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COVID-19 and Biden’s Lead in the Polls

The last couple of weeks have been very good for Joe Biden in the polls. With his lead in the national polls averaging ten points and that in battleground states coming in surprisingly strong, we take a look to see what’s driving Biden’s polling numbers.

Our numbers at Eyesover, developed from online data, have been in line with the traditional polls reports at 538 and Real Clear Politics, if not slightly more advantageous to Biden. Looking at what is the cause of the Biden polling advantage over Trump, it becomes evident that the COVID-19 pandemic is much more of a problem for Trump than other issues such as the BLM protests or immigration.

The chart below shows the advantage Biden holds over Trump on sentiment from an overall view, but also on pandemic-related issues in some key battleground states.

Biden v. Trump sentiment overall and pandemic
Biden v. Trump sentiment overall and pandemic

Biden’s sentiment advantage is most significant in the states where he has the more substantial leads (MI, PA, WI), but it is clear that Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing concern across all states. Not only is Biden’s sentiment averaging nine percent higher than Trump’s, but the pandemic is generating more than double the discussion volume online than issues such as the BLM protests or immigration.

Biden’s sentiment averages six points over Trump on the BLM protests, but he is equal to Trump in states with close races such as Texas and Florida.

Biden v. Trump sentiment BLM protests
Biden v. Trump sentiment BLM protests

Biden’s advantage drops to one point on the issue of immigration, with Trump generating sentiment that is higher than Biden’s in Texas and North Carolina, but the volume of immigration discussions is five to six times less than that of the pandemic. As the chart shows, immigration is not registering as a key issue in Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.

Biden v. Trump sentiment immigration
Biden v. Trump sentiment immigration

So while Trump may be trying to bring more immigration discussion into the campaign because he holds an advantage in some key states, it does not appear that the electorate is going to shift their focus away from the pandemic any time soon.

Of course, leading Trump, who consistently generates negative sentiment, does not necessarily mean people are overly positive towards Biden. The fact remains, both candidates are generating negative sentiment across all of the major issues. It is simply a case where Biden is currently viewed less negatively than Trump.

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