Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Large majorities support Biden over Trump on major policy issues

Illustration of Joe Biden surrounded by diverse thumbs up

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As Election Day gets closer, Joe Biden leads President Trump by sizable margins on the major issues of the day, according to a national poll by The New York Times and Siena College.

Why it matters: With only two weeks to go before election day, there's little time for Trump make up the gap between he and Biden on the issues voters care deeply about. These include a new multi-trillion dollar stimulus program, mandatory mask-wearing, and a $2 trillion renewable energy package. Voters are also now evenly split on who will better manage the economy — a blow to Trump as he's led on the issue for much of the campaign.

By the numbers:

  • Biden is favored over Trump to handle the coronavirus pandemic by 12 points.
  • 51% of those surveyed said the worst of Covid-19 was still to come, but 33% of voters probably wouldn't take a vaccine after it was approved by the F.D.A.
  • 59% of voters support a national mask mandate with about 30% of Republicans saying they would support this policy as a nationwide requirement.
  • 72% of voters sampled, including 56% of Republicans, said they backed the $2 trillion stimulus package that House Democrats have been trying to get approved instead of the "skinny bill" that is currently on the table, in order to increase unemployment insurance and provide financial support local governments.
  • 58% of voters, including 65% of independents, said the Supreme Court should not beyond nine justices, yet voters still prefer Biden over Trump to choose Supreme Court justices by 6 points.
  • 44% percent of voters supported Amy Coney Barrett's nomination and 42% opposed it, while the remainder declined to take a position.
  • 66% of voters also demonstrated support for Biden's $2 trillion renewable energy and infrastructure stimulus package.

The big picture: 50% of voters are backing Biden versus 41% that support Trump and 3% are divided among other candidates. Trump and Biden have very different loyal demographics, yet voters see Biden as more capable of uniting the U.S. by nearly 20 points.

  • Biden is ahead of Trump among female voters by 23 points. 56% of women and 53% of white voters with college degrees said they had a very unfavorable impression Trump.
  • Trump’s efforts to tarnish Biden’s personal image have backfired and hurt him among swing voters. 53% percent of voters said they viewed Biden in favorable terms, while only 43% say the same about Trump.
  • Trump still retains his support among white voters without college degrees, who favor him to Biden by 23 points, yet this is far less than 37 point advantage he held among this group in 2016.

Methodology: The margin of sampling error for the poll, which was conducted from Oct. 15 to 18, was 3.4 percentage points.

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