BY: KENDALL KARSON, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s efforts to build his appeal and define his opponent at the Republican National Convention, using pageantry and the White House as the backdrop, had little apparent impact on the electorate’s impressions of both him and former Vice President Joe Biden, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.
Trump’s week of celebration did not improve his favorability, even among his own base, and the country still remains widely critical of his handling of the major crisis of his presidency: COVID-19.
Less than one-third (31%) of the country has a favorable view of the president in the days after he accepted the Republican nomination for the second time — a stagnant reality for Trump. His favorability rating stood at 32% in the last poll, taken a week earlier, right after the Democratic National Convention.
Trump finds himself in a much different position than his chief rival.
In the new survey, which was conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, Biden’s favorability remains higher than his unfavorability, 46% to 40%, solidifying his improvement in favorability from last week, when attitudes about the Democratic nominee improved to a net positive from his slightly underwater position prior to the convention.
Biden’s favorability ticked up from 40% in an Aug. 13 poll to 45% just after the Democratic convention.
Among Democrats, too, Biden’s favorability climbed seven points after his convention — showing signs that he’s solidified support among his base. But Trump’s favorability dipped slightly — by four points among Republicans in the newest survey.
At the GOP’s gathering, the president sought to frame his response to the virus, the most pressing issue his administration faces, before a mostly mask-free audience.
His speech, however, appears to have done little to shift the consistent disapproval on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A clear majority of Americans (63%) disapprove of Trump’s oversight of the public health crisis — a steady trend since early July.
Approval for his leadership on COVID-19 continues to hover in the low- to mid-30s, tracking his overall favorability rating.
Pertaining to the other crisis facing the nation — racial justice — Republicans, including Trump, sought to frame the debate over the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests across the nation in the context of “law and order” throughout the last week. They rarely mentioned George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis and sparked nationwide demonstrations, or the more recent shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Most Americans (62%) view the incident with Blake, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down, as a sign of broader problems in the treatment of African Americans by police. But that number is not as stark as the 74% who said the same in the wake of the killing of Floyd.
The downward trend is driven by a decline across ideological and racial groups, but most sharply among Republicans and white Americans. The last time this question was posed by ABC News/Ipsos was in early June, when 55% of Republicans and 70% of whites said the fatal incident involving Floyd was a sign of a broader problematic pattern.
Now, only 27% of Republicans and 52% of whites say the same, a decrease of 28 and 18 points, respectively.
Taken together, the last two weeks set up a general election between an incumbent ticket facing a favorability deficit, while views of the Democratic ticket have bounced into positive territory during the convention season.
Similar to Trump, Pence saw little movement in his favorable numbers, with 31% viewing him positively, while nearly half of Americans (49%) have an unfavorable view of him. Support among Republicans also didn’t move, with roughly 7 in 10 perceiving him favorably before and after the Republican convention.
Biden’s vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is steadily rising in her favorables, with 43% giving her strong marks in this poll, compared to 41% last week and 35% right before the Democratic convention. Just over one-third (34%) have a negative view of Harris.
Much like the Democratic convention, nearly 3 in 4 Americans (72%) said they watched either very little or none of the GOP’s marquee event on TV or online this past week. Only 28% said they watched at least some of it, on par with Democrats garnering 30% for their virtual gathering.
In 2016, about two-thirds of the country (64%) said they watched at least some of the Republican National Convention, when Trump first accepted his party’s nomination amid chaotic scenes on the convention floor, according to a Gallup poll. Only 36% said they watched very little or none of it.
The question from Gallup did not include “online,” unlike the ABC News/Ipsos poll, which sought to catch a possibly broader audience.
While a majority (53%) approved of Democrats’ messaging and programming at their convention, only 37% said the same about the Republican gathering. Just under 6 in 10 Americans (59%) disapproved of the RNC.
Only 34% of the country felt that this year’s GOP convention maintained the right balance between criticizing Democrats and touting their own party’s achievements, compared to 45% who believed the same about the Democrats following their convention.
Almost 2 in 3 Americans (62%) felt that the Republicans spent too much time criticizing their opponents, compared to 51% who said the same about Democrats.
Historically, though, the attitudes about the Republican convention largely track with those from 2016, when 31% said they maintained the right balance, and 58% responded that the GOP spent too much time criticizing, according to a Gallup poll.
This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® August 28-29, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 732 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.9 points, including the design effect. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.
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