A new poll from President Donald Trump’s formerly favourite television news network, Fox News, provides a sobering glimpse at the president’s popularity in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and a bleak outlook for his re-election chances in the November general election.
The poll, conducted between May 17 and 20 and released on Thursday, suggests that Trump’s support among two critical groups of voters – independents and older voters – has cratered in recent weeks.
Self-described independents say they support the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, by 13 percentage points over the incumbent Trump, and voters over the age of 65 support Biden by 17 points. The latter group is particularly troubling for the president as older voters are consistently the most reliable when it comes to turning out to vote on election day.
In the 2016 election, Trump won independents by four percentage points and seniors by seven percentage points.
Overall, the poll of 1,207 randomly chosen voters across the US suggests that more people trust Biden on issues such as healthcare and the coronavirus by wide margins, while slightly more – three percent – say they trust the president on issues related to the economy.
This morning I was all “wow, Trump losing seniors by 10 nationally in this Quinnipiac poll is 👀”
…and then the new Fox News poll came out and said “how about more like he’s losing seniors by 17.” 👀👀https://t.co/AH4BX5T4Td
— Kristen Soltis Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) May 21, 2020
“That might be the election in a nutshell,” Democrat Chris Anderson, who conducted the poll with Republican Daron Shaw told Fox News. “Trump has a slight advantage in a narrow debate about economic recovery, but a debate about coronavirus or public health more broadly benefits Biden.”
The polls come just one day after another survey, by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, has Biden ahead of Trump 50 percent to 39 percent among registered voters nationwide. The figure is up slightly from the 49 – 41 percent lead enjoyed by Biden in an April 8 poll. In the same poll, Trump’s approval rating slipped from 45 percent in April to 42 percent in May.
“What does the 11-point Biden lead tell us? At best for Team Trump, it says voter confidence in President Trump is shaky. At worst for them, as coronavirus cases rise, Trump’s judgement is questioned – and November looms,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) May 22, 2020
In the Fox News poll, Biden leads Trump by 48-40 percent, but 11 percent of those surveyed said they are undecided or plan to vote for someone else which suggests that the race is still very much in play. Fox has the president’s personal favourability rating at 43 percent, versus 55 percent who hold negative views of him – including 45 percent who view him as “strongly” unfavourable.
Trump leads over Biden among two groups – men (by seven percentage points) and rural white voters (by 30 percentage points). Biden leads among women by 20 points and among African American voters by 64 points.
Continuing a string of attacks against Fox News that he has levelled in recent weeks, Trump on Friday assailed the Fox News polls as “fake” and suggested that the network should fire its pollsters.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2020
The Fox poll also suggests that Biden’s supporters are more enthusiastic about the election than Trump supporters, with 69 percent of them saying they feel extremely motivated to vote compared to 63 percent of Trump voters who say they feel the same.