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More Voters Rule Out Trump Than Biden

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mixed results on who has presidential ‘stamina’

West Long Branch, NJ – Half of the nation’s electorate says they have ruled out voting for Donald Trump in November, while 4 in 10 say the same about Joe Biden. Biden currently holds a 12 point lead in the presidential race according to the latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll.  Biden holds a significant advantage among the 1 in 5 voters who do not have a favorable opinion of either candidate. Slightly more voters say they are confident about the challenger’s mental and physical stamina than say the same about the incumbent.

Biden currently has the support of 53% of registered voters and Trump has the support of 41%.  This is similar to the Democrat’s 52% to 41% lead in early June. Biden’s edge stood at 50% to 41% in May, 48% to 44% in April, and 48% to 45% in March.

Slightly more voters say they are certain about their support for Biden (40%) than say the same about Trump (34%). Fully half (50%), though, say they are not at all likely to support the incumbent while 39% say the same about the challenger. In addition to Biden’s current firm support, another 3% say they are very likely to vote for him and 9% are somewhat likely, while 6% are not too likely. In addition to Trump’s current firm support, another 2% say they are very likely to vote for him and 6% are somewhat likely, while 6% are not too likely. Among white voters with a college degree, 62% have ruled out a vote for Trump while just 31% say the same about Biden. On the other hand, 56% of white voters without a college degree are not at all likely to support Biden while 37% say the same about Trump. Among voters from other racial or ethnic groups, 61% have ruled out Trump and just 22% say the same for Biden.

“Half of all registered voters have ruled out backing Trump. Trump showed in 2016 that he can thread the needle, but these results suggest the president has even less room for error in 2020. He must convert some of those unlikely supporters if he is to win a second term,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A key difference from four years ago is that fewer voters have a negative opinion of the Democratic nominee. Biden’s rating stands at 44% favorable and 44% unfavorable. It was 42%–49% in early June. Hillary Clinton’s rating in July 2016 was 34% favorable and 52% unfavorable. Trump currently has a negative 38% favorable and 55% unfavorable opinion. It was 38%–57% in early June. As a candidate four years ago, he held a 31% favorable and 53% unfavorable rating.

Overall, 21% of all registered voters do not have a favorable opinion of either party’s nominee. Trump did well with this “double negative” group in 2016. The National Election Pool exit poll showed him ultimately winning their vote after Clinton held a small edge throughout the campaign. But he is getting swamped among these voters this time around. Biden leads by 55% to 21% among this group.

“Four years ago, Clinton was the insider candidate who approximated an incumbent in many voters’ minds. There is no mistaking who wears that mantle this year. Trump’s problem is that voters who aren’t enamored with either candidate tend to go for change,” said Murray.

Concerns about the two septuagenarians’ faculties have become prominent in recent media coverage and internet memes. The poll finds that more voters are at least somewhat confident that Biden (52%) has the mental and physical stamina to carry out the job of president than say the same about Trump (45%). However, more are likely to say they feel very confident about Trump (33%) than Biden (23%). This is due to a partisan phenomenon where Trump’s base is more likely to offer its support without qualification. About 9 in 10 Republicans and Democrats alike say they are at least somewhat confident in their respective party candidate’s stamina, but Republicans are more likely to say they are very confident about Trump (72%) than Democrats are for Biden (47%). 

“Biden hasn’t developed the kind of adulation among his base that Trump can count on from his supporters. This seems to be a fairly common trend in the campaign so far and is at least partly due to the Democrat being out of the public eye during the pandemic,” said Murray. Voter opinion on handling the pandemic as well as race relations in a Monmouth poll taken early last month also showed lower levels of high confidence among Democrats for Biden on those issues than Republicans expressed about Trump.

