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Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images (left); Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the preferred candidate to handle the coronavirus pandemic and he's opened up a 15-point lead over President Trump, an ABC News/Washington Post poll published early on Sunday finds.

By the numbers: Biden is ahead of Trump 55%-40% among registered voters. However, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's margin reduces to 54%-44% among likely voters.

Why it matters: Per the poll news release, "Three and a half months ago the two candidates were virtually even in trust to handle the pandemic, Trump +2 percentage points, 45-43 percent. Today, with COVID-19 cases surging around the nation, Biden leads Trump on the issue by a 20-point margin, 54-34 percent."

The picture: The phone survey of 1,006 adults, conducted July 12–15 with a margin of error of 3.5 points, comes as coronavirus cases spike across the United States. The COVID-19 death toll surpassed 140,000 in the U.S. on Sunday.

  • 19 states this week set new highs for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, and the U.S. on Saturday reported more than 71,500 new coronavirus cases — second highest to the record 75,600-plus set last Thursday.
  • 62% of registered voters told a Quinnipiac University poll out last Wednesday that Trump is hurting efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Of note: Trump's new campaign manager Bill Stepien on Thursday dismissed the wave of polls showing the president losing five of six swing states and sinking into a double-digit hole nationwide — noting that similar surveys "had the world convinced that Hillary Clinton would be elected in 2016."

Read the full poll, via DocumentCloud:

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the poll and with further details of the survey and more context.

Go deeper

Harvard Youth Poll: 2020 young voter turnout could approach 2008 totals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A national poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found historic interest among 18-to-29 year olds in the upcoming election, which could potentially lead to a massive voter turnout among age group.

Why it matters: With just over a week until Election Day, 63% of the poll's respondents indicated they will “definitely be voting,” which is the highest proportion of respondents in the twenty years the poll has been conducted. These young voters are motivated by a number of social issues.

Oct 27, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans believe the federal government's handling of the pandemic has gotten significantly worse over time, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Every other institution measured in Week 29 of our national poll — from state and local governments to people's own employers and area businesses — won positive marks for improving their responses since those panicked early days in March and April.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2020 - Health

The swing states where the pandemic is raging

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, The Cook Political Report; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several states that are likely to decide which party controls Washington next year have exceptionally large coronavirus outbreaks or are seeing cases spike.

Why it matters: Most voters have already made up their minds. But for those few holdouts, the state of the pandemic could ultimately help them make a decision as they head to the polls — and that's not likely to help President Trump.