Cheddar Poll: Biden Leads Trump as COVID Edges Economy as Voters' Top Issue
By Megan Pratz - Cheddar Political Director
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 10 points in a head-to-head match-up, according to a new Cheddar/SurveyUSA poll. Among likely voters, 53 percent say Biden is their top choice compared to 43 percent for Trump. This mirrors Cheddar's polling from three weeks ago that showed the same support.
The former vice president boasts of having a diverse coalition of voters that support him. While Biden is not growing his polling lead, he is growing support among key groups. Women voters are backing Biden by 18 points, nominally more than chose him in previous polling.
One area where the president does see a silver lining is among Hispanic voters. While Biden still enjoys a majority of those voters, 53 percent to 40 percent for Trump, the president has made major inroads among this group in the past four year. In 2016, exit polls show he won 29 percent of Hispanic voters compared to 65 percent for Hillary Clinton. This year, Latinos make up the largest group of eligible voters of color, overtaking Black voters for the first time, according to Pew Research Center.
Other trend lines are of concern for the president’s re-election chances. Trump is underwater with key demographics that he won in 2016, like seniors and independent voters.
According to 2016 exit polls, 53 percent of voters over the age of 65 voted for Trump. Now, he’s under water with that group: 58 percent of seniors said they support Joe Biden in 2020 while only 39 percent plan to vote for the president.
With independent voters, 52 percent are backing Biden compared to 36 percent for Trump. These swing voters were key to Trump’s victory in 2016 and losing their support could be damaging, especially in battleground states.
COVID-19 Now Top Concern
Perhaps the greatest indicator of the president’s lagging support shows when examining the issues. Likely voters report COVID-19 as their top issue heading into this election; in previous polling the economy topped the list for all age groups. This comes as cases continue to rise around the country and public health experts warn of a third spike in infections.
Still, the economy continues to be the top issue for many voters, coming in a close second to pandemic concerns. In particular, nearly a third of respondents report a change in job circumstances as a direct result of the pandemic.
Those concerns weigh on voters’ pocketbooks and for some, have had devastating consequences. Among homeowners, 7 percent say they are behind on their mortgage payments and 8 percent have already lost their home to foreclosure. One in 10 renters does not have enough for next month’s mortgage payment.
This comes as the stock market continues to see gains nearing or topping its record levels in the major indices. But Wall Street appears to remain out of sync with Main Street. Eight in 10 Americans say major swings in the stock market would not make a difference to them.
Millions of Americans remain out of work and jobs reports continue to show hundreds of thousands of workers applying for unemployment benefits every week. The economic recovery seems to have slowed, which leaves many people concerned about the stability of their jobs, if they have one, and how they’ll find a job if they don’t. Nearly 20 percent of Americans said they are struggling to put food on the table.
With an economy hampered by an ongoing pandemic that appears to be growing further out of control, it’s no wonder these issues are top of mind for voters. More than 35 million Americans have already cast their ballots. Of those who plan to vote early, more than half say they have already voted.
This poll of 2,000 adults was conducted online between October 16 and October 19. Of those adults, 1,136 identified as likely voters for relevant political questions. This research was performed exclusively for Cheddar by SurveyUSA.