Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE holds a slim lead over President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in the race for the White House, according to a new Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday.
The poll shows Biden with the support of about 48 percent of registered voters, while Trump trails at 45 percent. The former vice president sees his strongest support from college-educated white women and from nonwhite voters.
By contrast, Trump has the backing of a majority of white men — both college-educated and not — and non-college educated white women.
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There’s a silver lining for Biden, however. He leads the president by 9 points — 50 percent to 41 percent — in approximately 300 “swing counties” where the margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election was less than 10 points for either Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.
Clinton won the cumulative vote in those counties four years ago, but only by a single percentage point.
“The race looks tight right now between Trump and the probable Democratic nominee. But as we learned in 2016, the outcome will be determined by the Electoral College rather than the national popular vote,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“The poll results suggest Biden may actually be starting out with an advantage in crucial swing areas of the country.”
The Monmouth poll did not test Sanders’s prospects in a head-to-head match-up against Trump.
Biden has yet to win the 1,991 delegates he needs to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. But he has amassed a nearly insurmountable lead over his only remaining rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), after racking up wins in 19 of the 27 states that have already voted in the nominating contest.
The primary race has largely ground to halt in recent days, however, as the coronavirus outbreak has forced the candidates to call off in-person campaigning and prompted several states to delay their primary elections out of concern that voting could hasten the spread of the disease.
The coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest variables looming over the presidential election in November. It has taken a hefty toll on the U.S. economy in recent weeks as markets have heaved and local and state officials have ordered nonessential businesses to shut down amid the outbreak.
“The coronavirus situation is just starting to hit American family finances,” Murray said. “It will be important to track these trends and the impact they might have on the 2020 presidential contest.”
Monmouth polling released on Monday found that most Americans — 53 percent — say that the coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on their daily lives, while another 32 percent say that it has had a minor impact. Only 15 percent reported that the pandemic has had no real impact on their lives.
That same survey showed that about half of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, with 50 percent saying that he has done a good job in the face of the crisis. Forty-five percent said that he has done a bad job.
The Monmouth University poll surveyed 754 registered voters by telephone from March 18 to 22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.