, Biden has substantial leads in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, and is statistically tied with Trump in Arizona and North Carolina, according to Real Clear Politics’ voting averages. Biden’s lead is generally slightly larger than Hillary Clinton’s lead around the same time in August 2016.

A heavily scaled-down DNC, which was supposed to be held in Milwaukee, begins on Monday, and Biden will accept the nomination and deliver the keynote speech from his home in Delaware on Thursday.

On the day Biden accepts the nomination, Trump will hold a campaign event at a building-materials supplier just a few miles away from Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which will stress the theme of a “half-century of Joe Biden failing America.”

In a statement, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates called Trump’s event "a pathetic attempt to distract from the fact that Trump's presidency stands for nothing but crises, lies, and division — the opposite of what Pennsylvanians are hungry for and what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent."

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)