The Monmouth University Poll finds that voter optimism for the 2020 presidential election has been fairly stable – it has hovered between 62% and 65% since February – but there has been a shift in enthusiasm. Currently, 40% of voters feel more enthusiastic about this election compared to past elections, 15% are less enthusiastic, and 44% say they feel about the same level of enthusiasm. Just four weeks ago, 28% were more enthusiastic, 24% less enthusiastic and 47% about the same. Enthusiasm has increased among both Republicans (from 27% to 41%) and Democrats alike (from 32% to 47%). The key difference is that the Republican shift has come mainly from those who felt the same level of enthusiasm as past elections (from 60% to 48%), but the Democratic gains have come mainly from those who had been feeling less enthusiastic (from 32% to 10%).

The Monmouth University Poll also posed a generic ballot test for the U.S. House of Representatives election, which shows 50% of voters currently supporting the Democratic candidate in their district and 42% backing the Republican. This result is similar to last month’s poll release (52% to 43%) as well as to polling at a similar point in the last midterm election (48% to 41% in June 2018). Democrats went on to win the national House vote by 8 points that November (53% to 45%).


A note on the impact of third party candidates in the vote choice question:

Third party candidates have not been as prevalent in the 2020 campaign discussion as they were at the same
point four years ago. Monmouth tested two versions of the presidential vote choice question on randomized
halves of the poll sample. Version A included the two major party nominees and a generic “other” candidate.
Version B also included Jo Jorgensen the Libertarian and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party by name. In earlier
Monmouth polls this cycle, “other” was not included as part of the vote question but was recorded if a
respondent volunteered it. In the current poll, voters who initially selected the generic “other” option but said
they were uncertain of that choice and in fact leaned toward one of the two major party candidates were
reassigned to that candidate.

After balancing the demographic compositions of both half-samples, version A produced a result of 54% Biden,
42% Trump, 2% generic other candidate, and 2% undecided. Version B produced a result of 52% Biden, 39%
Trump, 4% Jorgensen, 2% generic other candidate, less than 1% Hawkins, and 3% undecided. For comparison,
in late June 2016, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was polling at 9% and the Green Party’s Jill Stein had 4%.
However, both candidates’ poll support declined as Election Day approached and Johnson ultimately got 3% of
the national vote while Stein got 1%.

“Third party candidates tend to poll better early in the race when some voters have not really engaged in the
election. Their support rarely increases as the campaign progresses. Of course, all that could change in this
cycle, but with three-quarters of voters already firmly committed to one of the two major party candidates,
both Jorgensen and Hawkins have a tough road ahead of them to reach the polling threshold necessary to
participate in the presidential debates, even if it was lowered from 15 percent,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from June 26 to 30, 2020 with 867 adults in the United States. The results in this release are based on 733 registered voters and have a +/- 3.6 percentage point sampling margin of error.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-10 previously released.]

11. How likely is it that you will vote in the November election – are you certain to vote, likely to vote, are you not sure, or are you unlikely to vote?

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Certain to vote85%86%80%82%86%
Likely to vote 10%9%12%10%10%
Not sure 3%3%6%5%3%
Unlikely to vote1%2%2%2%1%
(VOL) Definitely won’t vote0%0%0%1%0%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)

12. If the election for President was today, would you vote for … Donald Trump the Republican, Joe Biden the Democrat, or another candidate? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Donald Trump or Joe Biden?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS
(with leaners)
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Donald Trump41%41%41%44%45%
Joe Biden53%52%50%48%48%
Another candidate*4%5%3%5%3%
(VOL) No one0%1%1%1%0%
(VOL) Undecided2%1%5%3%4%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)

* “Another candidate” was a volunteered response in March to early June polls.

[12A.  If Trump/Biden voter, ASK: Are you certain about your vote choice, or might you change your mind before election day?]

