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.

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