In the first 35 head-to-head polls taken since Joe Biden announced his run for president, the former vice president led Donald Trump — often by wide margins — in 33 of them. On Tuesday, Biden made it 34 of 36 when a new survey showed him easily defeating Trump in a nationwide, head-to-head matchup by nine percentage points, 51-42.
The Quinnipiac University poll, in fact, shows six major Democratic candidates all defeating Trump in a hypothetical, general-election 2020 matchup. Even Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has only 3 percent support among her own party’s primary voters, according to Quinnipiac, beats the president in the one-on-one matchup by four points.
After Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders performs best against Trump, holding an eight-point lead. Sanders garnered 51 percent of the vote, per Quinnipiac — this is a number identical to Biden’s share. But against Sanders, Trump polls at 43 percent.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren polls seven points ahead of Trump in the new survey, 50-43. At the same point in the 2016 election cycle, Quinnipiac found that eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton held a six-point lead over Trump, less than any of the top three candidates in the current race.
But despite the clear preference for any one of the top Democrats over Trump in the general election, 51 percent of all voters in the poll said that they did not believe that the president should be impeached.
The survey would appear to be encouraging news for Biden, or any of the leading Democrats in the 2020 field. But as Washington Post political analyst Philip Bump pointed out in a column responding to the poll, the Quinnipiac survey also contained potentially ominous news for Democrats.
In 2016, according to Bump, Trump emerged from the campaign with a dismal favorability rating of just 38 percent, which, in most elections, would sound a death knell for any candidacy.
“So he and his team worked to make Hillary Clinton as poorly viewed as he was,” Bump wrote, adding that Trump’s plan was “generally successful,” with negative attacks on the former secretary of state driving her approval rating down to just 43 percent.
But more important, Bump noted, Trump “shined” among voters who disliked both candidates. The president won those doubly negative voters by 17 percentage points, according to exit polls cited by the Washington Post commentator.
The Quinnipiac poll shows that the leading Democratic candidates are all “underwater” with American voters — that is, their disapproval ratings top their approval ratings. Both Biden and Sanders scored 44 percent favorable ratings, but the former vice president’s unfavorable rating stood at 47 percent, while the Vermont senator registered disapproval with 48 percent of voters in the poll. Warren sank to seven points underwater, with 38 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable.
A Monmouth University poll, also released Tuesday, showed similar results. Trump’s 46 percent favorable rating puts him four points below his 52 percent unfavorable. But Biden fares even worse.
Among all registered voters only 43 percent view Biden favorably, while 50 percent take an unfavorable view of the Democratic frontrunner. Sanders is underwater by almost twice as much, with 41 percent favorable and 54 percent unfavorable, according to the Monmouth results.