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Biden Maintains Lead

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Most voters agree it is time for Sanders to bow out

West Long Branch, NJ – Joe Biden holds a 4 point lead over Donald Trump in the race for president, which is similar to his 3 point lead in last month’s national Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll.  Public opinion is mixed on whether Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak will help or hurt him in November, but the president’s favorability rating has taken a dip while Biden’s has remained stable. The poll, which was conducted before Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign, also finds most voters agreeing that it is time for him to get out of the race.

If the presidential election was today, Biden has the support of 48% of registered voters and Trump has the support of 44%. Another 5% say they would vote for an independent candidate and 3% are undecided. At the end of last month, the race stood at 48% for Biden and 45% for Trump.

“The static nature of these results suggests the president’s response to the pandemic is certainly not helping his reelection prospects,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

About 1 in 4 voters (27%) say Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has made it more likely he will win reelection in November, but slightly more (31%) say his response has made it less likely. Another 36% say the president’s handling of the outbreak has made no difference to the likelihood he gets reelected.

Trump registers a negative 42% favorable to 50% unfavorable opinion. This is worse than his 46% to 49% rating last month and more in line with his 44% to 53% rating in February. Biden currently has a split 41% favorable to 42% unfavorable rating among voters. This result is very similar to his 43% to 43% rating last month and remains better than his 40% to 53% rating in February.

Sanders receives a 38% favorable and 46% unfavorable rating among registered voters nationwide. This net negative rating is similar to his 42% favorable and 51% unfavorable rating back in February. Currently, 17% have no opinion of Sanders, which is up from 7% in February. The number of voters with no opinion of Biden has also grown (17% now from 8% in February).

“The increase in no opinion for both Democratic candidates is probably a byproduct of the primary campaign being taken offline for the last few weeks,” said Murray.

Among self-described Democrats and voters who lean toward the Democratic Party, Sanders’ 65% favorable and 18% unfavorable rating is slightly less positive than his 72% favorable and 19% unfavorable rating with this group in February. Biden, on the other hand, has seen a slight uptick in his rating among voters who affiliate with the Democrats – 67% favorable and 18% unfavorable now compared with 64% favorable and 26% unfavorable in February.

A majority of American voters (55%) say that Sanders should end his campaign for the Democratic nomination now, while just 35% say he should stay in the race. Those who say Sanders should pull the plug on his presidential campaign include 56% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans, and 49% of independents. One group that backs Sanders staying in are self-described liberals (53%, to 40% who say he should get out). Voters under 35 years old are divided – 46% say he should end his campaign and 43% say he should stay in.

“There is some indication that Sanders may have been losing ground with Democrats the longer he stayed in. His decision to bow out is in line with the sentiment of all but his core supporters,” said Murray.

Sanders has said that staying in the race is an important way to fight for the issues that are important to him. Just 1 in 4 voters (26%), though, say that staying in the race will make it more likely he is able to get these policies adopted. Another 18% actually say his continued presence in the race makes it less likely, while 49% say it makes no difference either way.

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that one-fourth (23%) of American voters are more enthusiastic about voting this year compared to past elections, 17% are less enthusiastic, and 59% feel the same level of enthusiasm as past elections. This is a slight shift from past months, when 30% felt more enthusiastic in March and 39% felt more enthusiastic in February. The dip in feeling more enthusiastic has come mainly from Republicans with only 25% feeling more enthusiastic (down from 36% in March and 47% in February). Independents stand at 17% more enthusiastic (from 21% in March and 34% in February) and Democrats stand at 28% (from 35% in March and 36% in February).

At the same time, the poll finds that more than 6 in 10 American voters are either very (28%) or somewhat (34%) optimistic about the 2020 presidential election. These results are similar to polls from last month (34% very and 31% somewhat optimistic) and February (35% very and 30% somewhat optimistic). Another 12% are very pessimistic and 17% are somewhat pessimistic in the current poll.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 3 to 7, 2020 with 857 adults in the United States. The results in this release are based on 743 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.)

[Q1-3 & 7-13 previously released.]

[Q4-6 & 14-24 held for future release.]

