POLL: Five Democratic contenders lead Trump in head-to-head matchups

Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead
Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead

(NEW YORK) — Five Democratic contenders lead President Donald Trump in head-to-head matchups in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with several widening their advantage since July.

Concerns about the economy, which have pushed down the president’s job approval rating, are a factor.

Among those tested in the survey, Joe Biden leads Trump by 16 percentage points among all adults, 54%-38%, essentially the same as two months ago. Bernie Sanders leads by 12 points, up from 6 in July; as does Elizabeth Warren by 11 points, compared with a slight 7 points previously. Kamala Harris leads by 10 points, while Pete Buttigieg has a slight 6-point edge.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

Trump’s support is virtually the same, 38%-41%, in all these matchups, vs. 41%-45% in July. What changes have occurred mainly reflect dips in his support rather than Democratic gains in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Current standings are similar among registered voters. Biden and Sanders lead Trump by 15 and 9 points, respectively, compared with +10 for Biden and essentially a dead heat for Sanders in July. Warren and Harris have slight 7-point leads among registered voters, improved from even splits two months ago. Buttigieg’s +4 is not statistically significant.

Trump has 40%-44% support among registered voters. While Republicans historically have been more apt to register and vote, there’s plenty of time to register, and registration drives — as well as voter motivation — can shift the equation on Election Day.

Democratic front-runner Biden leads Trump among independents, often swing voters, by 17 points, 52%-35% — almost entirely because of a wide Biden lead, 63%-26%, among independent women, vs. 45%-43% among independent men. Sanders performs as well among independents, +18 points, with a smaller gender gap. Independents are +12 points for Harris, a slight +10 points for Warren and a non-significant +7 points for Buttigieg.

Also notably, the Biden-Trump race is a close 49%-44% in the red states Trump won in 2016, as well as 61%-30% in the states won by Hillary Clinton.

Among other groups, whites split about evenly between Biden and Trump, 46%-48%, while Trump leads among whites by 10 points vs. Harris, 9 points vs. Buttigieg and a slight 8 points vs. Sanders and Warren. All the Democrats lead by wide margins among nonwhites.

That said, with more than a year to go until the general election, Americans still are forming their opinions and gaining familiarity with the potential nominees. And winning the popular vote doesn’t necessarily translate into winning the Electoral College, as shown in the 2016 election.

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