Aug 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Trump trades bounce for a hit to Biden

President Trump stands with his family in front of the White House after giving his Republican convention speech
Trump with his family after giving his convention speech on the South Lawn of the White House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump didn’t make himself more appealing to voters during the Republican National Convention, but he did hurt Joe Biden, a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll finds.

Why it matters: Trump dedicated much of his convention messaging to trying to try scare voters about Biden, charging that he'd allow leftist radicals to drive Democrats' agenda and urban protesters to unravel the suburbs.

  • Biden's favorable/unfavorable rating with independents who don't lean toward either party dropped from a net -5 to -18 in a week.
  • But Trump's also eroded — and remained far worse than Biden's — sliding from -35 to -37.

By the numbers: Trump's favorability is now at 89% among Republicans, just barely down from 91% last week; Vice President Mike Pence's is unchanged, at 82%.

  • Biden's favorability is at 85% among Democrats, unchanged from a week ago; Harris' is up just barely, to 79%.
  • Trump holds the lowest net favorable/unfavorable rating of the four among overall respondents (-11), compared with Pence (-6), Biden (-5) and Harris (-3).
  • But Biden's unfavorable rating has gotten worse — it was -2 a week ago.
  • Trump didn't improve his support among Black Americans: nearly two thirds have strongly unfavorable views of him, even though the convention showcased several Black speakers who defended him from charges of racism and highlighted his adoption of criminal justice reforms.
  • He made no progress among Hispanics.

A pair of word clouds from the polling provides a snapshot of America's mood. The top three words Republicans used to describe their convention were "patriotic," "inspiring" and "uplifting":

A word cloud of Republican responses to the Republican convention, including words like patriotic, uplifting and inspiring
Graphic: SurveyMonkey

Democrats' top words for the RNC were "lies," "Trump" and "fear":

A word cloud of Democratic responses to the Republican convention, including words like lies, Trump and fear
Graphic: SurveyMonkey

The big picture: "Looking narrowly, the convention worked to boost the sense of unity among the most conservative Republicans," said SurveyMonkey's Jon Cohen. But the survey shows "fresh evidence of the seesaw-like opinions of those who see themselves as independents and don’t lean to either party — views that could determine the outcome."

  • 27% of Republicans preferred the largely virtual convention format to a traditional in-person convention week, compared with 18% who thought it was worse; more than half said it was about the same.
  • 60% of Republicans say their party is unified now, up from 51% a week ago.

What we're watching: The survey found slight increases from a week before among Republicans, independents and even Democrats who now say they intend to vote in person this year despite the pandemic — though more than half of Democrats still plan to vote by mail.

  • And it's important to watch whether voters' views of Trump and Biden harden in the coming weeks, Cohen said — because "a fierce contest between two unpopular candidates foreshadows 2016."

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted August 27-28, 2020 among a national sample of 2,922 adults in the U.S. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.

  • The modeled error estimate for this survey is +/- 2.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

Go deeper:

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: The Biden-Harris bounce

Go deeper