Biden gains on Trump in series of polls

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President Biden is gaining on former President Trump in a series of polls, tying Trump in the race in a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday and providing a sense of momentum to his campaign.

A Wednesday update to the aggregate polling kept by The Hill and Decision Desk HQ also saw Biden move into a tie with Trump when independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is factored into the race, a significant change from earlier data.

It’s all led Biden allies to feel as if the wind has been put behind their sails, particularly as Trump’s legal woes mount.

“You wouldn’t know it from what you read and hear, but, you know, we’re in pretty good shape in the polls,” Biden told organizers in Florida on Tuesday.

The president cited a Marist poll released Monday that showed him leading Trump by 3 percentage points nationally, and by 6 points when looking specifically at those who said they definitely plan to vote in November.

“The point I’m making is, people are beginning to listen,” Biden said. “This is a time people begin to focus and listen. They have generic impressions up to now, but now they’re listening.”

While Biden still trails Trump in the polls in several key battleground states, he has closed the gap or pulled ahead in a handful of national polls released this month.

A New York Times/Siena College poll published April 13 found Biden trailing Trump by 1 percentage point nationally, a marked improvement from a February poll that showed Trump leading by 5 percentage points.

An NBC News national poll published Monday similarly found Biden had trimmed Trump’s lead from 5 percentage points in January to 2 percentage points this month.

A Marist/PBS NewsHour poll published Monday found Biden leading Trump with 51 percent support among registered voters, compared to his predecessor’s 48 percent, a slight uptick from a poll published earlier this month that showed Biden leading 50 percent to 48 percent. The poll found Biden’s lead grows to 6 points, with 53 percent support, when only counting those who said they definitely plan to vote in November’s election.

Monmouth University poll released Wednesday also brought good news for the incumbent, as it showed his job approval had jumped up 8 percentage points since December, from 34 percent to 42 percent, though 55 percent of respondents still said they disapproved of his performance.

The Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday found Trump and Biden deadlocked, even when factoring in third-party and independent candidates.

The Biden campaign had routinely brushed off polling earlier in the year that showed Trump well ahead of the sitting president, arguing a significant number of voters had not yet fully realized that Trump was going to be the GOP nominee and that Biden’s numbers would stabilize as more Americans began paying attention to the election.

Jim Kessler, co-founder of the left-leaning think tank Third Way, pointed to the president’s strong and vigorous State of the Union address in early March as a turning point for Biden at a moment when many average voters finally started to tune into election season.

“There’s nothing in these polls that should make Democrats feel complacent in any way, that the natural order is going to take hold,” Kessler cautioned. “I think if Democrats run at 90 percent of their ability to win this race, they could fall short. This is going to be a 100-percent effort.”

Cornell Belcher, a Democratic strategist, said on NBC News that it’s to be expected that polls will tighten as the election closes in. He suggested Trump had hit his ceiling for support, while Biden has likely been closer to his floor in recent months.

“The other part about this is the enthusiasm — which I think is really the headline — is that if these young voters aren’t enthusiastic and they don’t show up and break for Biden big, that’s how Trump wins,” Belcher said.

Though Biden has made gains in the national polls, battleground state polls have shown a less rosy picture for him.

A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll of battleground state voters published Wednesday found Trump leading Biden 49 percent support to 43 percent across seven swing states. Biden led Trump by 2 points in Michigan, but he trailed in Pennsylvania by 1 point, in Wisconsin by 4 points, and in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina by at least 6 points.

Trump campaign aides widely shared the Bloomberg poll results Wednesday and highlighted the survey’s findings that a majority of registered voters in battleground states are worried about worsening economic conditions in the coming months. The former president shared the poll results on Truth Social, but only from states where he is leading.

Biden has in recent days capitalized on the split screen of hitting the road to campaign in places such as Pennsylvania and Florida while Trump appears in a New York City courthouse for his trial on an alleged hush money scheme.

Some Democrats believe Trump’s near-constant presence in court and the resulting media coverage will remind voters of the chaos of the Trump years and why they voted for change in 2020. But others cautioned that Trump’s legal troubles alone won’t determine the outcome in  November.

“This is going to be a very tight election,” Kessler said. “It’s going to be decided by a small number of voters in a handful of states no matter what the polls say right now. Joe Biden needs to be a in a better place with these voters on the border, on crime, on gas prices. And if he is, he’ll win.”

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