The poll released Wednesday shows Biden with the support of more than half of registered voters – 52 percent – while Trump came in with 41 percent support. That’s a 2-point increase for Biden from a Monmouth poll tracking released in May while the president’s support remained stagnant.
The poll comes at a tumultuous time for Trump’s presidency and for the country. Not only does the coronavirus pandemic continue to pose a threat to public health, but widespread civil unrest over racial injustice and police brutality has broken out in recent days, igniting demonstrations nationwide and, in some cases, clashes between protesters and police.
Trump also continues to take damage from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of voters who said that his response to the outbreak makes his reelection in November less likely jumped 7 points since April to 38 percent, while the number who said he is more likely to win a second term plunged 9 points to 18 percent.
More voters also appear to have faith in Biden’s ability to manage race relations as president than Trump’s. Fifty-two percent said that Biden is better prepared to do so, while 40 percent said Trump is.
Trump has faced intense scrutiny over his handling of protests in recent days, especially after police aggressively dispersed protesters from the area surrounding the White House on Monday in order to pave the way for Trump to visit a nearby church for a photo op.
He has sought to crack down on the protests, even threatening to deploy active-duty military personnel.
Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that for now, the election is likely to be a referendum on Trump’s tenure in office and his handling of the recent crises.
“The race continues to be largely a referendum on the incumbent,” Murray said. “The initial reaction to ongoing racial unrest in the country suggests that most voters feel Trump is not handling the situation all that well.”
The Monmouth University poll is based on responses from 742 registered voters interviewed by telephone from May 28-June 1. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.