Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump among registered voters nationally, but he will need to work to win over some supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. According to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll—conducted prior to Sanders’ departure from the race on Wednesday—Sanders’ supporters are split on whether the Senator should automatically help Biden against President Trump.
In the national trial heat with President Trump, Biden leads 48 percent to 42 percent among registered voters. Biden remains especially strong among Black Americans (85% v 7%) and Hispanic Americans (49% v 30%). Trump’s strength lies with white Americans (50% v 41%) and those without a college education (49% v 35%).
The Economist/YouGov Poll began tracking the candidates’ trial heats in September 2019. The head-to-head polling gives an indication of the country’s potential popular vote—not projected electoral college results. At the highest point, Biden has led Trump by 8 percentage points (February 29) and the closest margin showed Biden and Trump locked at 45 percent each (January 18).
The margin-of-error is about +/- 3 percent each week, giving Biden a narrow but consistent lead over Trump. The trial heats largely tend to align with President Trump's job approval nationally.
Senator Sanders’ strength against Trump came from young Americans—most (56%) Americans between 18 to 29 chose Sanders over Trump. Biden still leads this younger group in a head-to-head over Trump (44% v 36%), but without the wide margin that Sanders did. Biden closes the gap that Sanders had with older voters, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to turn out Sanders’ supporters in November.
A plurality of Democratic primary voters who prefer Sanders (45%) want him to help Biden beat President Trump in the general election. About one-quarter of Sanders supporters (23%) believe that Sanders should only help Biden if “certain conditions” are met. About one in five (21%) Sanders supporters do not want Sanders to help Biden win no matter what.
Even still, most individuals who favored Sanders still support Biden in a trial heat against Trump. About seven in ten (69%) of Democratic primary voters who preferred Sanders chose Biden over Trump in the head-to-head contest. About one in nine (11%) would pick someone else, according to the data released prior to Sanders’ departure. About one in twelve (8%) say they would support Trump over Biden.