LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Americans Want Major Changes – Biden – Trump vs. Democrats

Your Daily Polling Update for Friday, May 3, 2019

Same as yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Despite individual poll shifts, President Trump holds remarkably steady at 44% in our daily averages…. Today’s average is based on five polls, ranging from 39% (Gallup) to 51% (Rasmussen). Without these two extremes, it would still be 44%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 53% today (same as yesterday), which is 9 points higher than his approval rating.

Among voters nationwide

Beto O’Rourke (D) over Donald Trump (R): +10 (52-42)
Joe Biden (D) over Donald Trump (R): +6 (51-45)
Bernie Sanders (D) over Donald Trump (R): +6 (50-44)
Kamala Harris (D) over Pres. Donald Trump (R): +4 (49-45)
Pete Buttigieg (D) over Donald Trump (R): +3 (47-44)
Donald Trump (R) over Elizabeth Warren (D): +1 (48-47)
RON’S COMMENT: This poll has five Democrats beating Trump, with only Warren falling short. But: Among “very enthusiastic” voters, Trump beats Biden by 1 point––a stat which will warm Republican hearts amidst all the other data showing Biden strengthening among Democrats…. In the Biden vs. Trump trial heat with all voters, Biden wins women by 25 points, college grads by 14 points and independents by 3 points. Trump wins men by 12 points and whites by 10 points…. The size of O’Rourke’s lead in this survey doesn’t comport with other polls which have shown him ahead, but by smaller margins.

Among voters nationwide

If the election for president were held today with Donald Trump as the Republican running against a Democratic Party candidate, who would you vote for? 
Democratic candidate: 49% (+2 since last week)
Trump: 38% (-1 since last week)
It depends: 11%
RON’S COMMENT: Since last week, the “generic” Democratic candidate’s lead increased from 8 points to 11 points. Perhaps Joe Biden’s entry into the race has given voters more focus, at least temporarily, on who the “generic” Democrat might be?

Among voters nationwide

Would you say Joe Biden is a strong or a weak leader
Strong leader: 57%
Weak leader: 44%
RON’S COMMENT: A solid majority of all voters see Biden as a strong leader, which is important because most polls indicate that voters also see President Trump as a strong leader. Among Democrats, 86% see Biden as a strong leader…. Note: When poll results add up to more than 100%, it’s usually due to rounding.
Are you confident in Joe Biden’s ability to deal wisely with an international crisis, or are you uneasy about his approach? 
Confident: 45%
Uneasy: 39%
RON’S COMMENT: Among Democrats, 70% have confidence in Biden to deal wisely with an international crisis.
Regardless of your overall opinion of Joe Biden, do you think he has the qualifications to be President
Yes: 57%
No: 29%
Not sure: 14%
RON’S COMMENT: A solid majority of all voters see Biden as qualified. Among Democrats, it’s a thumping 81%.

Among adults nationwide

Excerpts from key survey findings conducted for the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research: 

  • 54% of the public thinks that major changes are needed to the U.S. government system, 12% say that the whole system needs to be replaced, and 32% say that either no or minor changes are needed. 
  • Political independents are more than twice as likely as Democrats and Republicans to say the whole U.S. system of government needs to be replaced (22% vs. 11% and 8%, respectively). 
  • A majority of Americans say the government is not doing well with issues like reducing income inequality (73%), addressing climate change (62%), ensuring access to health care (61%), and reducing crime (54%). 
  • Those most critical of the government’s policy performance are more likely than those who are least critical to support major changes to the U.S. government system (65% vs. 48%). 
  • 70% say people like them have too little power and influence in Washington.
  • When it comes to representation, 60% of Democrats say whites have too much power and influence compared with only 12% of Republicans. 
  • Americans who don’t feel well represented in government are most distrustful of it (47% rarely or never trust government vs. 24% who feel well represented). However, those who don’t feel well represented are no more likely than those who do to think the government needs major structural changes. 

RON’S COMMENT: This quote from the survey report is a good summation of its findings, and of particular importance for elected officials and candidates: “The poll reveals that voters do not trust government to follow through, and it’s not meeting their expectations. This lack of trust and lack of performance relates to larger concerns about the state of American democracy,” said William Howell, Professor of American Politics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. “While Americans broadly think that government should play an active role in attending to our nation’s challenges—including terrorism, promoting economic and job growth, addressing climate change, and improving access to health care—few voters are satisfied with its performance. There’s a real opening here for political candidates to address people’s desire for systemic change.”

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
PRESIDENT: CNN, April 25-28
TRUMP VS. GENERIC DEMOCRAT, JOE BIDEN: The Economist/YouGov, April 27-30
AMERICANS WANT MAJOR CHANGES: University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, March 14-18 

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