Survey shows Biden's significant lead in Election

By: Leyuan Zhou

Last Sunday, a survey of registered voters conducted by ABC News and Washington Post showed that Joe Biden led by 15 percentage points in the race for the White House. He has held a nearly double digit lead in polls for more than a month.

The last time a candidate held this large of an advantage for so long was when Bill Clinton led Bob Dole in 1996, over 25 years ago.

However, after 25 years of closely-fought elections, it is easy to presume that leads by wide margins are volatile and essentially unsustainable in today’s political climate. The only exception was when Barack Obama won the national vote by more than 3.9 percentage points in 2008. All the other leads proved to be momentary.

For example, Hillary Clinton held considerable leads during early August and mid-October 2016, peaking at around seven percentage points. However, when the media fell out of her favor, so did the polls.

As Mr. Biden’s wide lead goes well into its second month, it may be more than just a brief change in the polls. It's possible that this new kind of lead, different in not only size and length, will be able to flourish amid the breaking of the nation’s political deadlock by one issue: President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus will reshape this year’s election the same way the economic crisis in 2008 shaped that year’s election. It is a dominant issue in American life today because not only is it a serious health risk to many Americans, but the effort to contain it has had dire consequences for the country’s economy. This is why the decisions made in the fight against the virus have the potential to define American politics in an entirely new way. Voters are willing to tackle coronavirus at the risk of hurting the economy rather than reopen too early and risk public health.

In addition to the widespread vilification of his pandemic handling, the president has also faced a steady stream of other negative coverage over various issues, including the Bible photo op at Lafayette Park, his disinclination to wear a mask during recent public events, and his administration’s tension with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“If the coronavirus is the problem for Mr. Trump, then his challenge is straightforward: His numbers could suffer so long as the coronavirus remains the dominant issue, and so long as voters believe he has handled it poorly,” writes the New York Times.

However, with more than three months until the election, there is still more than enough time for the race to change in the president’s favor, including a turnout advantage or a relative advantage in battleground states. The race has already changed substantially over the last three.

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