Throughout most of the Democratic primaries, Joe Biden’s strongest pitch to voters was that he was the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump come November. As evidence for this, he cited poll after poll. Indeed, polls then certainly did indicate this. Post primary polls seemed to reinforce this idea as well. However, now that he has carried the mantle of presumptive nominee for several weeks, his popularity seems to be fading.
While there are many reasons for this, the biggest is the sexual assault allegations against him. The accusation, dating back to 1993, comes from a lady named Tara Reade who worked for him at that time. This allegation seems to have taken a toll of the former VP’s numbers.
Since these accusations have been made public, Biden’s popularity has gone down hill. While 48% view him unfavorably, only 42% view him favorably. This makes a net favorability rating of -6% which is only slightly better than President Trump’s who is sitting at a -8% net favorability.
This net favorability drop of Biden’s is 5 points lower than it was in mid-April. Unsurprisingly, the driving force behind the drop comes from women, younger women in particular. This is important to note since in the time between the two polls Biden took to television to forcefully deny the charges against him. This means he was ineffective in his denial and it could, potentially, continue to harm him down the road, especially if more evidence and corroboration of Reade’s accusation come to the public’s attention, as has been the case.
Despite these drops, polls still carry some good news for the Biden campaign. He still leads the President by an 8-point margin among women. Additionally, polling indicates that Biden has cut into the President’s lead among elderly voters.
On the flip side, President Trump has his fair share of good news from the polls as well. In the battle ground state of Ohio, he enjoys a 3-point lead over Biden. In Texas, which Democrats were hoping to turn blue in November, the President enjoys a 6-point lead.
Perhaps the number that will make the biggest difference in November is the enthusiasm gap. Who are the voters excited about voting for? In this regard, Biden suffers a sizable gap: 70% to 39%. In other words, more than two-thirds of Trumps voters are anxious and excited to get out to vote for him. This is in contrast to the less than half of Biden voters who are excited about their candidate.
Now, I know that an unenthusiastic vote counts just as much as an enthusiastic vote. But an unenthusiastic voter is less likely to cast that vote to begin with.
I anticipate that this enthusiasm gap will likely increase as the election draws near and will ultimately be Joe Biden’s downfall. Over the coming summer, stay-at-home orders will begin to lift. When that happens the President and the former VP will both start hitting the campaign trail more and more. There will be rallies. There will be town halls. These formats are President Trump’s strongest aspects as a candidate. His base responds to these events very well. For Joe Biden, well . . . when he finds himself in these situations, he usually ends up calling people a “lying dog faced pony soldier” or getting into screaming matches with factory workers. He stumbles over his words and gets his wife confused with his sister.
I really think most of the media and American political punditry are underestimating just how terrible Joe Biden is going to be on the campaign trail. They didn’t notice in the primary because he got lost in the crowd of 20+ Democratic candidates. They haven’t noticed the past few weeks because he’s been hiding in his basement and the country’s focus has been elsewhere. But it’s going to come out. He is going to hit the trail. When he does, his poll numbers will take more and more hits like we’ve seen this past month.