[QUESTIONS 13A & 13B WERE ROTATED]

13A. What is the likelihood that you might vote for Donald Trump in November – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Certain for Trump (from Q12/A)34%
Very likely 2%
Somewhat likely 6%
Not too likely6%
Not at all likely50%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(733)

13B. What is the likelihood that you might vote for Joe Biden in November – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Certain for Biden (from Q12/A)40%
Very likely 3%
Somewhat likely 9%
Not too likely6%
Not at all likely39%
(VOL) Don’t know2%
(n)(733)

14. If the election for U.S. House of Representatives was held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate in your Congressional district? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: At this time do you lean more toward the Republican or more toward the Democratic candidate?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS
(with leaners)
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
Republican42%43%42%
Democratic50%52%52%
(VOL) Other candidate 1%1%1%
(VOL) No one0%1%0%
(VOL) Undecided6%4%5%
(n)(733)(742)(739)

[QUESTIONS 15 & 16 WERE ROTATED]

15. Is your general impression of Donald Trump very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion?

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
 2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Very favorable22%26%24%24%29%35%35%33%34%30%
Somewhat favorable16%12%16%18%17%9%8%13%10%13%
Somewhat unfavorable9%9%9%7%7%6%4%5%4%6%
Very unfavorable46%48%44%43%42%47%51%47%50%50%
No opinion7%5%7%7%5%3%2%2%2%3%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)(827)(847)(838)(835)(1,017)

16. Is your general impression of Joe Biden very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion?

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
 2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Very favorable16%15%15%15%18%16%19%18%18%20%
Somewhat favorable28%27%26%26%25%24%23%25%25%26%
Somewhat unfavorable13%18%16%17%17%17%16%16%17%18%
Very unfavorable31%31%28%25%26%36%33%34%33%27%
No opinion12%9%16%17%13%8%8%7%7%9%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)(827)(847)(838)(835)(1,017)

[QUESTIONS 17 & 18 WERE ROTATED]

17. How confident are you that Donald Trump has the mental and physical stamina necessary to carry out the job of president – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Very confident33%
Somewhat confident12%
Not too confident11%
Not at all confident43%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
(n)(733)

18. How confident are you that Joe Biden has the mental and physical stamina necessary to carry out the job of president – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Very confident23%
Somewhat confident29%
Not too confident11%
Not at all confident34%
(VOL) Don’t know3%
(n)(733)

19. Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the 2020 presidential election? [Is that very or somewhat optimistic/pessimistic?]

TREND: REGISTERED
VOTERS
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Very optimistic31%31%30%28%34%35%
Somewhat optimistic32%31%34%34%31%30%
Somewhat pessimistic18%19%17%17%15%18%
Very pessimistic13%15%12%12%12%12%
(VOL) Neither, don’t care3%2%3%4%3%3%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%3%6%5%2%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)(827)
COMPARISON: REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
2016:Aug.
2016
June
2015
Optimistic63%62%64%62%65%65% 55%69%
Pessimistic31%34%29%29%27%30% 39%25%
(VOL) Neither3%2%3%4%3%3% 3%4%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%3%6%5%2% 3%2%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)(827) (803)(829)

2016 QUESTION WORDING: Thinking about the 2016 election, do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about electing a new president?

20. How motivated are you to vote in the November election for president – very motivated, somewhat motivated, or not that motivated?

REGISTERED VOTERSLate June
2020
Very motivated86%
Somewhat motivated9%
Not that motivated5%
(n)(733)

21. Compared to past elections, are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as past elections?

TREND: REGISTERED
 VOTERS
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
2016:Aug.
2016*
June
2015*
More enthusiastic40%28%26%23%30%39% 21%21%
Less enthusiastic15%24%21%17%17%21% 46%22%
About the same44%47%52%59%52%40% 31%57%
(VOL) Don’t know1%0%1%1%1%1% 2%1%
(n)(733)(742)(739)(743)(754)(827) (803)(829)

     *Asked about the 2016 Presidential election

[Q22-35 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 26 to 30, 2020 with a national random sample of 867 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 294 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 573 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 733 registered voters. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on the registered voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
REGISTERED VOTERS  
 
29% Republican
38% Independent
33% Democrat
 
47% Male
53% Female
 
27% 18-34
21% 35-49
30% 50-64
22% 65+
 
67% White
13% Black
13% Hispanic
  7% Asian/Other
 
65% No degree
35% 4 year degree
 
 

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs