Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The More Trump Campaigns, the More Democrats Benefit

Joe Biden’s supporters are more likely to say their support is based on dislike of Donald Trump than support for Biden. A majority of Democrats (56%) say dislike of Trump is the main reason for their support of Biden. Only 19% of Trump supporters say their main motivation is dislike of Biden.

Observers have suggested that this is one of the origins of the enthusiasm gap between Biden and Trump (20% difference between “strong support” for Trump – 66% over Biden – 46%). But, it also reflects the contradiction in Trump’s basic strategy. The more he campaigns, especially on his instinct and with his aggressive rhetoric, the more he strengthens Biden’s base and alienates independent voters.

For example, the thrust of the Trump convention and post-convention strategy is law and order. And indeed, Americans oppose the violence they see and read about on the news and newsfeeds. But, when asked if what the candidates are saying about protests is making the “situation better, worse or doesn’t have much of an affect,” 55 percent say Trump makes it worse, including 26 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats, and importantly, 53 percent of independents. Only 13 percent of the public believes he’s helping.

In a follow-up question, Trump lost out to Biden by nearly two-to-one on questions of uniting vs. dividing America (64% Biden vs. 33% Trump), doing a better job of handling race discrimination (64% Biden vs. 34% Trump), or doing a better job handling protests (59% Biden vs. 39% Trump).

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