25. 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 VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Certain to vote82%86%
Likely to vote 10%10%
Not sure 5%3%
Unlikely to vote2%1%
(VOL) Definitely won’t vote1%0%
(n)(743)(754)

26. If the election for President was today, would you vote for … Donald Trump the Republican or Joe Biden the Democrat? [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)April
2020
March
2020
Donald Trump44%45%
Joe Biden48%48%
(VOL) Other candidate5%3%
(VOL) No one1%0%
(VOL) Undecided3%4%
(n)(743)(754)

[QUESTIONS 27 & 28 WERE ROTATED]

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

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Feb.
 2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Very favorable24%29%35%35%33%34%30%
Somewhat favorable18%17%9%8%13%10%13%
Somewhat unfavorable7%7%6%4%5%4%6%
Very unfavorable43%42%47%51%47%50%50%
No opinion7%5%3%2%2%2%3%
(n)(743)(754)(827)(847)(838)(835)(1,017)

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

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Feb.
 2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Very favorable15%18%16%19%18%18%20%
Somewhat favorable26%25%24%23%25%25%26%
Somewhat unfavorable17%17%17%16%16%17%18%
Very unfavorable25%26%36%33%34%33%27%
No opinion17%13%8%8%7%7%9%
(n)(743)(754)(827)(847)(838)(835)(1,017)

29. Has Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak made it more likely or less likely that he will be reelected in November, or has it made no difference either way?

REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
More likely27%
Less likely31%
No difference36%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
(n)(743)

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

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Very optimistic28%34%35%
Somewhat optimistic34%31%30%
Somewhat pessimistic17%15%18%
Very pessimistic12%12%12%
(VOL) Neither, don’t care4%3%3%
(VOL) Don’t know6%5%2%
(n)(743)(754)(827)
COMPARISON: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
2016:Aug.
2016
June.
2015
Optimistic62%65%65% 55%69%
Pessimistic29%27%30% 39%25%
(VOL) Neither4%3%3% 3%4%
(VOL) Don’t know6%5%2% 3%2%
(n)(743)(754)(827) (803)(829)

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

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

     *Asked about the 2016 Presidential election

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
2016:Aug.
2016*
June.
2015*
More enthusiastic23%30%39% 21%21%
Less enthusiastic17%17%21% 46%22%
About the same59%52%40% 31%57%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%1% 2%1%
(n)(743)(754)(827) (803)(829)

32. Is your general impression of Bernie Sanders very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or do you have no opinion?

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
Feb.
 2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Very favorable14%20%20%20%20%18%
Somewhat favorable24%22%21%21%21%24%
Somewhat unfavorable12%11%14%15%14%12%
Very unfavorable34%40%38%39%40%37%
No opinion17%7%7%5%5%8%
(n)(743)(827)(847)(838)(835)(1,017)

33. Do you think Bernie Sanders should stay in the race for the Democratic nomination for president or should he end his campaign now?

REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
Should stay in the race 35%
End his campaign now 55%
  (VOL) Don’t care either way6%
(VOL) Don’t know4%
(n)(743)

[Q33A was asked only of those who said STAY IN THE RACE to Q33; n=244, moe=+/- 6.3%.]

33A. Why do you think he should stay in the race? [LIST WAS NOT READ.] [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted.]

REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
He still has a chance12%
He has the right to stay in5%
Not everyone has voted yet, let the primaries play out, people need a choice14%
Like his policies, get his ideas out there28%
Split the Democrats, cause chaos, help Trump9%
Concerns about Biden, like Bernie more17%
Other17%
Don’t know6%
(n)(244)

[Q33B was asked only of those who said END HIS CAMPAIGN to Q33; n=431, moe=+/- 4.7%.]

33B. Why do you think he should end his campaign now? [LIST WAS NOT READ.] [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted.]

REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
Disagree with his views, too extreme13%
He doesn’t have a chance, waste of time and money40%
Dividing the party, need to unify behind Biden to beat Trump21%
He’s a Socialist/Communist12%
Concerns about his age/health8%
He’s not capable/fit for the job4%
Other12%
Don’t know2%
(n)(431)

34. Bernie Sanders says that staying in the race is an important way to fight for the issues that are important to him.  Do you think staying in the race will make it more likely, less likely, or make no difference on whether Sanders is able to get his policies adopted?

REGISTERED VOTERSApril
2020
More likely26%
Less likely18%
  No difference49%
(VOL) Don’t know7%
(n)(743)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from April 3 to 7, 2020 with a national random sample of 857 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 345 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 512 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 743 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 (CPS 2018 supplement). 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  
 
26% Republican
38% Independent
35% Democrat
 
47% Male
53% Female
 
25% 18-34
35% 35-54
40% 55+
 
66% White
12% Black
15% 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