Election countdown: Poll suggests voters prefer Biden on most major issues

Joe Biden’s national lead in Tuesday’s poll comes as most voters say they have more faith in Biden to handle the pressing issues in the nation today. (AP photo via Courthouse News)

(CN) — With just two weeks to go before Election Day, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to hold on to his lead over President Donald Trump, with most voters saying they trust the former VP to handle the key issues dominating the election cycle in America.

As both candidates make their final appeals to voters as the campaigns wind down, a New York Times/Sienna College poll released Tuesday shows the incumbent has not shaken off the polling deficit among national voters that has plagued him for months. According to the poll, 50% of likely voters say they are behind Biden while just 41% say they back Trump, a nine-point disadvantage for the president that falls well outside the poll’s margin of error.

Biden’s national lead in Tuesday’s poll comes as most voters say they have more faith in Biden to handle the pressing issues in the nation today. Biden leads Trump in voter confidence with regard to picking future Supreme Court justices and maintaining law and order by 6 points, guiding the nation through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic by 12 points and being generally better equipped at uniting a deeply divided country by nearly 20 points.

In what may be a telling blow against Trump, voters are no longer bullish on his handling of the economy. While economic issues have been a polling strength for the president and is an area he has previously dominated, voters are now evenly split on which candidate they trust the most in this regard.

One potential explanation for Trump’s lower marks on the economy is that most voters say they are eagerly awaiting new relief spending from the federal government as the country continues to reel from the coronavirus crisis, relief that Trump has yet been able to deliver.

Roughly 70% of voters — including over half of Republicans — say they are fully behind a multitrillion-dollar stimulus program that promises critical assistance for people and local governments alike. Voters are also largely behind a larger $2 trillion renewable energy and infrastructure package that has been proposed by Biden.

Part of why voters say they crave these sweeping relief efforts stems their belief the United States is not out of the woods when it comes to the pandemic. While a little over a third of voters think the country has already overcome the worst of the crisis, just over half say they think the nation needs to prepare for the worst that is still to come.

When asked how voters compare how well things are now to how they were four years ago — a traditionally crucial question among voters when an incumbent president is up for reelection — voters draw an interesting distinction between their personal well-being and the well-being of the nation. While just around half of voters say they are personally better off now than they were in 2016, 55% of voters say they think the country as a whole is worse off than when Trump was first elected.

Tuesday’s poll also reaffirms where the two candidates are drawing most of their support among key voting groups.

Biden continues to enjoy overwhelming support from women and nonwhite voters, leading both groups by massive double-digit margins. Biden also gets strong support from voters under 30 and commands a respectable lead among independent and voters not affiliated with any party.

Trump, for his part, holds on to smaller but still notable leads among white voters and men, and enjoys overwhelming support from white voters without college degrees.

Regardless of where both candidates draw their support, polling data suggests Biden is the more favorably viewed candidate going into the final stretch of the election. Tuesday’s poll shows that 53% of voters have an either somewhat or very favorable perception of the former VP, compared to the 43% of voters who expressed the same fondness for Trump.

Tuesday’s poll of 987 likely voters contains a 3.4% margin of error.