Biden edges ahead of Trump as nearly 20% of voters say their choice might change: poll

President Biden and former President Donald Trump are locked in a statistical tie as they gear up for the first of two scheduled debates next month, but nearly one-fifth of voters say they could still change their mind about for whom they ultimately pull the lever.

In a one-on-one matchup, Biden garnered 48% support to Trump’s 47%, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of registered voters released Wednesday. Last month, the survey found Trump and Biden in a flat-footed tie, with each receiving 46% support.

Despite the incumbent’s lead, history suggests the margin would be tight enough for Trump to secure victory in the Electoral College. In 2016, the Republican lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.1%, but racked up 304 electoral votes to become the 45th president.

President Joe Biden inched slightly ahead of former President Donald Trump in a new Quinnipiac University national poll, edging him out 48% to 47%. Anadolu via Getty Images

The poll also indicates that third-party candidates might take a bigger bite out of Trump than Biden.

With independent and Green Party candidates in the polling mix, Biden slips to 41% — a decrease of seven points — while Trump’s support falls to just 38%, a nine-point decline.

In a five-way matchup, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. scoops up 14% support, while Green Party leader Jill Stein and independent Cornel West lag behind at 2% apiece.

Among polled voters in the five-person race, 19% said it was either very likely (3%) or somewhat likely (16%) that they might change their mind about who to support before the election.

However, Trump held a distinct advantage among that cohort.

Just 8% of supporters of the 45th president said they were somewhat likely to change their minds with none saying they were “very likely” to switch, while 15% of Biden backers said a switch was either very likely (3%) or somewhat likely (12%).

Supporters of RFK Jr. were most susceptible to abandon their candidate, with 52% saying they were either very (11%) or somewhat (41%) likely to change their vote.

Donald Trump
Trump supporters were 7% less likely to switch up their support before the election than Biden voters. Getty Images

“Call them fair-weather, call them unsure,” Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy said. “A sizeable block of registered voters is still juggling candidates, with Kennedy voters particularly swayable and Trump voters less inclined to bail on their candidate.”

Biden and Trump are also near-deadlocked on the question of favorability, with 40% saying they had a favorable opinion of the current president compared to 41% saying the same of his predecessor. The candidates both received 54% unfavorable ratings.

Biden slightly improved his approval rating over April’s Quinnipiac poll, but remains underwater with 39% saying they approve of the job he’s doing as president (35% in April) and 56% disapproving (61% in April).

Voters also said they were keenly interested in watching the scheduled June 27 debate between Biden and Trump hosted by CNN, with 72% saying they were likely to tune in.

Seven in 10 registered voters also said they were following Trump’s Manhattan hush money trial very closely (32%) or somewhat closely (38%), while 60% said they thought the charges against the 77-year-old brought by District Attorney Alvin Bragg were either very serious (37%) or somewhat serious (23%)

Another 11% said the charges of falsifying business records were not too serious while a sizable 25% said they didn’t believe the charges were serious at all.

A plurality (46%) said they believe Trump did something illegal in the case, but 50% either think the former president only did something unethical but not illegal (29%) or that he did not do anything wrong (21%)

As for whether the results of the trial would affect their vote, just 6% of Trump supporters said they would be less likely to vote for him if convicted, while four times that number — 24% — said a conviction would make them more likely to vote for him.

The poll surveyed 1,374 registered voters nationwide May 16-20. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.6 percentage points.

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