President Donald Trump is nearly tied with Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup, while nearly twice as many of the Republican incumbents’ supporters say they are “very enthusiastic” compared to those of the former vice president, according to a new poll.
If the general election were to happen today between Biden and Trump, the former vice president would win 49 percent of registered voters while the president would win 47 percent, the new ABC News/Washington Post survey found. With a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, the presumptive Republican nominee and the like Democratic candidate are virtually tied.
Trump has made significant gains over Biden in the last month as well, the polling data showed. In February, the president was seven points behind his Democratic rival among registered voters, compared to just 2 points now. Overall, when all respondents – not just registered voters – are taken into consideration, Biden performs better, beating Trump 50 percent to 44 percent.
But perhaps more worrying for Biden and Democrats than the narrowing gap is the apparent lack of enthusiasm among the former vice president’s supporters. Eighty-six percent of Trump’s backers say they are enthusiastic about their candidate, while just 74 percent of Biden supporters say the same. And nearly twice as many likely Trump voters say they are “very enthusiastic,” 55 percent, compared to Biden backers, just 28 percent.
The Washington Post noted that most of the recent failed presidential candidates – Democrat and Republican – saw significantly less enthusiasm in similar early polls ahead of the general elections. A lack of excitement for a candidate could signal that their supporters are less likely to come out and vote for the candidate in November.
Newsweek has reached out to the Biden campaign to ask how the candidate plans to build greater enthusiasm among his supporters moving forward.
In particular, Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy appears to have resonated well with voters. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they trusted Trump more than Biden to handle the health crisis, while only 43 percent believed the former vice president would do a better job. Additionally, 52 percent said they trust Trump to manage the economy while only 42 percent said the same for Biden.
Biden performed better in a hypothetical general election matchups against Trump in other recent polls. A survey by Morning Consult published last week showed Biden ahead of Trump by 5 points, 47 percent to 42 percent. Another poll by Fox News showed Biden ahead by 9 points, 49 percent to Trump’s 40 percent.
The former vice president has not secured the Democratic nomination, although he is the front-runner and is widely seen as the likely winner. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is still seeking the party’s nomination, although he currently trails Biden in most recent polls and is more than 300 delegates behind the former vice president in the primary race.