Biden’s support continues to depend heavily on Trump haters

There are, in some places in the United States, people who are very excited to support President Biden’s bid for reelection this November. Some prospective voters are thrilled that he won the Democratic nomination and would vote for him in the general election no matter who he faced. Perhaps you are one of them.

It is nonetheless safe to say that this does not describe most Biden voters. Instead, most Democrats say they are satisfied — not excited — about Biden’s renomination. And only a slight majority of Biden voters say that their planned vote in November reflects their support for Biden. Four in 10 say their vote for Biden is primarily meant as a vote against Donald Trump.

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Those results come from a new Suffolk University poll conducted for USA Today. Suffolk found that 54 percent of those who plan to vote for Biden see that vote mostly as being in support of his candidacy. Forty-one percent said it was offered in opposition to Trump, a 13-point differential between the two positions.

Among those who plan to vote for Trump, the picture is very different. Nearly three-quarters of Trump supporters say their vote is a vote in support of his candidacy while only 22 percent say it’s in opposition to Biden — a 52-point difference.

In both cases, members of the candidate’s party are more likely to say their vote is a vote of support.

Notice the difference by gender among Biden supporters. Men are 19 points more likely to say their planned vote is mostly an expression of support for Biden. Among women, the gap is only nine points. The difference between men and women Trump voters is far smaller.

Suffolk also found that Democrats were much less likely to say they were “excited” about the prospect of a Biden nomination than Republicans were about Trump. In both cases, more than three-quarters of each party said they would feel “excited” or “satisfied” by the nomination of either candidate. But Republicans were about twice as likely to say “excited.”

Democrats and Republicans told Suffolk that their minds were made up and they didn’t anticipate changing their vote preference. Among members of each party that described their view of the nomination as merely “satisfied,” though, a smaller percentage said their vote was firmly set.

On this question, there was an interesting gender divide among Republicans. Nearly 9 in 10 Republican men say their vote is firmly set. Only about 8 in 10 Republican women say the same thing.

It’s worth noting that CNN polling released last month showed a higher level of anti-Trump sentiment among Biden voters. The difference is probably a reflection of differences between the polls. It may also mark a shift following Biden’s State of the Union address, which occurred just before the poll was conducted. But the central point is the same: Biden is heavily dependent on voters who really don’t like Trump, far more than Trump is dependent on voters hostile to Biden.

A vote’s a vote. But if negative views of Trump among core Democratic voting blocks continue to soften, some of those votes might not show up on Election Day.


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